Monday, February 26, 2024

Christmas magic fills students' memories

Staff Writer | December 24, 2023 1:00 AM

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house …

Loved ones gathered close?


Stockings hung by the chimney with care?

A plate of cookies, a glass of milk, and a visit from St. Nick?

Check, check, and check.

There's something magic about Christmas — the people you love within easy hugging distance, favorite foods piled on the table, and traditions that tie us to past and future generations.

Maybe it is — when there is snow — grabbing a sled, a big piece of cardboard or a lunch tray and heading for the nearest sledding hill (or, in my case, 45th Street in Seattle's University District, when snow shut down the city and the campus and everyone borrowed the aforementioned lunch trays and rushed to the hill when we learned class had been canceled).

Maybe it is an epic snowball fight that interrupts the importance of snowman-building; having so much fun despite being stuffed into 20 layers of clothes like Ralphie's little brother, Randy, in “A Christmas Story.” Coming in from the cold only when it's dark and to grab a steaming cocoa packed with as many marshmallows as you can get away with.

The Christmas tree is up, set in a place of honor — in our case, it was often a live "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree that lived in the garage for a few weeks until it was brought inside for Christmas. Everyone helps decorate and then, as the lights are turned on, feel our hearts grow like Grinch's, as we admire the twinkling lights and feel the magic of the season. Memory-filled ornaments, each with their own story of Christmases past, are scattered around the tree. Stockings truly are hung by the fireplace, and a fire (real or electric) adds to the holiday magic.

For some, it's dressed in your Sunday best, it's the quiet beauty and splendor of Christmas Eve services. The world silent and quiet on the journey there; then, Christmas hymns joyfully sung by those packing the pews.

Then, when all is done and the house is settling down from the season's hustle and bustle as THE day finally arrives, a plate of cookies and a glass of milk find their way onto the mantle.

Growing up, each sound prompts a stealthy trip downstairs to see if THAT time it was Santa, making his lightning trek around the world. Each time, our parents told whichever one of the six of us to go back to bed, that Mortimer (the elf assigned by Santa to watch our family for misbehavior) would report to the big guy himself of our last-minute misdeeds.

That same sense of magic and wonder fill the Christmas memories of students at Sandpoint Waldorf School.

For some, the magic of the holiday is found in seeing loved ones and spending a special holiday with them. For others, it is finding a special gift under the tree, or a special meal or treat that kicks off the holiday.

Each makes the holiday special.

Below, the students share their favorite Christmas memories, traditions, and stories.

Grade 1:

Koa — "What I like best about Christmas is going to see my grandma and grandpa."

Lennox — "When we lived in Portland. My mom would have us sit on the stairs and close our eyes, and then she leads us to our presents."

Ida — "When we’re with my grandma and my aunt. They took us upstairs and when we came down there were like 500 presents."

Henry — ""My favorite thing about Christmas is getting to see my sisters and grandma and papa."

Otto — ""When I found one of my favorite stuffed animals in my stocking. It was a cute little baby wolf."

Finn — "I saw an icicle shaped like a moon!"

Mikayla — "My dad put tinsel all over the house and we’d have to go look for our new snowboards."

Ezra — "When I was 4 or 5, I got a blue sled."

Jackson — "Christmas morning, I was the first to wake up. I went to the living room and saw all the presents and was like, 'Gosh.'"

Tristan — "When I came home and saw the tree lit and all the presents and Mom said there were even more presents not under the tree."

Tibor — "I remember when it was Christmas and all our grown-up friends came over. We made cookies and opened presents."

Remy — "I was opening a present and when I saw it was a mechanical creature I screamed so loud I startled everyone. ~ Remy

Afton — "My heart is warm when all my family comes over. ~ Afton

Sawyer — "I love building new Lego sets with my brother, Brock, after we open presents. ~ Sawyer

Zander — "One year I got a toy tractor for a present and I wanted to go right outside and dig with it. ~ Zander

Grade 3

Mark — "My favorite Christmas memory is when my family and I went snowboarding."

Kinsley — "My favorite Christmas memory was when I gave a doll to my sister and she loved it and it made me very happy."

Indie — "My favorite Christmas memory was when I saw my family be happy."

Fox — "My favorite Christmas memory is when I went downstairs and there were lots of presents."

Ally — "I love Christmas because every year I get cinnamon rolls. It is a tradition."

Sylvie — "My favorite Christmas memory was getting a deer stuffy and being with my family and making gingerbread houses. It was really fun."

Aspen — "My favorite Christmas memory was when I got my dad his favorite shirt."

Saylor — "My favorite tradition is hiding the pickle on Christmas and opening presents."

Grade 4:

James — "My favorite Christmas was when I woke up on Christmas Day and went to my cousin's house. We played nerf gun tag and opened presents. Later, when we were having dinner they came over and surprised us. We got to play freeze tag with the grown-ups that night. It was the best day ever."

North — "My favorite Christmas memory is when my family went to my grandparents’ house and when i woke up, my grandparents were somehow still asleep and it was 5 a.m.! When they finally woke up, we opened presents. Then we ate candy canes (that’s a dessert that my grandparents make). It was the best Christmas I’ve ever had."

Brock — "One Christmas day I woke up and I ran to my parents’ room. I jumped and yelled, “It’s Christmas.” They said, “Just a few more minutes and you have to wait for your brother to wake up.” I ran to my brother’s room and woke him up. After that we opened presents. This is my favorite Christmas memory."

Daphne — "My favorite Christmas memory is when I lived in California and I got pink plastic roller skates for Christmas. My mom let me try them out in the house. It was very fun, but I was not too good at it. I also liked last year, when my dad got a fuzzy blanket and I took it from him. I still have it. I’m really excited for Christmas of 2023!"

Scout — "One of my favorite Christmas memories is in California. It was Christmas morning, and I wanted to go downstairs, but my Dad went so so slow down the stairs, but he made Christmas so fun for us. I love my Dad and I love Christmas! P.S. Hi Mom and Dad. Love you!"

Liam — "On my seventh Christmas, I went sledding with my older brother, Cael, and my little brother, Henry. Our sled hit a bump and flipped over. Luckily, no one was hurt and we were all laughing. It was as fun as a roller-coaster."

Griffin — "My Christmas memory is every Christmas dinner I have something called chicken a la king. My favorite thing I’ve ever gotten for Christmas was when I got a race car, but I also go lots of other cool presents, too. When I got my race car, I raced my brother down my hallway and I always won."

Emerson — "One of my favorite Christmas memories is staying up late on Christmas Eve and eating mozzarella sticks with my family. We also got to have a movie night and watch “Elf,” one of our favorite Christmas movies."

Millie — "My favorite Christmas memory is when I lived in Washington. I got my elf pet named Fluffy. I can’t remember how old I was. It was a very exciting experience. On Christmas Eve, we put Fluffy under our Christmas tree every year."

Annabelle — "My favorite Christmas was when I was so excited that I fell down the stairs! But, I was okay. I got Legos and it was awesome!"

John — "Last year, I woke up on Christmas morning and asked my dad if I could open presents. I got so many presents that I love."

Adie — "A Christmas memory that I have is being little and sick. My big sister, Brookelyn, and my little sister, Saylor, and I had gotten very very comfy beanbag chairs and a gymnastics mat and I was wandering around the mat all Christmas day and all night. I love the Christmas memories that I get to share with my sisters."

Harper — "I’m in my bed in Sammamish. I look out the window and I shout “It’s snowing!” I run upstairs. On my way up, I’m shouting “It’s Christmas!” I bang on every door I pass. I go get my brother. We jump on our parents and start opening presents. When I thought we were all done, our parents told us to get our shoes on and we went out on our back deck. Sitting there were two dirt bikes. I learned, and now I race in competitions."

Charlotte — "Almost every Christmas morning I wake up first and go screaming through the house to wake my family up. We have to choose if we want to open our presents or our stockings before we go skiing. I always choose presents."

Grade 5:

Georgia — "One Christmas when my brother woke up before I did, he saw that there were trains set up by the Christmas tree, so he started playing with them. When my parents woke up later, he would not go back to bed. I woke up after them, hearing voices. I got a little frustrated that he got to look at his presents before I did. When I came out, he said in one of the happiest voices that I ever heard, 'I got trains for Christmas!' That is my favorite Christmas memory."

Mrs. Knighton — "One Christmas, I had been told as an 8-year-old little girl that my brother was going to stay at his college and not come home for Christmas. Two days before Christmas, with great delight, he was snuck into the house behind my sister and brother-in-law and he jumped out and said, 'Merry Christmas' to me, and I jumped up into his arms and cried with happiness that my brother had actually come home for Christmas."

Autumn — "One of my favorite Christmas memories is going to Boise and being with all my family. I love being with my family during the holiday!"

    Sandpoint Waldorf School students pose for a photo at the school's annual Winter Faire.
    Sandpoint Waldorf School students roast chestnuts at a booth they were staffing at the school's annual Winter Faire.
    Sandpoint Waldorf School second grade students take part in the school's Santa Lucia festival celebration.

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