...without a little extra
As it happened with all our previous Christmas mornings, we had opened our stockings, which always had a tangerine and an apple in the foot and were stuffed with small items - socks, mittens, hats, pencils, cards, games, etc. appropriate for the age of the receiver and, of course, a candy cane topping it all off. We checked to see what Santa had brought for each of us (these were usually too big to be wrapped) and then we got dressed to attend the 9 o'clock Mass.
After Mass we paid a visit to the Christmas Crib for a few moments to remind us of what Christmas was all about - the birth of the Christ Child. Then home to have breakfast before the unwrapping of presents. Each of the four of us took turns opening one present at a time (so Mother would know who got what from whom - for thank you notes to be written later).
This year was the first time there were no dolls under the tree. Our dolls had always miracuously appeared each Christmas with new outfits, but this year we had all outgrown playing with dolls. As the piles of wrapped gifts dwindled there was the sweetest little baby doll. We looked at my mother who just smiled and said, "That's just a little extra. It wouldn't be Christmas without a doll."
While I never remember naming the dolls I played with, this one was named "Little Extra" and for many years after that Little Extra appeared under our Christmas tree to grace us all with her smiling presence.
December 3, 2004