Santa ate all his cake

Christmas Memory
By Viola Sheppard Carter | Dec 22, 2012

My most special memories are of early childhood in the 1930s and 1940s.

When Daddy cut a Christmas tree from the hillside behind our home, we knew Santa would be coming soon. We loved to decorate for Christmas. Sometimes we made colored paper chains and hung them on the tree, windows, or walls. We hung glass balls, tinsel and garland on the tree, and a large star on top. Sometimes Daddy brought home mistletoe, when he went squirrel hunting.

Mother baked her traditional cakes and cookies a few days before Christmas. She always made Daddy’s favorite cake — caramel with black walnuts.

Sometimes we would sneak a peek at all the goodies, which were stored in the big tin drawer of our kitchen cabinet and, if we dared, try a little taste with a finger.

On Christmas Eve, Mother sat near the kerosene oil lamp and read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible, as my older sisters, little brother and I sat close by to hear the real meaning of Christmas. She sang Christmas carols with us, too. Mother had a beautiful voice. Afterward, Daddy encouraged us to go to bed soon so that Santa could visit us.

We quickly got ready for bed, but first we hung our little cotton socks on a nail behind the wood heater, hoping Santa would leave us oranges, stick candy and nuts. Mother poured Santa a cup of coffee and cut him a big slice of cake, which she left near the tree where Santa could find it. Daddy always suggested caramel cake. After our prayers and many kisses, we jumped into our beds under the layers of cotton quilts, and as we buried our heads in the feather pillows we strained to hear Santa’s reindeer hooves on the tin roof.

Early Christmas morning, the first child awake sounded the alarm. Tiny feet bounced across the cold linoleum floor. Santa had come. He brought us baby dolls, coloring books, crayons, marbles, toy trucks, balls and “Daddy, Mother — Santa ate all his cake.”