I miss the way Christmas felt when I was a little kid.
I remember feeling like I was glowing for days beforehand--like electricity was actually shooting out of all of my nerve endings. The sense of anticipation was glorious.
I can remember leaving reminders all over so that no one would forget what I wanted. I'd leave the JCPenney catalog open in conspicuous places (e.g., on top of the toilet, under my grandpa's pillow) with items circled emphatically. I'd make personalized copies of my Christmas list for everyone I knew so there was no danger of someone NOT being aware of what I wanted for Christmas. When I knew someone was within earshot, I'd sigh dramatically and murmur with longing, "Oh, how I *wish* I had a Fresh 'n Fancy..."
I was such a drama queen.
On Christmas Eve I always left milk and cookies out for Santa, and at my insistence we had a tradition of leaving the Christmas tree lights on all night long. I'd always talk to my grandpa on the phone just before going to bed. He'd ask, "Have you seen him yet? Have you been watching?" I'd cry, "No, not yet! I'm watching! I'm watching!" He'd tell me he heard some sleigh bells off in the distance or that he thought he saw the red glow of Rudolph's nose from afar. I'd squeal, giddy with excitement. As we said goodnight, he'd advise me to listen closely to see if anything landed on my rooftop, or to investigate for reindeer tracks in the snow the next morning.
Early on Christmas morning, while it was still dark, I'd sneak out of bed and tiptoe to the doorway of the living room to size up the situation. Then I'd examine the empty glass and plate from where Santa had eaten the milk and cookies. I was so weird--I'd touch the lip prints and everything, thinking, "These lips have been to the North Pole! These lips have been around flying reindeer!"
Then I'd wake up my brothers and get them to wake everyone else up--it was much easier to blame the little guy even though I was the one who couldn't wait.