Appeal readers share their Christmas memories | NevadaAppeal.com

Appeal readers share their Christmas memories

Nevada Appeal staff report
Donna Batis-Wungnema’s sons, Jason and Adam.
Courtesy

Editor’s Note: The Appeal again continues its annual tradition of featuring Christmas memories from our readers in today’s Christmas edition.

Time stands still

Time stands still when you take a photograph. That moment in time is gone, but the memory is everlasting. This photograph was taken in 1991. My son, Jason, was 14 years old and Adam was a year and a half. Jason put on a Santa hat and Santa shirt. Adam had on a cute white angel shirt with wings.

I took many photos of them. Finally, I picked out the right photo for my Christmas cards.

When I look at their smiling faces, I get teared up. Tears of happiness. Happiness overwhelms me.

This holiday memory is one of my favorites. No matter what time of the year I look at the photo, I get a smile on my face. And, after all these years, time stands still.

Donna Batis-Wungnema

Carson City

Parents were memory makers on Christmas

My Christmas memory begins in 1963, that was the year I was born. I, of course, don’t remember that year, Christmas of 1963, but the years to come would be amazing and beautiful.

My parents, Bob and Ruth Werts, were the most amazing memory makers for us. They went out of their way to make sure we celebrated Christmas with love and family ties. We would start preparing for Christmas right after we had our whole family and several friends over for a huge Thanksgiving feast. It was always amazing!

Our parents always made sure we got to see all of the Christmas movies and shows. They would even watch them with us. It was so fun, and I will always remember how special they made me feel to know that they love me so much and want to give me the fun that goes along with being a kid with excitement for Christmas.

The first weekend in December we would get our tree at one of the best lots in town. We always got to pick out the prettiest tree they had. We would talk about what we wanted for Christmas and how good we had been all year so that Santa would bring us some nice presents. It was so funny sometimes when my dad would crack a joke about our behavior at times, or my mom would remind us of a particular day that we may not have been acting our best. But it always turned out in fun and laughter.

When we got home we would take out all of our decorations, Mom would make popcorn and homemade hot chocolate. It was the best! We would put on the Christmas music and start to organize and plan the decorating of the house and tree. Dad would be placing the tree that was sometimes too big to fit through the sliding glass door. Ha! Ha! or Ho! Ho! What fun it was!

We would deck the tree with all sorts of ornaments and lights. They were always glass lights and ornaments. We had to be real careful not to drop them on the parquet floor. Then we would get to hang our stockings on the rock fireplace. Oh, I can still smell the wonders of the Christmas joy that filled the air.

I remember my favorite decoration was baby Jesus in the manger. I always got to be the one the put that one on the table. It was always the most exciting time of the year for us. We had so much fun!

Later in the month we would go to Christmas Tree Lane and visit Santa. We drove around for what seemed like hours enjoying all of the houses that were all lit up for Christmas! There were lights everywhere! Christmas was a time that seemed so beautiful and peaceful filled with love and joy.

It was so fun to shop with Dad to pick out something for Mom. Dad would always bring us to get an ice cream at the Thrifty store. I think that was the reason he would bring us shopping, for the ice cream. Hee, hee! Somehow we would talk him into buying more decorations, too!

On Christmas Eve we would go to our aunt and uncle’s house and play games with our cousins. We would open presents and just have the most amazing time while we waited for the hours to pass so that Santa would come. How exciting it was to think that Santa would be coming to our house to drop off presents for us! Oh, the butterflies in my stomach would not go away!

On our way home we got to look at more houses with lights and Dad would always point up into the sky to show us Santa and his reindeer. There was always a light flashing way up in the sky and we just knew he was right and that it was Santa making his way around to all the good boys and girls.

When we would get home, we would be so excited that we would go to bed right away so that Santa would come and it would be Christmas. Mom and Dad didn’t have to even tell us to go to bed on that night.

After we fell asleep, Mom and Dad would start getting everything ready for us kids to wake up to the magic and miracles of Christmas. They always had such amazing gifts for us. We would get what we asked for every year. Dad would dip his boots in the soot of the fireplace to make foot prints on the hearth.

Oh, how I love remembering that fun! We always got up early, though we were not allowed to go out to the family room before Mom and Dad were up. Sometimes we had to wait in our rooms way too long before they got up. We had no idea how late they were up getting things ready and putting things together for us. They were usually up by 7 or 7:30 a.m., but to us kids, that was late!

Oh, and when they got up, the fun began! Mom would fix an amazing Christmas breakfast, and we would play with our new toys and show them what Santa brought! They always acted so surprised and thrilled for us! Life at 2163 Pattiz Ave. Long Beach, Calif., was amazing!

Later that day family and friends would come over to celebrate and share food and gifts, but mostly an abundance of love and care for one another. I am so thankful for the memories I have. Nothing could ever replace the special feelings of love and family memories that my parents created for us while we were kids.

Thank you, Mom. You are an amazing woman. Thank you, Dad you were an amazing man, and I miss you dearly.

Lori Werts-Wetzel

Carson City

Now what do I do?

After recovering from my 2012 illness, I finally became close enough to normal to go out and continue cleaning the weeds off the acre and using as much of the rocks to landscape the property that God dumped here. (I guess he didn’t have any place else to put ‘em!)

Occasionally, I trip over rocks sticking up out of the dirt and dig them up so I won’t keep tripping over them. Sometimes they don’t turn out to be rocks, but boulders. Nevertheless, I dig them out using shovels and wood strips under the boulders, propping them up high enough so I can get down in the holes and shove ‘em up out of the holes, then I either roll ‘em over to the huge rock pile behind the barn or leave ‘em on the ground in case I need a place to sit and rest.

This time, the boulder was way too heavy for me to shove it out of the hole. Irritated, I slammed the shovel into the ground, leaned on the handle and looked up to heaven asking God, “Now what do I do?”

I can’t explain why, but I took the shovel out of the ground, walked around to the other side of the hole, stuck the shovel under the edge of the boulder and tried again to lift it up out of the hole.

When I leaned on the handle trying to lift the boulder, suddenly, the boulder split into four separate pieces.

I stepped down, picked up the broken-off pieces and tried again to push the rest of the boulder up over the edge of the hole.

It worked! I looked up to heaven again and said, “Thank you!”

You want to talk about getting a quick answer from God?

Mary Santomauro

Stagecoach

Giving me life

The first holiday I wrote about was after my mother had died. It was 20 years ago the 15th of December, that mom got her Christmas wish — God’s divine gift. On her deathbed she asked me to watch over Dad, Percy, which I have done, initially having us get involved with Tears & Rainbows. So I stayed in the background, he was happy and content. We attended church together; he joined the Masons; worked part time at the pool, and as a JAC bus driver, he evolved into quite the social butterfly.

Percy died this past March. But I rejoice in knowing his heavenly reunion with Mom, God, Marla Bey the cat; his other pet dogs and cats that went before him. I, too, am grateful for having grown older.

After the dust and tears had settled, I realized there really wasn’t anything keeping me here in Carson City. I put in for a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation from work. However, noticing considerable bilateral lower leg edema and subsequent infections, my rest and relaxation was spent in Carson Tahoe Hospital. By then I knew my immune system was compromised due to the stress of Dad being gone, settling his affairs, so on.

At the end of September I found myself in the intensive care unit with an atrial fibrillation and tachycardia event. I was released the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I proceeded with my new job — taking apart computers.

Due to finances, I could not obtain all of my meds. On Dec. 5 I was back to the emergency room with a big lecture on the importance of taking my meds. After receiving another Sacrament of the Sick, I was released. I got a voucher for meds, thank God.

I wish to thank all of Carson Tahoe Hospital’s departments that make up this special team of professional. You all have achieved and gone above and beyond your goals of providing the best care possible.

To AARP and my new coworkers, people I hardly know, I’m overwhelmed to tears by your concerns and generosity.

To my close friends, rough as some of you are, you too, B.J., when the chips were down for me, they too have shown a loving and caring heart.

Happy holidays! God bless!

Ralf I. Handley

Carson City

Happy birthday, Jesus

Each and every December there’s a special birthday to remember

We know it’s time for Christmas when everywhere we go

We see bright lights and Christmas trees and faces all aglow

But these are mere reflections of why we celebrate this day

A story is told of long ago, this is way they say:

Our Heavenly Father sent his only son to Earth to be born

In a lowly stable, so lonely and forlorn,

No church bells rung or carolers did sing

To proclaim and announced the “birth of the king.”

A star shone bright that holy night guiding shepherds to the site

Where the holy Christ child was to be born that day

Where he was wrapped in saddling clothes

Then laid upon a bed of hay.

For when Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem

“No room for you in the inn,” was said,

No kingly palace or lovely place for this king to lay his head.

Heavenly hosts praised God, saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, on Earth peace and goodwill toward men,”

The shepherds who followed the star praised God

For what they had heard and seen as it was told to them

This king that was born to die that our sins would be forgiven So that we too would become his heirs

And secure a place with him in heaven.

This is my Christmas prayer for you,

Whatever you say or whatever you do

Thank you, Heavenly Father up above,

For sending us his only son to love,

That through our faith and trust in him

His light in us will not go dim.

So we gather together today to celebrate this holy season,

Let us not forget that Jesus is the only reason.

Take some time to stop and pray thanking God for the gift of his son today.

Patricia Rikalo

Carson City

A Mumzy Wumzy Christmas

I can remember receiving an Advent calendar for all of my childhood Christmases. Our wonderful Danish neighbor always made one with daily “gifts” to unwrap. I still have many of the special Christmas decorations. I continued the tradition when I had my children and many great memories surround those calendars. Some had toy gifts, some had special themes, some included candy each day. As the kids grew, they never outgrew the yearly Advent calendar. When they moved away, I would always send some sort of calendar with a daily “window” to open and we would share the experience.

One year I hadn’t mailed anything in time, so I created a daily inspirational email for each day in Advent. This year I was charged by Sarah and John to create something original, so I scoured Michael’s for an idea and found a Jingle Bell Christmas Tree with 25 “branches,” and decided to attach a daily Christmas song that we would all be singing each day, even though we are many miles apart. The songs span every style, from “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” to “Silver Bells” to “O Holy Night.” Sarah calls each morning from Florida to sing with me, and John has commented to us several times between college finals. They call me Mumzy Wumzy, and here is this year’s poem that accompanied the Advent calendar.

A Mumzy Wumzy Christmas

The Advent calendar begins today

A great family tradition, if I truly must say

You told me the chocolate had run its course

So for me to be creative … you both did force

You know that I’ve always had a “song in my heart”

Each day in Advent with a song it will start

The best songs of Christmas each day will appear

They’re the ones we love and hold so dear

So sing with me and put a smile on your face

We’ll be together in spirit, although not in one place

So search for the number as each day goes on

You’ll be so excited you’ll be looking at dawn

If you can’t remember words, don’t get in a bog

Use YouTube as needed, your memory to jog

And call if you want a partner to sing

Your Mumzy is here to answer the ring

Some songs are fun, put a smile on your face

Others remind us of God and His mercy and grace

It’s a wonderful time to love and to care

Our lives are so blessed, we’ve so much to share

This year’s been so special and I am so proud

Of the wife and the graduate, I’ll shout it out loud

So sing songs of Christmas, enjoy it and smile

And we’ll all feel so close, from mile to mile

When we are done with our songs you will see

Your 2015 Jingle Bell Christmas tree!

Dedicated to my two wonderful children, Sarah (and Chad) and John.

Laurel Stadler

Carson City

A Jewish Christmas

My grandparents on my father’s side were born in Russia, as was my father. One day when my father was 12 years old, a Russian Cossack found out he was Jewish and horsewhipped him. There were very few Jews in their community and hardly any protection for them. Some of our relatives on my mother’s side of the family lived in French Canada. My father’s parents felt they would be safer if they moved to Canada, which they did.

Eventually, my uncle moved to the United States (and later landed in California). He eventually persuaded my father to join him, which he did. My mother was still living in French Canada. After corresponding for quite a few years, my father proposed to her over the phone, and she finally accepted. She took a train all the way across the United States to Los Angeles by herself and they got married shortly after that.

They eventually moved to San Francisco, Calif., and then on to the Bay Area. My father was a great businessman and he prospered. They later moved to a lovely two-story house in the hills of Piedmont, Calif. Piedmont was made up of mostly gentiles (non-Jewish people). My mother always said for us to keep quiet about being Jewish. But we had a Christmas tree every year. My father worked very hard. I remember one Christmas we were opening our presents and my father was so tired, he fell asleep on our couch! Though, being Jewish, I celebrate Hanukkah with many Jewish friends, and my husband (who is not Jewish) joins us as well. We have a Christmas tree in our home every year and wouldn’t miss it for the world. I love to decorate the house with “Bows of Ivy!”

Bonnie Matton

Dayton

Trim-the-tree party

The one thing all of my tutorial students had in common was curiosity about my other students. At first I did not really note their piqued interest, but very soon it was apparent; it was a genuine interest.

One year I decided to invite all of them to a “Trim-the-Tree” party at my home. I had approximately 20 students, and all of them were coming. They ranged in age from 7 to 16. My sons and I prepared in advance, as they were equally curious about whom I was tutoring. My sons, Gregory and Douglas, were very often consultants about plans and projects I was considering for my bevy of students.

The evening of the party everything was ready for our guests. Gregory had showered and was excited to be the host; I showered; Douglas was the last one to get his shower. He wanted to take it in my bathroom. I was in the bedroom putting earrings on and fixing my hair. Douglas always sang in the shower; I could here him singing “Jingle Bells.” Suddenly he stopped singing.

I looked in the bathroom and found him collapsed in the shower. Panic! I picked him up and wrapped a towel around him and put him on my bed. He came to, and asked why he was where he was. I called the doctor and he said, “Meet me at the emergency room.”

The party was 45 minutes away from its start time. The hospital was 15 minutes from our home.

As I gave Gregory instructions, he too looked very scared to be in charge of all these strangers to each other, including him. But he bravely said, “Don’t worry, Ma. Take Douglas. I will be fine.” But he did not sound like that was true.

One of the things I appreciated was the doctor’s sensitivity to the party we were missing. He knew I was anxious and Douglas was scared. He ordered blood/urine tests and questioned Douglas about what he had been eating. It turned out to be a “sugar high.” No serious problem, except Douglas was embarrassed and upset that he was missing the party.

When we came home, just about the time the party was over, all the students were in the front yard. When Douglas came out of the car, they all cheered for him and sang, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Next, we all came back into the house, there, in front of the tree, was a tray of ornaments for Douglas to hang, and a dish without cookies. Douglas smiled and said, “Thanks, Dr. Jane said I had too many cookies.”

After the holidays were over, I asked each student to write what they remembered about the “Trim-the-Tree” party. Their comments had little to do with the tree-trimming or cookies. It was about caring for someone in need.

Ann Bednarski

Carson City

The following poem was submitted by the grandchildren of Charles H. Kroeger — Alan C. Rogers of Carson City, Sharon A. Day of Gardnerville and Robert S. Rogers of Garden Valley, Calif.

Pot’s poem

By Charles H. Kroeger

Have you ever heard the story of that lowly manger bed

Where the blessed King of Glory laid His tiny baby head?

How the shepherds knelt around Him, how the angels sang on high,

How the wise men came to worship while His star gleamed in the sky?

Have you ever heard the story of that Galilean Boy,

How He grew in strength and wisdom, filled His parents’ hearts with joy?

How He journeyed to the temple, Heavenly knowledge there to find,

How the learned men all marveled, wondered at His gifted mind?

Have you ever heard the story how His days were occupied?

As a carpenter He labored day by day at Joseph’s side.

Now the days of youth are over, His ministry begun.

Hear the Word from Heaven spoken, “This is My beloved Son.”

Have you ever heard the story how the world rejoiced to know

Of a gracious Savior’s coming, banishing their grief and woe,

How the sick and troubled sought Him, lepers, crippled, mute and blind?

Little ones received His blessing, and the aged, peace of mind.

Have you ever heard the stories that He told them of the sea,

Of the harvest field, the forest, laden vine and fruiting tree,

Words of council with the wonders that He wrought upon the way

“Father Thou who art in Heaven, in this manner shall ye pray?”

Have you ever heard the story of those days of dark despair,

Evil threats and dark forebodings drifted through the troubled air?

Is He then so soon forsaken, have His friends all left and flown,

Standing there in Pilate’s palace, must He face the charge alone?

Have you ever heard the story how with thorns they crowned His brow,

Yesterday they sang hosannas, seek His crucifixion now,

How they smote and scourged and mocked Him, God’s own pure and guiltless Son,

Who in meekness prayed the Father, “let Thy holy will be done”?

Have you ever heard the story which the Sacred Pages tell

How, upon the cross He triumphed, over sin and death and hell?

When the Easter morning’s sunlight falls on desert hill and plain,

Hear the joyful tidings ringing, “Jesus lives, He lives again!”

Have you ever heard the story of the Tree of Life that grows,

Where at God’s right hand He reigneth where the living water flows?

When in that fair land we gather, reunited, friend with friend,

Then with grateful hearts we’ll serve Him, sing Him praises without end.

My holiday memory

My grandfather, a retired farmer and mischievous, fun-loving man, lived with my family in Minnesota when I was young. My brother and I would put out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve, and Santa’s thank you note always looked suspiciously like my grandfather’s handwriting.

One Christmas Eve, my brother and I had gone to bed when we heard sleigh bells outside! We were told the next day that it was Santa. I quit believing in Santa along the way, but the sound of the sleigh bells stayed with me. When I was in my 60s, I asked my mother to explain what we had heard. “Oh, that was your grandfather. He had horses on the farm and he used to hitch them to a sled in the winter. He kept the sleigh bells and that was him outside your bedroom window.”

The mental image of my grandfather outside in the snow on Christmas Eve, shaking the sleigh bells, always makes me smile.

Denise Kelly

Carson City

Merry Christmas and happy New Year

Crystal Ann Brown will be missed Christmas of this year. Merry Christmas from Ormsby Association of Carson City. Happy New Year!

Ginger A. Lenox

Carson City

Happy birthday, Jesus

A wise man asked, “I wonder

How many woke up Christmas morn’

And said ‘Happy birthday, Jesus!

On the day He was born?”

There are more reminders of Santa Claus —

Of tinsel and glittering things

Than sacred mementos of Christ the Lord

And the wisdom that loving Him brings.

To be sure, each year God’s children

Are honored with birthday rhymes —

And how much it means to each of them

At such special natal times!

Of all the people in this world

The “wise men” on this earth

Still joyfully chant Happy Birthday

In praises of His birth.

Let’s sing now, not just on Christmas Day,

But at every interim —

And know that like the Wise Men,

We should always be worshipping Him!

Thane Cornell

Carson City

A Christmas wish

On the morning of Christmas Day, Beth jumped out of bed and ran to the tree. She let out a cry of joy. “Mommy, Daddy, she’s here, my fairy princess doll, my Christmas wish! I heard Santa and his reindeer on the rooftop last night.”

Beth’s parents smiled, pleased she liked her plain doll.

To Beth she was all she had desired. She had blonde curly hair, blue eyes and her dress was of simple material. To Beth she was perfect. Her Christmas wish had come true because she believed with all her heart and only saw goodness in her life.

It was a merry Christmas for Beth and every day from then on. For Christmas was with Beth in her heart for all the days of her life.

A Christmas wish

The season of miracles,

“Yes,” said Beth, as her little heart filled with hope

And her big blue eyes filled with wonderment.

Beth was 5 years of age.

A very bright and responsible little girl for her age,

She was an only child.

She lived with her hard working mom and her ill father.

They lived in a small, run down house in a poor area of town.

Beth spent her days going to school,

And then the long walk home to care for her father.

Her mother left her a list of chores to do daily.

She so desired to please her mother and be the good little girl that she was.

The days were getting closer to Christmas.

As Beth and her mother were cleaning up after dinner one night,

Beth talked endlessly of her Christmas wish to have a fairy princess doll.

She just knew Santa would remember her. “Perhaps,” was all her tired mother could say.

Each night as Beth said her prayers she would include her wish to Santa.

At school, during share and tell, Beth would tell of her Christmas wish.

Her classmates would giggle and whisper how silly Beth was.

She didn’t care, she believed in her Christmas wish.

Christmas Eve arrived bringing all its excitement.

The tree was decorated by Beth’s father. He always got the most perfect tree

And decorated it with his warmth and talent, even with his ill health.

Beth adored her father and mother.

At bedtime, Beth and her parents set out homemade cookies and milk for Santa.

Beth kissed and hugged her parents a good night and was tucked in.

As she said her prayers, she drifted to sleep.

The sounds awoke Beth, she laid still in her bed. What was the sound?

She heard jingle bells and hooves of reindeer on the roof. “Oh,” Beth said.

“I know it’s Santa with my Christmas wish,” Beth thought. “I won’t get up.

I know Santa is busy.” As she laid in her bed, she felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

Beth fell back to sleep.

On Christmas Day morning, Beth jumped out of bed, ran to the tree.

She let out a cry of joy.

“Mommy, Daddy, she’s here, my fairy princess doll, my Christmas wish.

I heard Santa and his reindeer on the rooftop last night.”

Beth’s parents smiled, pleased she liked her plain doll.

To Beth she was all she had desired.

She had blonde curly hair, blue eyes and her dress was of simple material.

To Beth she was perfect. Her Christmas wish had come true because she believed with

All her heart and only saw goodness in her life.

It was a merry Christmas for Beth, and every day from then on.

For Christmas was with Beth in her heart for all the days of her life.

Elizabeth Dozier

Carson City

Home for Christmas, a miracle

2015 is about to end. Where did it go? How do you say thank you to the many people who were there for you? So I decided to write this letter once again.

I had been fighting cancer, which was diagnosed in 2012. I had been very ill since January 2012. I went down at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. It diagnosed me with two different types of sarcomas, one of which only 500 people a year were diagnosed. Surgeons in this area did not want to operate, they told me I would not make it.

There was a team of doctors that was willing to proceed with the surgery and operate. That was Dr. Cantor and his team of five at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. I thank Dr. Canter for taking the risk and doing the surgery. If it wouldn’t have been for Dr. Canter and our God above, I wouldn’t be here today.

A special thank you to Dr. Canter and his team of five doctors; Dr. Elliott and staff at Carson Medical Group in Carson City; Home Care Plus and Nurse Katherine in Carson City; staff at Jacks Valley Elementary School; Boy Scouts of America Nevada Area Council; Carson Mall Crafters; Dr. Aegers, Dr. Peddada and Radiation staff at Renown Cancer Center; Renown South Meadows Emergency Room and third floor staff; Remsa ambulance and paramedics; Life Care staff; Dr. Canter and staff at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Sacramento; University Post-Acute Rehab staff in Sacramento.

And most of all, the 10 anonymous blood donors who I don’t know; friends and family across the country; my neighbors on Shawnee Drive; my beloved husband, Ken; my son, Dale, and family; my daughter, Susan, and family.

An extra special thank you to my 9-year-old grandson, Clark, who held my hand to comfort me during blood transfusions and many trying times. He gave up his summer camp and activities to be by his grandma.

And my faithful constant companion by my side while I was ill, Cookie, my beloved cat.

I made it home a few days before Christmas; I will always remember this experience and what so many people did for me along with God’s help.

God bless you all.

Betty Hundrieser

Carson City

Here Comes Santa Claus

The first time I saw Santa Claus he was coming “right down Santa Claus Lane.” It was late November of 1955 and I was four years old. The story of how that came about includes some interesting family history, a singing cowboy and two brothers who got a chance to see Santa Claus for the very first time. But more than that, it’s about my own special connection to a song that gets a lot of air play this time of year — the original version of “Here Comes Santa Claus” recorded by Gene Autry in 1947.

Gene’s follow-up Christmas song was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which held the spot of the all-time biggest selling record for several decades. But “Here Comes Santa Claus” was his first Christmas song. He wrote the words based on an actual experience he had while riding in Hollywood’s Santa Claus Lane Parade on his horse, Champion. Their position in the parade was right before the float that carried Santa Claus. He could hear the kids yelling, “Here comes Santa Claus! Here comes Santa Claus!”

At the 1955 parade, my brother and I were two of those kids. My folks took us up to Hollywood to visit my grandparents and see the parade. We had a great vantage point from the sidewalk in front of my grandfather’s shoe store on Hollywood Boulevard, right across the street from the world-famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater. And, according to the adults who remembered, Zeppo Marx, the youngest of the Marx Brothers, just happened to be standing right there with us.

My grandfather, Earle Brown, was a member of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce from the mid-1920s through the early 1960s, and served as president from 1938-1940. Back in the late 1920s, he headed the Merchant’s division of the Chamber when it came up with an idea to help promote Christmas shopping. It converted Hollywood Boulevard into “Santa Claus Lane,” complete with Christmas trees lining the street and a big parade with marching bands, colorful lights and movie stars.

The first Santa Claus Lane Parade was held in 1928, and it continued up until World War II. It reemerged in 1945, and the following year Gene Autry got the idea to write “Here Comes Santa Claus.” It was always held on Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend to get the Christmas shopping season started. The name of the parade was changed to the Hollywood Christmas Parade in 1978.

“Here comes Santa Claus,

Here comes Santa Claus,

Right down Santa Claus Lane.

Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer

Pullin’ on the reins.

Bells are ringin’, children singin’

All is merry and bright.

So hang your stockings and say your prayers,

‘cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus,

Here comes Santa Claus,

Right down Santa Claus Lane.

He’s got a bag that’s filled with toys

For boys and girls again.

Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle,

Oh what a beautiful sight.

So jump in bed, and cover your head,

‘cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus,

Here comes Santa Claus,

Right down Santa Claus Lane.

He’ll come around when chimes ring out,

It’s Christmas time again.

Peace on earth will come to all,

If we just follow the light.

So let’s give thanks to the Lord above

‘cause Santa Claus comes tonight.”

Dave Swart

Gardnerville