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Chuck Hinman: IJMA: Memories of Santa Unfriendly House

Previously: Memories of Christmases Past Chuck says in spite of having no fireplace, Santa never missed leaving presents for the Hinman kids.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Grandma’s Doll: A Hinman Family Christmas Story

By Chuck Hinman

Memories of Christmases Past

My earliest Christmas remembrance is in the 1920's when we lived in the farm home where I grew up between Liberty and Wymore in southeastern Nebraska. The house was large, almost new and had all the 'bells and whistles' except one. There was no fireplace and/or fireplace chimney for Santa to enter the house! Ye gads, Dad, why did we move here? This house is Santa Claus unfriendly!


No fireplace for Santa The house had a floor furnace with chimney but that isn't the same for Santa's grand entry. He prefers a big fireplace with a mantle for hanging socks. Did I just dream it or doesn't it say somewhere ..."the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there".... Everyone knows that! How will Santa ever find this Nebraska farm kid? No way!

If "necessity is the mother of invention," my parents found it just in time for Christmas and the Hinman kids in their new house.

This house had a large kitchen and a wood burning cook stove. The chimney for the floor furnace would have to do for a place for Santa to enter the Hinman kids' house. This is how it all panned out (excuse the pun).

Hinman kids make ‘room’ for ‘heavy’ Santa We hung our stockings on the hooks Mom had on the wall next to her wood burning cook stove -- hooks intended to hold pot holders, not kids' Christmas socks! Santa would have a difficult-enough time negotiating the crooks and turns of the stove-pipe leading from the kitchen stove to the furnace chimney on the top of the house. And how he did all this, entering our house through the kitchen cook-stove mystifies me to this day!

From pictures, I get the idea that Santa is a little on the heavy side. Just in case, we Hinman kids removed ALL the lids on the top of the stove with a 'lid lifter.' The lids were only 10" in diameter. How in the world did Santa Claus wriggle out of four 10" holes in the stove and with his pack to boot? Oh well, that's his problem!

I will never know the answer to that mystery; but somehow, some way he never missed a year leaving a Christmas present for this Nebraska farm kid! He even gobbled up the cookies and milk we left for him! Surely he rejoined the reindeer on the roof by way of the kitchen door. I never saw ladder prints in the snow!

It does seem I heard him or someone yelling in the distance ... "and a Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!" ... or did I just dream that? One thing I know for certain, he did NOT say – ‘Happy Holidays,’ he distinctly said ‘Merry CHRISTMAS’!
Editorial Note: Chuck is remembering the ending of "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" by Major Henry Livingston, Jr. (1748-1828)
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight --
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Substituting 'Merry' for 'Happy' is a recent way of showing objection to those who want to replace 'Christmas' with all sorts of seasonal words.
Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there....
First publication: Troy Sentinel (Dec. 23, 1823).

Composition probably: Christmas 1807 or 1808
Written by Chuck Hinman,



This story was posted on 2014-12-28 02:12:02
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