Marching to the Beat of Our Own Little Drummer Boy

We Hoveys never bought into that Christmas morning business. We'd head to the kid-friendly 5:00 Christmas Eve service, agonize through everything after the first 10 minutes of the pageant, use those little pencils to draw all over the offering envelopes and then rush home.  While the men boozed it up, our mom and aunt would take us to the other end of the house so we could throw on tiny kimonos, gussy for photos and - most importantly - watch for Rudolph's nose. We'd find some blinking red light, a mirage of Christmas dreams, and scream like we'd seen a Beatle or Elvis.  Then, suddenly, we'd hear a commotion near the front door.  "Santa!!! STOOOOOPPPP!!!!!," our grandpa would bellow as he ran after him (Santa, being all knowing, knew that we kept the flue closed, so he used the door to avoid trouble). We'd run like gazelles to catch him, but we were always a step behind. However, the heaps of presents were a nice distraction from our failed hunt. I, being very goal oriented, would always tear through my gifts like a greedy ingrate, while Porter, being very attention seeking yet sweet, patiently tortured me with her careful pace and wild rounds of joy tears and hugs following each gift, be it a stereo or a mop (Santa did bring cleaning supplies one year in hopes that we'd use much for being all-knowing). Three or four hours later, after Porter was all dried up, we'd settle down for our feast - a feast we kids never understood: Shepherd's Pie.  This is when I'd finally start to cry.

(I later found out that Norwegians - like my mom's mom - all feast and open presents on Christmas Eve. - they, however, do this without Japanese costumes and unfriendly British food).  

Above: The Photo Evidence, Christmas Eve 1984 (I was 6, Port, almost 2)


  1. cats says:

    i'm so intrigued - why the kimonos?

  2. No idea! But after my parents left New York, they opened a store in my mom's hometown, Lincoln, Nebraska, selling natural fibers, some then-hip brands (they were the first store in town to carry Esprit) and ethic garb, including kimonos. My mom probably just found them cute and went with it. I still have 'em all...and they're totally irresistible. But it was a lot to explain growing up in KC!

  3. Great story, thanks for sharing.

  4. You both look adorable and I love those kiminos - hope you will be wearing one this year. Have a happy, happy Christmas, xv.

  5. Leciawp says:

    Your photo is breathtakingly sweet and I love your account of Christmas Eve in your childhood. Merry Christmas!!

  6. columnist says:

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  7. columnist says:

    What a wonderful memory. I have wonderful memories of Christmas's past too, but I struggle now, sadly. Have a great time again this year with family and friends!

  8. cats says:

    that's so hilarious. i'm going to make my kids do the same!

  9. Wow, you two were certainly little cuties!
    Love the phrase, "when Porter was all dried up." HA!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Also of Norwegian heritage, we always did the Christmas eve gifting and feasting. The only difference now is that instead of lutefisk (ugg) we eat Armenian dolma - my husband's heritage. Christy