We grew up with very little, (six people in two bedrooms) but Christmas was always the best. My three sisters and I were sent to bed early on Christmas Eve; Mom would heat up bricks in the oven and wrap them in newspaper and put them at the foot of our beds (warm feet and the smell of the heated newspaper—ahhhhh!). At the crack of dawn we would rush downstairs and find, like magic, a beautiful tree decorated with lights and glass ornaments, with a train running at its base and the living room crowded with toys and doll houses.
I found out later that my parents would wait till we were asleep and stay up all night making that magic happen.
Today families decorate the tree and hang the stockings days, if not weeks, before Christmas. But I still remember lying in bed feeling like I would burst with excitement and thinking, "Was I good this year? Did Santa come?" I will be eternally grateful to my parents for all their hard work to give their four girls those wonderful Christmas mornings where every dream came true and Santa lived.