Once upon a December, a very long time ago...the world was frozen and white in many places, but in Marianne's desert world it was sunny and cool. Most days she wore her little red sweater when she played outside on the dairy and that was all she needed. She dreamed of snow, imagining what it would be like to build a snowman or throw a snowball. She only knew green winter grass and oranges on the trees. One of her favorite story books was "The Night Before Christmas". Marianne would pull it out and ask her mother to read it to her quite often. Her favorite pages were the ones where the brightly colored sugarplums danced over the sleeping children's heads, and where Santa's sleigh was soaring over a snowy house top, all bright and white in the moonlight. It was all so magical and she knew that if she was a very good girl that Santa Clause would come to her house too!
There was something that bothered Marianne however, and it was a very BIG something. How could Santa come to a house where there was no snow and no chimney? She asked Mommy over and over if Santa could find her if it wasn't really winter in Arizona. (It really was winter in Arizona but she didn't believe it!) How could the sleigh land on a roof where there was no snow? How could Santa get into the house and leave toys under the tree if there was no chimney? Marianne asked her big brothers and they had an answer right away. Since fireplaces made the house warm and the closet thing they had to a fireplace was the wall heater in the front room, Santa would "magic himself" right through those heater vents! She thought about that answer and decided it just wouldn't do. He would never fit no matter how magical he was!
One sunny afternoon Mommy and Marianne were in the little white kitchen making Christmas cookies. Mommy had tied one of her big aprons around Marianne up under the little girl's arms and had put her up on a chair so she could help cut out the creamy white dough. There were cookie cutters shaped like stars trees, and reindeer, but Marianne's favorite was the shape of Santa with a pack of toys on his back. As she pressed the cookie cutter into the dough, that Santa shape made her worry. Once again she asked the question, "How will he do it Mommy? How will Santa bring me my presents?"
Mommy decided to put the child's fears to rest once and for all. "It's very simple honey. There are lots of places where it is Christmas and it never snows. There are also lots of houses with no chimneys! Santa knows this. He will simply land on our back lawn and come in through the back door."
Will you leave the screen door unhooked?" Marianne knew that the hook was set in place every night. She was thinking of everything!
"Yes Dear. We will make sure Santa can get into our house". Mommy reassured her little girl.
The little house on the dairy was bustling with excitement on Christmas Eve a few days later. There were presents under the bushy Scotch pine that Daddy had cut up in the mountains. There were more being wrapped! The little kitchen was bursting with goodies like fudge, Granny Ellsworth's divinity with pecans pressed into each piece, and those pretty cookies with sprinkles on them. It was much too exciting to go to sleep and Marianne wondered why her brothers got to stay up a bit later than she did. Mommy put her to bed with a kiss on the forehead and one last reading of "The Night Before Christmas".
"Be sure to leave the screen door unhooked!" Marianne called as her mother closed the bedroom door. Then she snuggled into her quilt, rolled over, and looked out the bedroom window which was level with her bed. What was she looking at? The back yard! "Oh! I'll see him!" she thought. She stared and waited, and waited, and stared. Before long those pretty sugar plums were dancing around her head and the twinkly stars began to blur.
What was that? Jingle Bells?! Marianne lifted her head from the pillow at the sound. There on the back lawn, right before her eyes, was a beautiful sleigh pulled by reindeer gliding to a stop on the green winter grass. It's Santa! He came! she thought.
"Ho Ho Ho!!!" the jolly man called. He grabbed his sack full of toys and stepped out of the sleigh. As he did, he glanced at the window and smiled. Marianne ducked her head down quickly so she would not be caught awake when Santa came. When she looked back up Santa and his sleigh were gone. Just that fast! Did he find the door open? Would there be gifts from him under the tree? She could hardly keep from wiggling with excitement.
She must have finally fallen asleep because before she knew it she heard a bustling noise. It was Daddy coming in from the morning milking! "Ho ho ho!!" he called to the family. "Time for Christmas!" Marianne scrambled out of bed, through the kitchen, and into the living room. There under the tree was the most beautiful doll almost as tall as she was! She was dressed all in red and white and if you squeezed her arms together her lips puckered outward and she made a kissing sound! Marianne loved her right away! He did get inside. He did!
Author's note: I am guessing the year was ca. 1960-61 and I had just turned three or four. The events of that Christmas Eve were so real I have never doubted what I saw. It really happened. Really!
I wish I still had my Kissy doll! I miss her. Apparently some little girls didn't love their Kissy to death like I did mine. I found these photos online. Isn't she pretty?