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The smell of Christmas

By the time this column appears Thanksgiving will be long gone, except for the leftovers (hopefully) in my fridge. I’m a big fan of roasted turkey and this year I cooked again for my family. I hope my turkey was moist, my gravy good and that the brown and serve rolls were still in the store for me to buy prior to the dinner.

I think brown and serve rolls might be my husband’s favorite food. For him, it’s just not Thanksgiving (or any holiday meal) without them. The recipe is easy: just brown in the oven and serve. I do like to put a little butter on top of mine after they come out of the oven before I put them on the table first, though. It makes them look shiny and even tastier to eat, I think.

After Thanksgiving comes the whirlwind of Christmas. We already have our tree up. Once our young son Henry learned his Granny already had her tree up we had to put ours up, too.

“You know what mommy?” Henry said. “I’m going to get up really, really, really, early so we can put up the tree.”

Lucky me! I told him that I needed to drink some coffee first before any tree action could happen.

“OK mommy, you can have two cups of coffee before we put the tree up,” he said.

How generous of my little Henry: getting to have two cups is an early Christmas gift in my book! Before we actually put the tree up that morning, I thought hard about how to rearrange the room without having to also move the TV. Moving the television involves too many wires and is best kept in place, I think.

Finally, and after much prodding and questioning from Henry, I figured it out and it turned out OK.

I thanked Henry for being patient with me and for letting me drink two whole cups of coffee in one morning. Usually I get to drink about half before I’m called away by him. But that’s why God invented microwaves — to reheat busy parents’ cold cups of coffee.

More this year than ever Henry believes in and, I think, understands what Santa is all about. We haven’t really gotten into the real reason for the season with him yet. We made two Christmas lists with me reminding him that it was a “wish list,” that Santa can’t get everything on it. He seemed satisfied with that answer. A few days later he wanted to go see Santa at the mall and give him his lists.

During the drive there he said he thought it would be easy for him to find Santa inside. He could sniff him out because he smells like Christmas, he said.

“What does Christmas smell like, Henry?” his Grandma Ruth said.

“It smells like magic,” Henry answered, adding he has a strong sense of smell like a dog.

Unfortunately between the house and the mall, we (me, really) lost the list! I broke the news to Henry as we were getting out of the car. He said he couldn’t see Santa without it. I told him I could write another one, that I had it memorized at this point. But when we got inside he changed his mind.

Grandma Ruth convinced him to at least take a peak at Santa and maybe wave from afar. So we peaked from afar and that was enough for Henry. I better get to shopping now, Henry and Santa are counting on me!

Hanson can be reached at shanson@timesleaderonline.com.