Oh the day was filled with wondrous activity. In one day we bought pajamas for the girls, then went to a Christmas tree farm. When we got home we decorated the house for Christmas. That is the bare bones of Snurffle Day. Let me enlarge that framework.
The holiday started as a Nyle B. Smith production. He would go and get a license from some small town in central Utah. Then he would take our four wheel vehicle up into the mountains and find THE perfect tree!
I would stay home with the girlies, or we would go out and purchase new jammies for them. We would all be buzzing with anticipation as we knew that our Christmas tree would soon be at home.
It was Nyle that gave it an official name. I believe I asked him, "We should have a name for this day." He did not even hesitate. He said, "Snurffle Day." I said, "Perfect!"
Over the years the day continued to evolve. Living in Portland we had very close access to all the Christmas trees that we could ever want! No more licenses and mountain climbing for a tree. We found a lovely Christmas tree farm that was about 20 minutes out from our home. We would ride in a van up to the hill, then we would peruse acres of beautiful Christmas trees before we made our choice. In typical fashion, the girls would chose one and then say, "Oh look, there's a better tree down there!" Then off they would sprint, adrenaline powered by Snurffle Day excitement.
I did not usually mind the chase for the tree. Well except when it was raining so hard that it was like a lake fell out of the sky. Then I was eager to find that dang tree, have them chop it down, and get us down to the cafe, gift shop and dry warmth! NOW!
More often, it would be a perfect autumn fading into winter type of day. The hill that we chose our tree from dropped back on each side. On the top of that ridge, I felt like a Queen perusing her kingdom. Acres, and acres of evergreens dropped into a valley with quaint farmhouses and barns in the valley below.
Sometimes it seemed as though low lying clouds would get tangled in all the trees. When that happened it was a completely different sort of scene. Then I felt we were walking through or maybe on top of the clouds.
After we chose the perfect tree, we had to wait for a tree chopper to come by to chop said tree down. Then we had to wait a little longer for a van to drive us back to the cafe/gift shop. Free hot cocoa was served there.
Most years, Santa would be there waiting to hear the wishes of all the boyzus and girlzus. Sarah was TERRIFIED of the Jolly Old Elf. We have a few pictures taken where Santa is holding her, and she screaming at the top of her lungs! It was only for a couple of moments, and she has not needed therapy to overcome the trauma!
Each year we, the entire family, would have our picture taken with the jolly old chap! It's so much fun to look at all the pictures taken over the years. Our youngest daughter never did feel positively about Santa. I guess I can understand, I mean, apparently this man is hundreds of years old and lives at the North pole? It did not help when we went shopping and she saw Santa's all over the place at the same time. (We explained that Santa had LOTS of helpers). That seemed to calm Sarah a bit. She just never appreciated sitting anywhere close to a man with an obviously fake beard. Sitting on Santa's lap? Never an option! In this era of "Stranger danger." I get it.
There are several years when our beloved neighborhood daughter was also in the picture. She brought us great joy. I loved having a fresh new perspective on Snurffle Day. I believe that she and her husband have their own traditions for Snurffle Day now. (We do not have a patent on Snurffle Day. Anyone may use it)!
One year we were too late. St. Nicholas had returned to the North Pole. He evidently had a new, improved, sleigh that did not fly so much as warp sped him home!
We were all ever so disappointed. Nyle excused himself to use the facilities. Several moments later I almost choked on my hot cocoa! He assured us that it was OK REAL Santa had gone home. Ghetto Santa was there to help us. Oh how I wish you could see this fabulous Santa. He had the traditional white beard, and moustache. They were made out of toilet paper. Hence the "ghetto" appellation.
Nonetheless, we were undaunted by his rather unique apparel, we took that family picture gosh darn it! That became my favorite of all the Snurffle days. I mean, come on, how many times do you get to have Ghetto Santa at your party?
After the traditional family pictorial if we became bored waiting for our tree to be shaken, bound, and tied on top of our car we would climb the stairs to a magical kingdom. In that place and space I felt like a child. Not a child AGAIN, because I never really left my first childhood! I firmly hold on to the right to be childlike. This means that I get to be truly astonished by the blinking of Christmas lights outside or on the tree. Glitering Christmas tree ornaments still give me wonder.
A few years my Mama was either living in Portland or had come up for the holidays. I had so much fun watching my 80 something Mama walk through that gift shop. As I watched her I realized who had taught by her example my childlike wonder. She too was mesmerized by the tiny Christmas villages, the ornaments of dizzyingly different sizes, shapes, and selection.
My Mom, myself, and our girls created three generations of Christmas joy! All too soon it would be time to head to the car. The car would be infused with the magical smell of evergreen. Not the tiny deodorizer evergreen that is common these days. No this was the real thing. The piquant, unique smell of a lovely hillside. It was the smell of clean air, pine sap, and happiness.
Sometimes we would stop at a store afterwards to buy those wonderful jammies. I still own a robe that we purchased for my Snurffle Day bed attire...I probably will have to put it on today!
Update: I just received a most delightful Snurffle Day surprise. One of my favorite holiday treats...Kisses that are white chocolate with little bits of peppermint candy! AWESOME!
For the rest of my life I will keep close to my heart the magic and wonder of Snurffle Day. It is a day when everything seems possible. The hardest parts of life are suspended for one entire day.
Nyle, the Snurffle Day Master passed away four years ago but he left behind two beautiful daughters who carry on his traditions. Nyle will be present, in spirit, at each and every Snurffle Day. We will hear his laughter, and relish the things he taught us.
HAPPY SNURFFLE DAY TO ALL...AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT! Well, that's after Snurffle Day, you know when it gets dark and it's time to go to bed...after Snurffle day is actually over, that's when you should have a good night...okay, I will now stop rambling...