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I never knew how he did it until later in life when I was old enough to know.
But somehow, some way, I awoke on Christmas morning, eyes half asleep and squinting from the camera lights rolling, as all four of us kids came down the steps to a living room transformed magically overnight with toys and presents.
My dad looked tired but happy. He had stayed up all night to erect the entire Lionel City train set on a specially built wooden platform. He never slept, but the joy on his face and my mom's said it all.
There were no computers, no electronics to open, just old-fashioned toys that we played with. No batteries needed. Just talking and laughing out loud.
That was then. Today, my dad is 93 and home alone. The house that was once so active on Christmas will now be empty, filled only with memories. Gone is the family, the noise, the hugs and surprises. No more lights and cameras. My mom died a few years back, and everyone moved away to their own lives.
But I will never forget what my dad did to make Christmas morning so very special for our family. He will wake up again this Christmas morning to the sound of silence. Time gives us a very short window, it seems.
Yet, his Christmas spirit still remains in me. Those memories he embedded in my mind will last forever. Merry Christmas, Dad.