Christmas was always special when I was growing up. We were up before dawn to see what Santa had brought. I was a true believer. One year I had even heard the hooves of the reindeer tapping on the roof of our house while Santa was making his delivery.
One year, one of the presents I was getting was a multiple level gas station, parking garage type structure, in which you could drive and park and pretend to work on, your match box cars. My sister was receiving something called the Imagination doll house. Both were “some assembly required,” and apparently had somewhere in excess of a gazillion pieces.
My sister and I were in bed, sound asleep, which we knew was important, ‘cause Santa wouldn’t come if you were awake. Mom and Dad were getting out the hidden presents and the toys which needed assembly when the Grinch decided to pay a visit in the form of a house fire. The Plectron, the “pager” of those days, went off, and so did Dad into the night, leaving Mom to complete the present distribution, and more importantly, the toy assembly.
Dad did make it back before we woke up to greet Christmas morning, but just barely. As usual we were wide eyed and thrilled with everything Santa had brought. Mom and Dad were not; both a bit blurry eyed from lack of sleep.
Years later, after the Santa years, Mom would regularly retell the story of that Christmas Eve, and have us in stitches as she described the “millions of pieces necessary” to complete the assembly of the toys that year. She stayed up all night, the elf completing Santa’s work.