This is part of my Christmas Memory Challenge, a goal I set for myself to recall 25 things I love about Christmas. You can also check out Shannon's memories here.
My dad always had a thing about each of us having a party piece, a poem or song we could perform at social gatherings. Usually, my Christmas party piece would be the songs I was learning for Christmas that year. When I was 12, however, my dad decided that I should learn a poem specifically, A Visit from St. Nicholas. I set about memorizing the whole thing, complete with actions (some where there is a picture of me, with a Santa hat on, pretending to swing a sack on my back). I stood in front of the Christmas tree and recited the poem for all the people who made an appearance at that year's party.
The following year, I still remembered all the words and so I performed it again. Almost twenty years on, I can still recite the whole thing from memory. I hope you enjoy it. (Apologies for the buzzing noise from my computer.)
ADDENDUM: This post was going to end with what you read above but then, I met my stepmom and Baby Bro in Duncan. While we drove up to Nanaimo, CBC radio played under our chatter until a familiar voice broke interrupted our discussion. It was Fireside Al reciting Frederick Forsyth's The Shepherd. We pulled into the drive, turned off the engine and listened in silence until the recording was over.
Fireside Al's Christmas Stories were an indelible part of my childhood Christmases. Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus; Gift of the Magi; The Shepherd; and countless others are replayed every year in the dulcet tones of Canada's favourite radio uncle. I don't know if this link will work outside of Canada, but if you have 40 minutes, I suggest you listen to The Shepherd told by the late Fireside Al Maitland (story starts about 2 minutes in).