Ronnie Spector on Christmas. From Cari Wade Gervin, “Recording and Performing Still Thrill Ronnie Spector“. Nashville Scene, November 30, 2017.
…Since I’ve been a little girl, I’ve loved Christmas. I remember sitting on Santa’s lap in Macy’s when I was 5 and thinking, “I love Christmas!” It was everything in my neighborhood growing up in Spanish Harlem. I’d walk with my dad up to Amsterdam Avenue and pick out a tree. I was one of those kids who could not wait for Christmas — I’d be ready to open my presents at 8 p.m. and my mother would say, “Not until tomorrow!” And I couldn’t sleep.
I think I drove my sister crazy. She was much calmer than me. I remember once when my dad was reading me a story about Santa coming down the chimney to deliver presents, and I was like, “We don’t have a chimney! How can Santa come?” And I was so upset, because of course we didn’t have a chimney in our apartment. And my dad said, “Butchie” — that’s what he called me when I was little — “Butchie, when Santa comes to Spanish Harlem, he uses the fire escape.” So I put cookies and milk for Santa outside on the fire escape, and in the morning they were gone! That’s when I knew Santa was real. I thought he lived on the top of Macy’s, you know — I thought that was the North Pole, the top of Macy’s. I got very upset when I got older and realized there was a Santa at Gimbels and a Santa at other stores, and not just at Macy’s.