During the lead-up to the Christmas holidays when our daughters were in elementary school, some of their friends started spreading rumours that Santa Claus wasn’t real.
It hit our youngest daughter, who was in Grade 1, really hard and she was upset.
When she quizzed me about that rumour, I told her “Santa is definitely real if you believe in him.”
OK, that was a classic example of me putting my foot in my big mouth.
I immediately started working on a plan to reinforce my comment with some proof that Santa came to our home that year on Christmas Eve.
A couple of nights later, I woke from a Santa dream and jotted down the material I would need to prove that Santa was real if you believed in him.
The list included deer droppings, half-eaten carrots, some jingle bells and cross-country skis.The deer droppings were collected during my mid-December search for the perfect Christmas tree. When I came across the deer droppings I picked them up, put them in a plastic sandwich bag and tucked them in the freezer. The half-eaten carrots were easy because the girls liked leaving notes, cookies and hot chocolate for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.
The jingle bells were purchased at the local dollar store and we already had the cross-country skis.
As Christmas Day got closer, I figured out how I was going to pull off Santa’s arrival at our home.
On Christmas Eve, we went for our traditional car ride to check out the Christmas light displays. It’s a tradition our daughters still carry on with their children now.
When we got home, we would have some hot chocolate and yuletide baking and then we would discuss (debate) which was the best Christmas light-up display. Sometimes we would need a referee (Mom) to help us come to a consensus on the best display.
On the night of my Santa-is-real-if-you-believe-in-him reinforcement, I made sure we put out a plate of goodies but the carrots for Rudolph would have to be more palatable for the reindeer this time – well maybe more so for Daddy so I peeled them.
Eventually, it was time for the girls to go to bed and try to get to sleep. I waited for a while and peeked into their bedrooms to make sure they were sleeping, and then I went outside and collected my props for the Christmas Day surprise.
It was very cold and windy that night when I climbed the ladder to the roof and set up the Christmas arrival scene of Santa’s visit.
The skis made a good impression in the snow and they looked like a sled had been sitting on the roof.
I threw some carrot pieces where the reindeer would be standing and munching while they waited for the jolly old elf to put some presents under the Christmas tree.
I stomped some footprints in the snow so the girls would see that Santa had to walk to the chimney so he could go down and drop off the parcels.
As soon as the rooftop scene was concluded, I climbed down the ladder and set up a front yard scene with ski marks to show the sleigh had been there, too. This time I added some reindeer footprints made by ski poles and sprinkled reindeer droppings and some more carrot chunks.
After I put all of the props away, I rattled the jingle bells under the girls’ bedroom windows and said “ho, ho, ho.” Then I made a mad dash to the basement door and quietly entered.
When I quietly left the basement to go to bed, my wife told me the girls had heard the bells and Santa’s ho, ho, ho and had run towards each other’s room. When they met up in the hallway, the youngest daughter said, “Did you hear that jingling and ho, ho, ho?”
The older daughter said she had heard the bells when Santa launched off to go to another home where the good boys and girls lived.
Then they debated whether they should check out the presents, but chose to go back to bed just to “be safe.”
It was a huge success, and the girls were anxious to get up in the morning.
The last thing I heard before I fell to sleep was our youngest daughter telling her sister, “I told you Santa is real if you believed in him!”
When they came into our bedroom a couple of hours later to see if they could open their presents, I felt a jab in my ribs – obviously, Mom wanted to go back to sleep.
That’s when another Christmas tradition started for the Alexander clan, but with a few minor rules.
They could take their stockings to their bedrooms and check them out. However, they weren’t allowed to eat any chocolate or candies until after breakfast was completed.
As I poured a second coffee and moved toward the Christmas tree, I smiled and thought to myself “Mission accomplished – Ho, ho, ho!”
When the ripping of wrapping paper was done, my girls collected their presents and placed them together under the Christmas tree.
Then we had our favourite Christmas breakfast – pancakes, bacon, maple syrup and whipped cream. When that was done, Mom and Dad did the dishes while the girls tried on their new clothes and walked the red carpet. When the dishes were done, Mom and Dad tried on their new clothes, while the girls played with their new toys.
Then it was time to call the grammas and grampas and other family members to talk about our gifts and the fact that “Santa came to our house.”
After lunch, we lit the fireplace, cuddled on the couch with our blankets and pillows and watched a Christmas movie, falling into a warm and happy nap.
Merry Christmas – Ho, ho, ho!