by Santa Kevin Haislip
You ever had one of those times when you just had to laugh at yourself? Even Santa does, occasionally!
It was early Christmas Eve this past year and I was out making last minute visits to families before they turned in for the night. It would be several hours before I returned to their homes to make my secret stops. For now, I was just dropping by for a short visit to the home of a family that requested I come by at 6:30, around dinner time, to see their 3 daughters.
It was pretty cold and dark out that evening. Six inches of newly fallen snow covered the ground, but the lane where they lived was all lit up with Christmas displays. The muffled laughter from children could be heard up the street from one of the houses that looked like they were having a big Christmas party.
As I looked for their house, I quickly realized that many if not most of the houses did not have addresses on them that were visible. I say this so that you know how important this is. You don't want Santa taking your presents to someone else's house, do you?
But here I was, looking for the right address so I could make my visit to these three girls. I had called ahead just a few minutes earlier and told Mom I was in the neighborhood and would be coming in directly. She informed me she had left the front door unlocked and for me to come on in. My GPS guided me to the house address, I collected my bag, tossed it over my shoulder and walked to the front door.
As promised, the door was unlocked. As I stepped through, I was warmly greeted by a spectacular Christmas display: a beautifully decorated tree and mantle and smells of gingerbread and mince filled the house. Lights and candles shown brightly and Christmas music played softly in the background. I let out a loud chuckle of "Ho Ho Ho" and walked on through to the back of the house where the family all seemed to be. The children's eyes popped wide open with glee and they jumped up from their play and ran over to me, hugging me as tight as their little arms could. Dad was sitting comfortably over by the window reading from a large book, but when I came in, he sat up with a most puzzled expression. Mom was also sitting on the couch, and quickly got up and came over to greet me. She was also clearly very surprised by my visit.
Meanwhile the children could not be more delighted. All three of them talking at once as the volume increased to they could be heard over the others. I bent down to talk with them eye to eye, and tried as I might to answer all their questions: Did I bring their presents right now? Can we open them right now Mom? Are you still going to come back later with more presents? Do you like cookies? Where are your reindeer? and so on. This was such an unexpected surprise, they could not have been more delighted!
As I talked with the children, something seemed a little off. The expressions of the parents remained quizzical and a bit guarded as they watched. Another thing that was odd was Mom, who had called me and asked me to come by, said she had three daughters. Yet in front of me were two young boys and a slightly older girl. But for all that seemed a little odd to me, I wanted to make sure these children had a visit they would not forget. So I continued talking with them for a few more minutes, then turned to Mom and asked about her other 2 daughters.
She answered that she and her husband had two sons and a daughter.
"Well," I said letting out a sigh and a big grin, "What a magical night! I have had such a wonderful time coming by to visit you. I don't think I will forget this evening for many many years, I've had such a fun time seeing you."
"But you know, Christmas Eve is a very busy night for Santa," I told them as I raised my brows and nodded my head. "As much as I would love to stay here with you, I have many more children and families I must visit before I begin my mid-night rounds."
With that, I picked up by bag and stood up. I chuckled a bit and turned to the three children. "Now you know you must go to bed early tonight and fall fast asleep. I cannot come by later if any of you are awake and looking out for me!" Mom mouthed a silent 'thank you' but Dad still looked very puzzled.
And with a little bit louder chuckle, I turned and headed for the door with all three children close behind asking even more questions. I hugged them and told them I loved them. Then I was out the door and down the walk to find the correct address. I was already over 20 minutes late to visit the three girls.
As I was about to turn the corner at the end of their drive, the oldest boy shouted out, "Where is your sleigh Santa?" With that, I heard the first words of Dad, "Come back in here son!" Then I heard the door shut and the lock bolted.
I've often wondered what Mom and Dad talked about that night. Was this a gift from someone? Was it the Pedersons, or the Johnsons? Who? Should we have called the police? Was it a wrong address?
I would have loved to be a fly on their wall that night!
I was entirely right about one thing: I would not forget what happened this Christmas Eve. I will be laughing about this for a very long time.