Here’s this week’s little diddy. Happy New Year, try not to be too impulsive tonight.

We’re up in Elma for the holidays, soaking up family and perpetual moisture. There’s nothing like a good old soggy Christmas to get me in the holiday mood.

Every Christmas eve, my parents host a family party at their home for all the kids who don’t want to cook. It’s nothing too fancy, but the body count certainly stacks up. This year we had 52 packed into their home. Last year that number wasn’t such a big deal, but suddenly we have an entire group of kids who are old enough to claim a seat.

It was kind of like musical chair torture. Once you’d found a seat, forget seconds or missing forks. If your rear end even thought about traveling, you were out of the running, left with the “standing room only” crowd. It was every man for himself, forget saving your spouse a seat. (In my case, I pulled the nursing mother card on any male relative in my path and guilted them into offering me a seat/a second helping/a piece of chocolate pie.)

But it’s after the meal that the party really gets going. For the past 55 years, our family has received a visit from Santa during the big Christmas Eve party. And for the last 18 , the grown-ups have managed to pull off the greatest hoax ever. The children have absolutely no idea who plays the Man in Red.

Trust me, this is no small feat. To keep even the older kids stumped means we’ve done our job well. But this year, it almost came back to bite us. Those little hooligans nearly blew the lid off our entire operation.

“Santa” dresses in the back of the house, in a darkened room, surrounded by bags of suspense laden gifts. He gets eyebrows and rosy cheeks, stuffing in the appropriate places, and takes on a persona you’d never guess could come from this particular stand-in. Truly, the man could be on Broadway with his holiday acting skills.

He exits out a back door, makes his way around the side of the house, while Grandpa Rex simultaneously plays “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”. We hear the bells, there comes a knock, and voila! Belief!

We had 12 minutes to go when my sister Kerry came up to me.

“You’d better tell Jen to find her boys, I heard them talking about some kind of Santa ambush.”

I turned around to scan the room for my sister, when I saw her six-year-old stealthily slip out the front door. I caught him just as as he was assuming belly crawling ninja position on the front porch.

Do you know what would happen to the fragile Santa religion if a group of middle-aged children exposed Mr. C as a fraud? We have over fifteen littleĀ  kids who would lose faith in the entire system, leaving us parents with nothing to hold over their easily manipulated heads. Total and complete holiday chaos.

The next ten minutes were touch and go. We had three boys unaccounted for, and Santa was almost in position. Finally, with forty-two seconds to spare, the children were retrieved.

I’ve decided that Santa is a lot like Jesus. Even after their failed defamation attack, he still brought the little runts presents. Go figure.


  1. The naughties!! Santa needs to send them a picture of a big lump of coal with a note that says, “You got lucky…once.”

    Happy New Year my darling friend!

  2. Oh WOW. I had no idea all that chaos was going on. Of course it would be Jen’s boys, (ninja crawling and all) who would come up with that kind of plan. Thank goodness the cat is still in the bag.

    I love DeNae’s comment. Pass that on to Jen!

  3. I agree it was Santa magic. I think you should tell the kids that they would be put in jail if they told. Or forced to watch a Mario Lopez marathon. Fate worse than death.

  4. Oh-this post made me miss Jen and her blog:)

    Now I’m all curious about who you’re getting to play Santa.

  5. I’m curious, too! And the first thing I thought of to say was, “naughties!” But there was my sister. Beating me to it! And then I got chills when she said to take a picture and send a message. That would be so good!

    Whew! Glad you pulled it off again!

  6. My dad & his brothers were cleaning out their parents old house & found a barrel w/ coal in it. Want me to have them send it up?

    I’ve linked to your Christmas card dos & don’ts recently. Just thought I’d mention it.