Waiting for Santa? Try not to frighten the children!

Have you seen the website Portable North Pole? By filling in a few pieces of personal identification, Santa appears with a special greeting for your child who then waits for the elves to operate an elaborate machine designed to help Santa decide whether or not their name appears on the naughty or nice list. A friend showed me the video he’d created for one of his sons and it is just charming! I can only imagine how excited this little guy must have been to hear directly from Santa that he made the good list! On the other hand, my friend had plans to have the older child’s name appear on the naughty list, hoping to encourage a little extra attention towards good behavior.  The PNP Santa gives the children a kindly warning with a generous chance to get their behavior in line before the Christmas deadline.

I don’t have many memories of when I began to put it all together that Santa wasn’t really coming to each house and leaving gifts. But I do remember having a few conversations with my children when they were very young as they tried to reconcile how it was that Santa had time to come down our street every year a few days before Christmas. Wasn’t he supposed to be working and getting everything ready at the North Pole? And why was he riding a fire truck followed by at least one or two emergency vehicles?

Our fire department has hosted this annual tradition since I was a child. We typically have advance notice of the night he will be traveling in our sector of the city, but on those nights all we know is to be ready somewhere between 6:30 and 9:30 pm. On clear nights the sounds of amplified ho-ho-ho accompanied by intermittent wailing from one or more of the emergency vehicles let’s you know Santa is on his appointed rounds, but the trick is figuring out when he is coming down OUR street since sound carries and he may still be blocks away. Many false runs into the cold night air typically indicate that the adults in the household are really just big kids themselves when it comes to Santa!

It has been fun to introduce this tradition to Sophia and Karina but I do wonder what is going on in those two little heads as they begin to reconcile all the sights and sounds of Christmas.  Along with anticipating the Santa visit we have also been reading stories about Jesus’ birth at Christmas, and today I heard Karina play-acting with her sister and saying, “I’m Joseph and this is my friend Mary.” Being a grandparent is highly advantageous.  Mom and Dad are on the hook for most of the sorting out!

So we know that Santa is coming to our street on the 23rd. Will he be early or late in the evening? You can never be sure. But one thing is certain, Aimee and I are already talking about how to maintain a little more calm and decorum than we have exhibited in the past.   Last year as we sat eating our dinner we almost missed the whole thing. We didn’t have much advance warning so all of a sudden we realized the sounds were mighty close! We abruptly grabbed the girls from the dinner table and ran outside.  Gratefully, the sights and sounds of an exuberant candy-throwing Santa seemed to offset the trauma of being whisked from the table with little or no warning.

You’d think we would know better! After all, the previous year we’d made fools of ourselves!

Sophia, barely two, was in the bath. Judging by the neighborhood sounds we thought we had plenty of time, but we were wrong! I went to the door to check and discovered that Santa was making a fast approach.  Running toward the bathroom and quite literally screeching “Santa, Santa is coming!” I motion Aimee to get a move-on! Grab that poor wet baby and let’s get outdoors.  With ludicrous antics mirroring TV’s Modern Family our behaviors took on a frantic display that should be reserved only for emergencies—or the Apocalypse! Sophia was quickly bundled and rushed outdoors, someone else grabbed Karina, and we made it to the curb just in time for Santa.

It wasn’t until we came back inside that we looked at one another in disbelief! What had come over us? Had we lost our minds? Well, yes, I think we sort of did just that.  So this year we have another opportunity to reclaim our composure and try to keep our enthusiasm in check—the goal? Let’s all have a very nice evening, but try not to scare the children with Santa’s arrival. If it all goes well, I may let you know!


20 thoughts on “Waiting for Santa? Try not to frighten the children!

    1. It really is the cutest thing, Sharyn. I haven’t had a chance yet to ask my friend how the “naughty list” worked out for his one son. I was tempted to take the time and plug this in for a few of my friends, but I couldn’t take the time. Maybe next year! 🙂 Debra

  1. Wonderful post, Debra. It’s a shame that the girls probably won’t remember any of this but you and Aimee are sure to chuckle about these 2 Santa encounters for years to come. I know I just did. 🙂

    1. Thank you, John. I am so glad it translated well enough for you to catch the humor. Our behavior was so over-the-top I wasn’t sure I could make it translate well. I hope as the girls do get older their mother and grandmother don’t emabarrass them too often! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas in your home, too! Debra

  2. Oh, Debra, do let us know about Santa’s advances this year as well. What stories you will have to tell over Christmas dinner with Sophia and Karina in years to come. I can imagine what they will have to tell when they look back. Santa and the fire trucks! Gotta love it.

    We used to make “reindeer” sandwiches for the girls when Christmas got hectic. Slice the bread on the diagonal so it is a triangle. Peanut butter. Pretzel sticks for antlers. Raisins or chocolate chips for eyes and the most important ingredient? A red maraschino cherry for Rudolf’s nose. You get the idea and can make it work without the peanut butter if there are allergies.

    Now, I’m hungry. I think I’ll have one for lunch – and listen for Santa sirens! I enjoyed this, Debra.

    1. Thank you, Penny! I hope I can really observe and maybe begin to understand a bit of what the girls experience this year. This will be the first time both of them are old enough to really participate. Karina was really little last year when Santa finally arrived. I love the reindeer sandwiches! How great. The children will be at our house for lunch Christmas Eve…they would love to make these! What a fun idea. I’m sure you’re in full throttle now, too, so I send my best for a peaceful Christmas, Penny! Debra

    1. Well, Karen, I’m relieved that you are laughing! I almost didn’t post this because I thought it possible I’d sound unhinged! Ha! But my daughter and I have been laughing at ourselves a lot lately! I’m so glad to have shared it with you. And yes, we must do better this year! Thank you! Debra

  3. Debra, there’s nothing better than forgetting oneself and acting like a child again. That’s exactly what you did, and you couldn’t have done it at a better time or for better people. I loved this story. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Andra. I appreciate your perspective on my behavior! I think I struggle with being playful and unselfconscious, so this story does highlight that perhaps when it comes to being with my granddaughters I DO lose myself. That’s a precious gift they give to me. I’m so glad you were humored along with me. You’ve certainly made me laugh recently…(in particularly Dean Martin crooners and your unfortunate horseback riding incident!) 🙂 D

  4. Been there, Debra. Christmas has more than its fair share of shoulds and musts, don’t you find? Christmas won’t be Christmas unless we….

    Christmas will continue to be Christmas, I found through painful trial and error, and it can survive some fairly cataclysmic changes. Hope this year you have a lovely time seeing Santa 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your always kind thoughts, Kate. We are looking forward to all aspects of Christmas, and I hope that you and your precious family also have a wonderful Christmas. Your children have such wise perspectives on so many things, I expect it to be very meaningful. 🙂 Debra

  5. Great work. Growing up with the belief in Santa takes a lot of work by caring parents. And you are absolutely correct. For 26 years now I have had just as much joy (or more) as my children.


    1. Thank you so much for stopping by to share, Tim. I’m so glad to know that you share my perspective on Christmas and making it special for children. On top of it all my daughter’s birthday is Christmas Eve..and we’ve always celebrated it on her day. So we are in full speed ahead, but I’d have it no other way. Merry Christmas, Debra

  6. Santa does make it hard for us grown-ups, doesn’t he? I think it’s wonderful that you lost yourselves and got a little childish again. But, yes, no scaring the children. I had a good laugh. Thank you very much. And Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Thank you so much, Otto. I’m glad I could share the fun, and I’m sure you are also getting into the Christmas spirit in your household! Thank you for all you do to share such special and intentionally uplifting messages on your site. I very directly respond to the encouragement to look around and pay a bit of attention to others, too, at this time. So the balance between mindfulness and silliness, right? Merry Christmas to you, also. Debra

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