NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 11, 2013 –
As long as I can remember, my parents and relatives (and now my family) have celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. The place where the whole Fisher clan gathers is rotated each year and last Christmas my daughter (Carrie) and her husband (Dallas) were the lucky winners, which, among many other things, required them to spring-clean their house in December instead of May and also provide a tasty sit-down dinner for more than 20 people.
“Do you know what Dallas wants to do on Christmas Eve this year?” my daughter had asked me about a week before the much anticipated evening arrived.
“Kiss you under some mistletoe?” I asked.
“I wish,” said my daughter, returning my smile. “No, he wants to dress up like Santa Claus and surprise all the young kids who are going to be there with some presents and ho-ho-ho’s and candy canes.”
“Hey,” I said, “now that’s a great idea!”
“Well,” continued my daughter, “you know how much Dallas loves Christmas – it’s his favorite holiday – so he went on Craigslist and found a used Santa Claus outfit that didn’t cost too much and it’s supposed to arrive any day now. So after dinner on Christmas Eve, he’s going to sneak out into the garage, put on the Santa suit, and then climb up on our roof and make reindeer sounds, whatever they are. And that’s the reason I’m telling you all of this, because although I love the Santa idea, it’s supposed to be cold and rainy on Christmas Eve and I don’t want Dallas falling off our roof and breaking his neck right after we all finish our dinner. And since he’ll usually listen to you, I was hoping you might be able to talk him out of over-doing the Santa thing.”
So, after everyone had finished their wonderful Christmas Eve dinner (including my mother’s delicious homemade lemon pie for dessert) , and without any noticeable reindeer or Santa sled noises coming from the roof, Santa himself suddenly appeared at my daughter’s front door, much to the delight of all the wide-eyed children in attendance. And not only did Dallas turn out to be one of the most believable Santa Claus’s of all time, but his booming ho-ho-ho’s and the obvious joy he got out of making all the young Fisher kids so happy brought about the following little family conversation:
(Santa spoiler to follow; this part of the story should probably not be shared with kids.)
“Dad,” said my daughter to me, “do you remember how I first found out that there was no Santa Claus?”
“Nope,” I admitted, “I don’t think that I do.”
“You honestly can’t remember?” she asked, shocked.
“I’m sorry, but my memory just isn’t what it used to be,” I explained in my defense.
“Well, it was only one of the worst days in my whole entire life, and since you are the one who told me, I’m surprised that you can’t remember doing it.”
“I told you there was no Santa Claus?”
“Did I just blurt it out of something?”
“No, it was even worse than that!”
“What did I do?” I asked with interest.
“Well,” explained my daughter, “I was about 12 or 13 years old and you said you needed to have a little talk with me about the birds and the bees, which of course was a pretty horrifying announcement to begin with, but when we finally finished our `little’ talk – which, by the way, I thought was never going to end – you added, almost as an after-thought, that you thought I also needed to know that there was no Santa Claus. I actually thought I handled the birds and bees thing pretty well, but also hearing that there was no Santa just crushed me!”
When Dallas and my sons, who were listing to the conversation, began to laugh, my daughter exclaimed, “It wasn’t funny at all! For years I had been fighting with all my friends, swearing to them that there really was a Santa Claus, and then to suddenly find out there wasn’t one, well, I was devastated!”
“Hey, I’ve got an even better story,” Dallas suddenly assured everyone. “I was about the same age as Carrie before my parents finally told me, and after I had spent about ten minutes in my bedroom trying to get my head around the whole idea, I realized that it did kinda help explain why Santa’s handwriting on the gift tags on my presents always looked a lot like the way my mother wrote. Anyway, after the shock had finally started to wear off, I ran back out to my parents and shouted with horror, `Please don’t tell me that this means that there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, either!”
Copyright News-Ledger 2013