by Capt. Steve Byrne
Whether you have young children of your own or know someone who does, this blog post is for you. It's something I wrote in 2000 when my oldest son was wise to Santa, and his little brother was beginning to have doubts of his own. Here it is -
Keeping the Spirit of Santa Alive - My oldest son was six. That's an age where kids can go either way when it comes to Santa. They probably have friends with older brothers and sisters who may have said that there is no Santa Claus. At six, some children start to have doubts themselves. You can remove that doubt for a couple more years.
We spent Christmas Eve at my in-laws. Always a hectic affair with 11 children and 10 adults, my better half and I were happy to say our goodbyes at 11:30. The baby was tired and he was starting to cry, so there was little protest when we announced our departure. We loaded the van with the gifts and the boys and headed home. By the time we got to the house, the baby was asleep. I put him in his crib and went to work on the big guy. Bathroom, brush the teeth, put on pajamas, tuck in and kiss goodnight - check. I told him to go right to sleep, so that Santa could come.
Next came the good part: I ran downstairs and put on my coat - it was freezing out. First, I took the sleigh bells from the front door. Then I went into the shed where there was a lone pole and some duct tape. I taped the sleigh bells to the end of the extension pole. Sneaking around the back of the house, I opened the pole as far as it could go. It was perfect. The pole made it right up to the second floor window of my sons' bedroom. I held the sleigh bells right next to the glass and gave four good shakes. I thought about giving a loud "Ho, Ho, Ho!" but I have an easily recognizable voice, so I kept my mouth shut. Lowering the bells as fast as possible, I ran back inside so I wouldn't get caught. I fully expected Stephen to come running out of his room - instead; there was no reaction. Could he be asleep already? I couldn't believe it. It was quiet. Oh well, maybe next year.
Christmas morning, 6:30am Stephen comes in the room, "Mom, Dad - you're never going to believe this! I knew that the presents were here last night. You know how I knew? I heard Santa's sleigh bells last night, so I knew that he left us presents! I heard his bells, I really did!"
I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.