It was Christmas night and all of the Christmas presents had been opened (or so we thought) and everyone’s bellies were stuffed full of delicious food. My two daughters and nephew were happily playing in my dad and step-mom’s (affectionately called Grandpa and Nonna by their grandchildren) living room when all of a sudden the doorbell rang. Nonna walked over to the kids and said, “I wonder who that is! Who wants to help me answer the door?” which of course prompted about a dozen or so “MEEEE’s” and a house full of excitement.
The front door opened and in walked Santa. In the flesh. Well, Santa aka Grandpa aka my Dad. But shhhhh…don’t tell! This was the second year that my dad stealthily sneaked away from the rest of the family during our Christmas festivities to slip on jolly ol’ St. Nick’s white beard and red suit and deliver a few presents that he “accidentally left behind at the North Pole during his Christmas Eve deliveries.” He does this with the intention of adding just a little more magic and excitement to his grandchildren’s Christmas.
The kids were giddy and practically busting at the seams with excitement. There was not a single person without a big goofy grin plastered across their face. And while I was busy snapping as many adorable pictures as I possibly could capture I heard my daughter talk to Santa and it made my heart melt but also surprised me a bit. You see, usually a visit with “Santa” (whether he’s the one at the place we got our Christmas tree, or the one at Bushnell Park whom we took our family picture with) requires A LOT of coaxing and encouragement to get the kids to sit within a 5 foot radius of this guy. But THIS Santa was different. Caroline didn’t hesitate one bit to hug him or sit in his lap. And she wasn’t the least bit shy around him. She spoke to him as if he was, well, Grandpa. “Hi Santa! Thank you so much for my presents! I love them!” she squealed. (Of course I was seriously proud of her for thanking Santa for her gifts). At one point she gently touched the sides of his face and stared straight in his eyes. Although I don’t think she realizes “Santa” was actually Grandpa, I do think she feels that THIS Santa was no stranger.
I don’t know how many more Christmas’s we’ll have before Santa’s identity is compromised. But what I do know is that the memories and magic of Santa’s Christmas night visits will stay with my kids forever.