I remember a Christmas ....
.... actually two Christmases .... about my kids. The first was when my son was about 3 or 4. We had tucked a big item into the back of our closet with several things in front to hide it. Scott wanted so badly to have a suction cup combo set that came with a pistol, a rifle and a blow gun that shot soft suction cup darts at a target. The target was the big part. As I recall, it was as tall as he was and stood on a stand. The target couldn't be disassembled for easy storage.
It was just a day or two before Christmas, and my sister and her family as well as my parents were visiting. Scott came strutting out of the hall into the living room with a self satisfied grin and announced that he knew what he was getting for Christmas. We thought he was guessing and asked him what and he told us about the find in our closet. I was not amused. We didn't have much time to exchange it, and that was his "big gift," the one that Santa would have left.
We told Scott that it was unfortunate that he had snooped around. Now it was going back to the store, and goodness knows what Santa would think of his behavior. Oh.... my.... gawd! You would think we had pulled all his baby teeth from his little mouth at one time! He wailed and screamed and cried crocodile tears, promised to be good, threatened to run away, the whole exhaustive routine! But his daddy carried it to the car and drove off.
And we both felt like dying. It was mean to do that, yet to preserve the ideal of Santa, what choice did we have? We didn't have the money to buy a replacement gift. We talked with my parents and my sis and brother-in-law, and came up with a plan.
After Scott went to bed on Christmas Eve, a rather sad and quiet boy. He had spent the remaining time being very compliant and apologetic. My sister wrote a note so Scott wouldn't recognize our handwriting, and it was attached to the target. It said something like "Dear Scott, Here is the target you asked for. I hear your mommy and daddy got one for you, and that you went snooping and found it hidden. That's too bad, and I hope you will never do that again. I know you're not a bad boy, and I think you've learned your lesson about snooping at Christmas time. I think your parents won't mind if I bring you one. Love, Santa."
Scott was a very happy little guy, and he promised his daddy and me that he would never do that again. I don't think he did.
A few years later, and my daughter was at the age of struggling with the concept of Santa Claus. She was probably about 9 or 10. Her friends were saying there wasn't a Santa, but she was hanging in there, hating to give up such a wondrous belief. She was probably leaning in the direction of not actually believing, but not wanting to blow a good thing!
My husband's aunt and uncle were usually gone at Christmas time. They spent winters in South Texas at that time. For some reason, Uncle Mac decided he wanted to wait and leave after Christmas that year, and they were coming to spent the day with us. Aunt Quin was delighted. Her sister, my mother-in-law, was with us every Christmas, and it would be the first time they'd been together for the holiday in many years. It would be a great year for all of us!
We went to bed late, as parents always do on Christmas Eve. The next morning, Uncle Mac was so excited that he got Aunt Quin up very early. Upon arriving at our house sometime around 5:30, I think, Mac took a rack of big sleigh bells and ran all around the outside of our house, ringing the bells and shouting "HO, HO, HO!!!" It took a long time to wake us up. He had given up and was almost to ring the doorbell when my hub went to the door to see what idiot was making noise!
Meanwhile, Terri had wakened, but when she heard the bells and ho-hos, she was afraid to get out of bed, because Santa might go away and never come back! She ducked under the covers and tried really hard to go back to sleep! She couldn't, of course, but she was certainly hoping that Santa didn't know it .... remember, the song tells us "He knows if you're awake"!!! Finally, to her relief, the noise stopped and she knew he was gone. She just hoped she hadn't blown it!
We adults thought the celebration that morning went well, happy, but nothing out of the ordinary. Terri, of course, knew that it went splendidly! She had saved the day, convincing Santa that she was still asleep like she should be, as witnessed by the plethora of gifts from the jolly old guy under the tree.
It wasn't till years later that we all pieced the details together. We didn't know she heard Santa, and she didn't know Uncle Mac had bells. Terri went to school and smirked at her friends as she told them about hearing Santa's jolly laugh and the reindeer's bells. Her belief passed the usual age by a long shot.