google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Year Santa Came to Town | The Armchair Genealogist

The Year Santa Came to Town

The morning was cold and crisp. My Mom was in the kitchen stuffing the bird, Dad was frying up the eggs for Christmas morning brunch. I was setting the table. My brothers and sisters were all lurking about. It was Christmas morning 1981, I was 18 years old, and my younger brother had turned 16 that summer. In the months leading up to Christmas Day, my brother had taken great enjoyment in teasing my parents about wanting a car for Christmas. With 6 children in the house we knew this wasn't remotely possible. He would have to endure taking his turn driving the green Mercury station wagon complete with wood paneling. My brother either out of fun or desperation played the game right to the very end.

Christmas morning that year was much like the many before, steeped in tradition. Our Christmas had began the night before with Christmas Eve mass. Regardless of our late night, we always manage to start the day early. We began by unloading our stockings from Santa. My mother was still honoring the magic of Santa Claus since my youngest sisters were just 12 at the time. I’m sure the gig was up but no one dared say anything for my mother’s sake. The morning proceeded with brunch and then we would undress the tree. My mother never liked us to rush the day.

While she was finishing preparing the turkey, my brother began his banter about a car from Santa. He even went so far as to go to the front door to see if it was parked in the driveway. He opened the door and his eyes caught the attention of a package on the porch. There nestled up against the side of the house, wrapped in red Christmas paper was a present. A simple white envelope laid on top of the wrapped box, it read ‘The Kowalsky Family.’

We were all in a little bit shock when my mother opened the card. It was a simple Christmas card one that you could buy at any card shop, it was signed Santa Claus. Questions began to fly. What an exciting morning as the quest began to uncover the identity of our Santa. Phone calls to various family and friends were placed. However, everyone denied any involvement. Believing this was a one-time gift we left it alone. No one was going to own up to it. While I can recall the details of the morning most vividly, I cannot tell you what was in the box. It didn’t matter. The gesture was exciting enough.

The next Christmas another gift arrived and we began the investigation all over again. Still we could not unravel the identity of our mystery Santa.

For the next 30 years we have gathered together on Christmas day and each year a gift has arrived from our Santa Claus. That small gift, the magic of it appearing out of nowhere, a simple card signed Santa Claus creates in us a sense of wonder and excitement. The same feeling you cherish from the first Christmas you can recall of your childhood, the magic we all try to create each year for our own families.

For our family, Santa Claus is not something that is reserved for the young, nor is he a fictional character. I have been experiencing the spirit of Santa Claus along with the rest of my family for over 30 years. The gifts have arrived in various forms, some left on front door steps, some gifts have arrived by taxi, some were left at the back of the church on Christmas Eve, others delivered by a Santa-for-hire. We even moved one year, Santa followed us. The contents of the box never really matters. The arrival of the gift, the card with his signature are all we need to bring us back to the wonder of a child on Christmas morning.

After the first couple of years the questions and investigations stopped. We acknowledged and respected the gifts with the intentions with which they were given. His identity no longer became our quest. We gracefully accepted the gifts as they were meant to be with no expectation or reciprocation.

Each year when we gather on Christmas Day and one at time as we arrive, my mother will hand us the card and show us the gift. For those few moments we ponder our Secret Santa, appreciate his years of service to our family and his contribution to keeping the spirit of Christmas alive long after our childhood years have passed.

To all my readers I wish you a very Merry Christmas, may your day be filled with magic and wonder! 


Cheri Hudson Passey said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! Merry Christmas to you!

Linda Gartz said...

A giver of gifts who expects no direct thanks or even acknowledgment -- gift giving from the heart. Merry Christmas to you, too, Lynn, and a wonderful 2013.

Mariann Regan said...

Oh, that is a lovely story. The creation of Santa -- so simple a trick, but some profound magic. I'm glad that you never found out who did it. Just when the children were getting too old to "believe," someone produced another mystery.

My hubs told our kids, when they began to get suspicious, that no one in our house was allowed to question the existence of Santa Claus. So no one did, and it was better that way. Our Santa Claus would play a new prank every year, like leaving his footprints in the powdered sugar from his cookies. And sometimes he wrote a thank-you-for-the-snack letter in shivery North Pole handwriting. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) enjoyed writing such letters, and they are collected in "The Father Christmas Letters."

Alison McIntyre said...

One Christmas Eve afternoon as I was going through the box of possible presents for our two small children I realized that there was far too much for them to open the next morning. Throughout the year when I saw something on sale that I knew that they would soon need, or a toy or game that I thought they might soon be ready for I would buy it and put in away in a big box. I would then get out the things that were appropriate for birthdays or Christmas.
I had made them matching pajamas for Christmas so I put the pajamas in a box with a note “For Visions of Sugarplums” and left it on the coffee table. When it was discovered we read the note. I said “Oh, the Sugarplum Fairy must have left it.” For a spur of the moment idea it was brilliant! There was no problem getting them ready for bed, and they were ready for Christmas morning pictures.
This became a Christmas Eve tradition. Sometimes the doorbell would ring and the box would be the only thing there. Sometimes the box would be at the door when we came home from the Christmas Eve service. Eventually the children realized that I was always the last one there to get to the door (out of breath and with wet feet.)
There came a time when pajamas no longer worked well. After a few years of fumbling around looking for an alternative I realized that one of the things we all liked to do was eat. After that the Sugarplum Fairy left a baguette, several pounds of cheese, and a bottle of wine for fondue.
When our children married and started their own families they continued the tradition. Last year I was telling my granddaughter, now 22, how the tradition got started. She said “I always wondered why none of my friends knew about the Sugarplum Fairy”.I just replied to an e-mail from one of our daughters for a fondue recipe