When Does Santa Come?

“Mom, what time does Santa come?”

This question came from my fifteen year old daughter, who is fully cognizant of the true reality of Santa. The question intrigued me.

“He comes after everyone goes to bed,” I replied.

“And what time is he usually done?”

“He tries to be done as early as possible so he can get a good night’s sleep.”

“So like 10 or 11 o’clock?” She probed.

“Yes, but he wouldn’t be happy if children were out and about after the presents and stockings were out.”

“Well, he’s just going to have to be ok with it.”

“What are you wanting to do?”

“I can’t tell you. It’s a surprise.”

“It would make more sense to set an alarm for 5 or 6 than to try to stay up past Santa’s departure.”

“Well, it’s something Daryl wants to do and we thought we’d set an alarm for like midnight or 1:00 because if we waited until morning, Hal might wake up early and ruin it.”

She then proceeded to spill the beans on what Daryl wanted to do, which is a shame because I like surprises and what he has in mind is really sweet. Then again, it’s probably better that I have at least an inkling since there’s no way they could slip out of their rooms and add some decoration in the living room without me waking up.

And movement in the living room during the night before Christmas is a surefire way to get me out of bed.

Of course, this presents me with a dilemma. I do what we call a scavenger hunt on Christmas Day. It’s not really a scavenger hunt, more a series of clues that the kids solve to lead them to the next clue and then eventually to their big gift.

It’s a lot of work to put together and this year, I plan on going big. I wanted to arrange something over the door with a string tied to the doorknob so that when they opened the door, tinsel (and the first clue) would come cascading down on their heads. I’d rather the tinsel not cascade down on their sneaky little heads at 1:00 in the morning.

So now I guess I get to be the one setting an alarm for 5:00 to attempt to install the contraption without waking anyone up. It’s considerably easier to make noise in the hallway without waking people up at the start of their night of sleep, not the end.

This could be trickier than the early-morning-oops-I-forgot tooth fairy money-for-tooth swap. So far, that’s always been successful. Maybe Santa will prove as gifted as his fairy counterpart.


Beer and Grinch Poop

On the way home from our Christmas Eve service tonight, my husband asked the kids what they were going to set out for Santa tonight. We only have one “believer”, but the other two are good at playing along.

“Cookies!” called out Jane.

“Milk!” called out Hal.

“Beer!” called out Jane, recalling a time we had set out a beer for Santa and he had consumed it.

“No!” said Hal. “Santa doesn’t drink beer!”

“Yes he does,” she responded.

“No he doesn’t!”

“Yes he does,” she said again.

Just as I was about to suggest to Jane that maybe it was the G-version Santa visiting us this year instead of the PG-13 one, Hal announced in an annoyed and exasperated tone, “Just because he has a beerd doesn’t mean he drinks beer! Geez, Sissy!”

Everyone laughed and then fell to silence. We drove a little ways farther down the road until Daddy asked, “Why don’t you each set out a different Rice Krispy treat?”

Now, I considered this sneaky indeed. Yesterday, they made regular Rice Krispy treats, plus some chocolate ones and some green ones made with Key Lime marshmallows. He told them they needed to be saved for Christmas day yet he’d been covertly eating the chocolate ones ever since. Now he was fishing for a sanctioned opportunity to consume three more.

They fell for it.

“I’ll set out the chocolate one!” called out Daryl.

“I’ll put out the plain,” said Jane.

“I’ll put out the Grinch Poop one!” finished Hal.