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.

 

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It’s (Finally) Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

There’s a little winery in way East Texas that I discovered at a wine festival and loved. They are several hours away from my town and so small that they don’t ship. About halfway between here and there is a much larger winery that I also love. This one has a wine club, which I joined. That winery had my distribution ready to pick up.

The small winery is only open noon-7 Thurs through Sat so it’s nearly impossible for me to get to except on Saturdays. So… last Saturday, I planned a road trip. We’d drive to the small one first to get there before they close (youth basketball games prevented an early departure). We’d then pick up my distribution at the larger one on our way back.

The trip was almost cancelled when some accidental injuries and miscommunication caused a major full-family meltdown at departure time. We managed to resolve it in time and my husband and I hit the road.

At home were our three kids plus Jane’s sixteen year old boyfriend. We had several rules: eat dinner, Jane and boyfriend aren’t to be in Jane’s room at all – even with the door open, Jane’s boyfriend has to leave when the boys start getting ready for bed, stay in touch with us. That sort of thing. That was it though. No expectations.

What I came home to blew my mind.

The Christmas tree, which had still been in the attic in its box when we left the house, was fully assembled in a corner of the living room – complete with lights and ornaments. The stockings were hung on the wall. At least three manger scenes were assembled around the house. A Christmas hand towel hung on the oven door handle. Elves hung from all the bedroom doors, and some special little Christmas trees were scattered about. The boxes and tubs for it all had been tucked away in a back room.

I was in awe.

I love my kids. I’ve been so busy and so tired with no free time to prepare for Christmas. I was feeling bad about the delay yet wasn’t looking forward to the hassle of decorating. They did such a beautiful job. Now if I could just get the shopping done and the presents wrapped…