This year has been a great year for kids and Santa. 4 and 3 is a good age for believing and understanding that there is something exciting going on. They’ve picked up a lot about Santa from their preschool friends and the various Christmas books we have.* Seamus asked if Santa can see him all the time. That was the one thing I really tried to clear up, because, creepy!

Every year Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department does a Santa Truck, where they decorate a fire truck, play music, run the lights, have a Santa on top of the truck, and drive it around the streets of the city. We missed it this year because we were out of town, but luckily we caught it another night. We went out for a Christmas walk to see if we could find the fire truck. It was only a few streets over from us, and the truck had stopped so Santa could visit with all the kids. There was a huge crowd, and we weren’t sure what was going on, so we watched a while, then we walked on. Gilbert really wanted to walk back to see the truck again and to see Santa, and Seamus wanted to go home. We crossed the street, and Seamus pitched a tantrum about holding my hand. When he continued to act up, Patrick said, “It’s time for you to go home.” So they went home, and G and I went to see if Santa was still around. When we got there, most of the group was leaving, but they said, “Are there any more kids who want to see Santa?” Gilbert stepped forward, and very carefully told Santa he would like a “yo yo” for Christmas. Santa, looking to me for a nod, said he had lots of yo-yos and could probably manage one for Gilbert for Christmas.

When we got home, Seamus was coloring and calm. Gilbert said that he’d seen Santa and asked for a yo-yo. Seamus said, “Oh no. How will Santa know I want a yo-yo for Christmas too?!” We suggested he write a note, but he eschewed the idea until a couple of days later when he decided he’d better hedge his bets. I wrote it out for him and then he copied it onto his own piece of paper: “Dear Santa, I would like a yo-yo. Love, Seamus”

Last night, they were really excited to leave something for Santa to snack on, and Seamus wanted to make sure he left his note next to the snack. They thought a long time about what Santa would like. I really didn’t want to make cookies, so we steered them toward something different. Patrick said, “What if Santa gets gut shot from eating too many cookies and can’t continue to deliver presents?” They took this very seriously and decided that they should leave Santa two clementines. As for what to drink, they worried that tea would get cold, and milk would get warm, so water was the only logical choice. P and I ate the clementines and left the peels in the bowls, and I drank all but a gulp of the water. When they got up in the morning, even before the presents, they wanted to see if Santa had eaten his snack! When Gilbert saw that there was a little water left, he drank the rest, but Seamus wanted to know why Santa hadn’t drunk all the water. He thought maybe he didn’t want to have to unbuckle his suit if he drank too much. (Last night he also wanted to know why reindeer land on the roof and not on the ground, because it would be easier to go to the door.)

They were pretty excited about the presents Santa left them, but they had more fun unwrapping than I expected them to. If I’d known that was going to be the big thrill, I would have wrapped everything, but I remember my own childhood when most of the Santa stuff wasn’t wrapped, and figured that would be fine. At one point today, Seamus was quietly looking at his books in his bed and Gilbert was playing with his farm animals and Patrick and I were having lunch. It was fine that the presents were left unwrapped, ultimately, because they’ve played themselves out today and are going down for a much needed nap right now. It’s the best Christmas since I was a kid.

*How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, Olive the Other Reindeer, Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia!, The Night Before Christmas, maybe another, but these are the favorites.


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