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Getting ready for Christmas

Once I was sure my letter was ready and most of the glue had dried, I moved to Phase 2: Santa’s snack.

Christmas is full of secrets and surprises. I guess that’s what makes it so magical. By Christmas Eve, my kids are ready to burst with excitement and anticipation. They are completely confident that they are on Santa’s “nice” list. They’ve tried so hard to be kind to each other, to eat their vegetables without gagging and to practise the piano without rolling their eyes. I know because I used to be exactly the same way. I wanted that big yellow Barbie camper so bad that I was ready to give up… my entire hotel soap collection for it!

Like my daughters, I would spend hours making a letter for Santa from pictures I cut from the toy section of the Sears Wish Book. I would use the nicest pen I could find to list all the things I wanted, and was careful that my handwriting was so neat that there was no way Santa could ever get it wrong. And before I’d wish Santa the merriest Christmas ever, I’d ask all about the reindeer. Once I was sure my letter was ready and most of the glue had dried, I moved to Phase 2: Santa’s snack.

The snack had to be as thoughtfully and carefully put together as the letter. After all, I had heard my mom say that a way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. So nothing gross like Christmas cake or eggnog would be set out for Santa. He got the really good stuff like my favourite shortbread cookies with the cherries on the top, chocolate milk and some peanuts. Everyone likes peanuts! And then came the hardest part of all… going to bed.

I was sure the numbers on my glowing clock radio were going backwards instead of forwards. The only time the hands on the clock ever moved slower was the last day of school in June. Then, somewhere between counting snores per minute from the neighbouring bedroom and wondering if Santa would get here before his milk got warm, I fell asleep. And 20 minutes later when I rolled over and saw that it was 5:16, I jumped out of bed. IT WAS FINALLY CHRISTMAS MORNING!

What followed was a blizzard of ribbons and bows and gift wrap. The house shook with laughter and shrieks of excitement. And once the debris had all settled I eagerly dug past the plate that was now littered with crumbs and peanut shells, and searched for what was almost as precious to me as my new Barbie camper… a handwritten note from dear Santa himself!! He thanked me for the snack and apologized for not being able to drink ALL of the milk as he had already had a glass next door. He encouraged me to keep practising the piano (wish he would’ve skipped that part!), and commented on the time I shared my favourite markers with my sister (I KNEW he saw that!). He also said he was sorry about the messy handwriting, but it was pretty hard to see in the dark. There was something very familiar in that note, but I loved to read it over and over.

This year as I lie awake on Christmas Eve, counting snores per minute from the pillow next to mine, I will wonder again… how is it that Santa’s handwriting looked so much like my dad’s?

– Jodi Enns writes from Elm Creek, Manitoba

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