I didn’t know Santa was so complicated

Published 12:11am Friday, December 9, 2011

The first official Santa Claus meeting came to order at the Hillyer house this week.

Well, it wasn’t so much an official meeting as it was a conversation that began “So how are we going to deal with Santa Claus?”

For the last few weeks, folks have been telling us that this will be a special Christmas for us: the first year our 2 1/2 year old son “gets” Christmas.

Already this holiday Gibson directs us by the downtown Christmas tree on the way to school and looks for holiday lights on the way home in the dark. He has helped his aunt decorate with candy canes, ornaments and even a stuffed Santa Claus. Even though he doesn’t know who this bearded guy is, he understands that there is something special about him.

My wife and I have enjoyed watching him take it all in.

Still, with Christmas fast approaching, a meeting was called to order to confirm logistics. We had to get our story straight.

You might be asking yourself, what is there to get “straight?”

On Christmas Eve night, Santa packs his sleigh with toys. He flies around the world, stops in Natchez, comes down the chimney and leaves presents under the tree for Gibson to find on Christmas morning.

Simple. Right?

Not quite.

I always thought Santa delivered presents exactly the same way to all children’s houses.

In order to make sure he could tell whose toys were whose in our three-child family, Santa color coded packages by wrapping each child’s toys in a different paper. According to my mother, that ensured that the elves in the North Pole could keep all the presents for each child separate and organized.

At seven years old, I thought it was a genius move on Santa’s part — and just one of the many way he was able to deliver so many toys around the world. It never occurred to me that Santa delivered presents in a completely different fashion to other children — like my wife’s family, for example.

Evidently in her Natchez home, Santa didn’t wrap presents.

Instead, my wife and her brother would find their toys neatly piled — unwrapped — on either side of three.

Get this. Many times Santa would leave my wife’s family a separate gift beside the empty plate of cookies and empty glass Santa left behind. Santa never left a family gift in my house.

It is a good thing I never got a whiff of Santa’s unwrapped presents and favoritism toward some families as a kid. If I had, I think I would have become a serious doubter.

As an adult, I know that Santa delivers presents differently for all children. In recent years, I have met parents who tell me that Santa only leaves three presents for their children each year — the same number of gifts Jesus received in the manger.

Other families tell of Santa hiding a special ornament in the tree each Christmas. The first in the family to find it received a special gift from the North Pole.

After the first official Santa Claus meeting was adjourned, it was still unclear what traditions our family will observe. Of course, only Santa Claus knows and we will have to wait to find out.

 

Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.

 

  • Anonymous

    I’M THINKING HOW GREAT IT WAS TO SEE THE KIDS TEAR INTO THOSE PRESENT. IT SEEMS LIKE WHEN THE KIDS LEFT HOME, XMAS LEFT WITH THEM. I WATCH THE GRANDKIDS TEAR INTO THOSE PRESIDENT NOW. IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I WOULDN’T HESITATE. WHAT FUN IT WAS.

  • Anonymous

    BEN, cute story and you will get it together one of the Christmas, but don’t let too many pass before you do. My greatgrandchilren talks about family traditions that they want to see when they come to my house.  

  • Anonymous

    “Instead, my wife and her brother would find their toys neatly piled — unwrapped — on either side of three.”

    That’s how it was at our house as well.

    I’m right there with you.  This is our first Christmas where the little one gets it.  Funny, only the top half of the tree has candy canes now.

  • Anonymous

    I STILL ENJOY;;OPPENING MY PRESIDENTS;;.

  • vilou09

    Me: two!!

  • Wilma Arnold

    I come from a big family therefore we never had many presents, that is until that special day came when we would get on our church clothes  and go to town to the poor children Christmas tree. we would be so happy and excited because we knew Santa Clause  always left our presents there. when each childs name was called, you would go up front and get your gifts in a carry home bag. Those were wonderful memories for all my brothers and sisters . Inside the bag was one orange, one apple, one toy and a handful of candy, this was more than we would get at home. we had loving parents but a big family and poor. As I look at all my children , grandchildren and great grandchildren at Christmas unwraping so many expensive presents, I think back to my Christmas in Natchez and the good people who made my brother and sisters , and myself so happy at Christmas time. Thank you, Natchez.