“Here Comes Santa Claus…”, Book Body Soul’s Guest Post on Mothering in the Middle

Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus
by Lori Pelikan Strobel

 

On the outside of the boxes it says “SANTAS” in bright red letters. The corners of the boxes are reinforced with duct tape, since the contents get a little heavier each year. A musty smell clings to these two hat-sized boxes. Now, however, it’s time for the boxes’ annual unveiling.

Opening the boxes, I touch crumbled tissue paper and old, yellowed newspaper. I unwrap the first one and smile. It is one of the 30 Santas—one for every year my husband and I have been together—that are nestled together for safekeeping. It’s Christmas time and here comes Santa Claus!

When I was newly engaged, my husband and I attended a family friend’s home for an annual Christmas get together. Going to “Mrs. J’s” house was always fun, delicious, and filled with laughter and memories of our childhood. That particular Christmas, I noticed her collection of Santas.

Asking her about the 20 plus Santas of various sizes and shapes, I found out that her husband gave her one for every Christmas, ever since they were engaged. He told me that it was his quest every year to find the perfect Santa for her tabletop collection. I remember both my husband and I remarking how wonderfully thoughtful and special that was.

A few months later, as December approached, my then fiancé handed me a tiny, beautifully wrapped present. He told me it was an early gift and it just couldn’t wait until Christmas.

Carefully unwrapping the present, I smiled and shrieked, “It’s a Santa!”

He replied, “The first of many.”

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So now I have 30 Santas sitting on my foyer table. Every year, not only do I look forward to my Santa, but so do my children. Every Christmas they love to hear the story of how all of the Santas began. They look on the bottom of each Santa to see where my husband has written the year it was given.

I hear my oldest daughter exclaim, “Oh this was the year I was born,” as she looks at the Santa with a little girl standing next to him.

I also hear my younger daughter laugh as she picks up the talking Santa where my husband has recorded his voice. She presses the button and we hear my husband speak in a very deep voice and say, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas, girls! I love you. Ho! Ho! Ho!”

I point and laugh to the Santa that was supposed to be part of a salt and pepper set. I only got the salt Santa that year because it was the first year we had two children for Christmas and life was a busy mess. In the rush of getting the annual Santa, at the very last moment that year, he picked up the display item and purchased that. Racing back home to a crazy, crying-baby household and an exhausted, crying, crazy wife, I was presented with the saltshaker Santa, without pepper Santa. Unraveling that lone salt Santa every year brings out the story and peals of laughter from me and my daughters, since we can only imagine the stress that my husband went through that year trying to be a good dad and husband.

Somehow I feel that the type of Santa I get each year reflects our current life status. The first few years of marriage, I received beautiful Goebel Hummel Santa figurines. I definitely think this reflected our no kids, both working situation. Over the years, I received Santas made of porcelain, glass, clay, wood, wax, plastic, rubber, cloth, and fine china. There are Santas that stand-alone, and Santas with reindeer, Christmas trees, toys or elves.

This year, my family friend, “Mrs. J” received her 52nd Santa. My brother just gave his wife her 23rd Santa. In receiving my 30th Santa this year, I actually got a salt and pepper set … and I got both of them! It must be a reflection on the fact that both of our babies are grown up and we have time to think clearly now.

Merry Christmas, and you’d better be good because here comes Santa Claus!

You can find more musings from Lori at www.bookbodysoul.com

 

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4 Responses to ““Here Comes Santa Claus…”, Book Body Soul’s Guest Post on Mothering in the Middle”

  1. Dorinda says:

    This is truly a tender and moving reflection on a most special and meaningful ritual. It is filled with love . Merry Christmas. I believe.

  2. Brenda says:

    Beautiful story Lori!

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