Santa Suit" - By Matthew Campbell (Exclusive to Santa.CC)
It was 3:00 am Christmas
morning, and I heard noise coming from downstairs by the Christmas
tree. My wife, Holly, was in bed dreaming the night away, and
the kids were sound asleep; no doubt full of anxiety anticipating
waking on Christmas. I could only wonder as I snuck down stairs
to see what the source of the noise that disturbed my sleep could
be. I was anxious and a little scared. At this point in my life
I wasn't thinking it could be Santa. I was thinking of the safety
of my family.
lightly down the stairs, as the wall lit up from streaming of
Christmas lights flickering circular around the tree, I hugged
the wall, as if that hid me from any possible intruder. When I
got to the bottom of the stairs, back against the wall, as I slid
slowly toward the divider between the living and dining rooms,
the noise disappeared. Whoever it was must have heard me coming
and now lay in wait behind this wall ready to tackle me and run.
I peaked slowly around the wall, scanned the room, and saw no
one. Bravely I inspected the area to look for evidence of an intrusion.
Among the myriad of
colorfully wrapped Christmas presents and decorations, animated
characters, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a few elves, reindeer, and entire
town, idyllic in beauty in it's Christmas setting, encircled by
a train carrying boxcars of Christmas presents, driven by Saint
Nick himself, I walked with curious eyes, lost for a moment in
Christmas magic forgetting I was looking for something suspicious.
Just then I saw it
at the foot of the mantle of our fire place. A Santa suit, neatly
folded, with a small note on top, creased over and addressed to
me: To Matthew. I held the suit to my nose and smelled
deeply, hoping to smell a clue I guess, so I lay it down to read
the note left with my name.
can no longer live the role of Santa Clause. I am entrusting you
with my Santa suit.
I knew I had gained
some weight over the past couple of years, and my wife and friends
even joked about it at Thanksgiving dinner laughing about how
I should be Santa Claus this year, but this was absurd and maybe
taking a bit too far. I did see the humor in it, but couldn't
help thinking though that none of them were responsible for this
suit at the foot of our fireplace. It was all surreal and unreal
all at once.
Holding this Santa
suit tightly to my chest in the mist of the magical Christmas
scene I created in my own home I wondered back to the memory of
my father. He passed away in his sleep ten years ago on Christmas
Eve. Every year prior to his passing we would pretend to the kids
wondering where Grandpa was, and why he wasn't here for Christmas.
We would work them all up, as they became curiously concerned,
and then the door bell would ring.
Grandpa, in a completely
ornate and meticulously pieced together Santa suit and red sack
over his shoulder, would come boisterous and jolly through the
door spreading merry cheer and laughter, handing out small gifts
to the adults as he walked through the crowd of our family, grabbing
the hands of the children saying Merry Christmas little one,
Merry Christmas.Ho Ho Ho! Then he
would sit himself in the rocking chair that all the adults knew
to keep empty for him, and he would plop his sack of presents
in from of him and slowly rummage through the contents, all the
while peering his eyes around the crowd, enticing anticipation
from adults and kids alike. He then held the chosen present close
to his eyes, inspecting it for a moment, pretending to squint,
finally calling the name of the first lucky kid in the room.
Everyone would cheer
and laugh, as each child eagerly made their way through the adults
and other children to their place on grandpa's lap. My father
was very thorough in his plans, asking all the parents months
in advance what the most important gift on each child's list was,
so when he asked them, and what would you like for Christmas
little one, they would be blown away when they unwrapped the
exact gift that they just told Santa they wanted more than anything
in the world.
This charade of dad's
never failed to draw tears from my eyes, especially when my own
boys Aidan and Owen had their turn, smiling and laughing and full
of sincere joy. Our oldest son Tyler, in on the big secret by
now, would play along thanking Santa for an iTunes card or some
other gift that he and dad discussed weeks earlier.
Dad always saved Juliana,
our baby girl, for last. He would dig through the almost empty
bag wondering, out loud, if he had just one more present. Juliana
was six when grandpa died after his last night as Santa, so she
had caught on, though she still looked a bit nervous, as her smile
slowly widened as each tense moment passed. Then my father, grandpa,
and Santa all-in-one would hold out his last present and call
her name, Juliana, and her big blue eyes would widen and
brighten up the room, as she ran to his lap and into his heart.
As I woke from my memories
and back to my situation, only moments ago thinking an intruder
was among us, it came to me what was going on. I sensed her behind
me, knowing why she did it, and the thoughtfulness that went into
her plan. Only I couldn't figure out where the noise I was suspicious
of came from, because she was supposedly sound asleep next to
me in bed when I walked down the stairs.
I turned around and
saw her smiling the way she smiles at me when I know she loves
me. She said "Don't you think it's time you take your place as
Santa for this family?"
I held the Santa suit
to my nose and breathed in. I felt the softness on my cheek. It
reminded me of dad. I looked up, and Tyler popped out from around
the corner. He put his arm around his mother and said "sorry for
being so noisy dad," with a smile bursting at his cheeks. "Put
it on dad.I mean Santa. Put the Santa suit on." So I did. I put
the Santa suit on every Christmas now and play the role my father
perfected and left for me.
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