The decorations are up, cards sent, presents bought and wrapped. Now only a few days more to go before the man in red drops down your chimney.
That old story always gives me a mixed feeling of giggle and shiver down the spine, for when I was at the tender age of believing the Santa thing, I felt deeply uneasy, okay afraid, that some stranger would come into my home while I slept. All those stories about not talking to strangers obviously had an effect.
Some stranger (for I had never actually met the guy, only some alcohol breathing impostor in a department store who demanded, ‘What d’ye want fae Santa, hen?), dressed in this weird red costume very different from what ordinary folk wore, was intent on finding a way into my house while I slept. Ugh, no way!
My fear wasn’t helped by the fact those without chimneys, lamenting possibly losing out on the general bonanza, were assured this guy with the beery nose and forced cheer in his laugh, would still find a way into their homes.
No-one was specific, but into my mind jumped remembered mutterings and stories about how burglars broke windows, jemmied locks, padded across slate roofs and squeezed through skylights.
I found it difficult to understand why it was all right for a bloke dressed in red, but not for those wearing striped jumpers (that’s what they always wore in the comic strips I saw).
Yes, I know, the fat man with the bushy cotton wool beard came with a heavy sack lugging the things you had wished for all year, and with the promise of which you had been bribed for eleven and a half months to be good; while the skinnymalinkies came with a sack which would bulge once they had removed precious items from rooms in the house…including your bedroom!
I must have been one of the few kids around whose parents had to spill the truth about that nice man Santa, reassuring me that no-one violated our home on Christmas eve, and that they were the ones who piled the presents beneath the tree. Relief. Big smile.
Once that nightmare was banished, I could relax and really enjoy Christmas, adding my own trinkets and drawings to the stockings, crammed with small presents, a tangerine, an apple and a silver sixpence, we always hung on the old wooden clothes airer, realising it was a time for giving and sharing as much as, even more than, receiving. I could hug my parent Santas and appreciate my presents even more.
These days are long gone, and now I enjoy playing Santa to my family. So roll on Christmas morning.
Have a great Christmas everyone, and I hope all your Santas are good to you.