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Column

The red suit incident

I’m a big fan of Santa Claus. True Believer. I have been since I can remember. The day Santa stopped bringing me a Christmas stocking at my mom’s house was a tragic one. I still have hopes every year that, maybe, just maybe, this year if I’m really good, I will wake up and Santa will have brought me something. I’m not saying I do altruistic things throughout the year because of Santa Claus, but I’m also not saying I don’t.

I think my love of Santa is because of my mom. She makes a pretty big deal about Christmas every year. Her decorations are amazing. Her Christmas cookies? Delicacies. The woman is practically a snow angel. December first would hit and our little country house would transform into a winter wonderland with my mama sprinkling Christmas magic at every twist and turn. There isn’t a Christmas movie I haven’t seen, and you can bet your bottom dollar I know the lyrics to the “Heat Miser” song. Yep. He’s mister hundred and one.

One particular year my mom out did herself. In 1983, and I honestly don’t know how she did it folks, but my mom, Christina Kringle herself, managed to get Santa Claus to come to our house on Christmas Eve.

I know what you are saying. “Um. Kelly, that happens to every good little Christian child on Christmas Eve.” But this was different, I tell you! This was happening before the wee hours of the morning. Like, before regular delivery hours.

I don’t know about you, but Santa Claus comes at, like, 3 a.m. at our house, because for some reason, my kids won’t go to bed at a normal and decent time on Christmas Eve. (If you can figure out how to make that happen, please spend some time counseling with me. Anyway…)

I remember lying in wait and hearing sleigh bells. SLEIGH BELLS. We lived in the 1980s, not the 1880s. We did not have sleigh bells. We had cars. My mom came into my bedroom, where she had tucked me in earlier.

There I was, all snuggled in with my Holly Hobby blanket, gleefully awaiting sleep – visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. I naturally pretended to be dreaming. I tossed in a snore, just to make it seem real. She tiptoed up to my bed and gently touched my shoulder, whispering, “Kelly.” I didn’t answer. I had to make it believable.

“Kelly,” she said even louder.

So I stretched and replied, “What?” Kind of in a groggy way to make sure she bought it. And she said words I never thought she would utter: “Santa is here.”

I basically screamed, “WHAT!?”

I jumped up and shot out of that bed so fast that my little feet barely touched our hardwood floors (which is good because my room wasn’t heated and those floors were cold). Before my mom could say anything to me about Santa protocol, I grabbed the door knob and yanked it open.

I remember seeing our beautiful tree. And red. A red suit.

And that’s all I saw because I fainted.

The biggest moment of my little life and I fainted. Red Suit. Possibly a black belt buckle. And then, nothing. Black out.

To this day my mom won’t tell me anything else about it. I’ve asked and asked: “Mom, will you tell me who it was? Who came to the house and dressed up as Santa?”

And she just says, “Kelly Frances, it was Santa…and you blew it.”

It’s one of my life’s greatest tragedies.

My moment with the man in the red suit was within my grasp, and I got all flustered and fainted.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go write another letter to Santa. Perhaps he hasn’t left me a stocking these last twenty plus years because he’s afraid I’ll pass out?

Dear Santa ...

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