|Creative Commons, courtesy of Joseph Jayanth|
Our mom woke us up from our sugarplum-enhanced dreams. "Quick, get up! Santa is here!"
We ran out of our bedrooms, clad in our new pajamas. Still groggy from sleep, we stumbled to the storm door and saw the red-suited man himself, standing on our stoop.
He turned toward the door and waved. His face was bathed in the glow of the Christmas lights my dad had strung along the roofline and the lights wrapped around the shrubs that fronted the house.
Eager to complete his scheduled deliveries, he had no time to stop and chat with us.
I couldn't believe our luck! We got to see the real deal Santa! He was clad in the finest red suit, and his beard was truly as white as the snow.
Our mom shepherded us back to our beds...and we stumbled right past the lighted Christmas tree in the living room - and never saw any of our presents that were already piled 'neath the tree.
Surprisingly, we both fell right back to sleep - but we remembered seeing Santa Claus when we awoke early Christmas morning. The half-empty glass of milk and missing cookies were additional proof that the jolly old elf had been to our house.
Years later, when my brother and I had left the innocence of childhood (and the magic of Christmas) behind, Mom told me that Mr. Dinatti, our neighbor from down the street, was the man inside the suit.
I'm sure she made that part up...she couldn't fool me - it was Santa waving at us that night, I'm sure of it, even to this day.
May all of you rediscover and retain the wonder and magic of Christmas this year.