Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

“Guess what? We are going to see the REAL Santa tonight!” I happily exclaimed with enthusiasm (and a dash of hope). She is on the cusp of childhood and disbelief. This is my only chance to reclaim some of it back. Go away all you trolls that steal the magic of Christmas.

In a brief glance, I see the stern look cross her face. The look that says children in 3rd grade have already told her there is no REAL Santa. He doesn’t exist. And if a 3rd grader says it’s true….well, it must be so. Besides that, why would the REAL Santa leave fake plastic jewelry in her stocking last year? Ummm, my bad.

But she smiles and nodds in agreement. I mean…..little sister is watching, right? I see her shoulders shrug ever so slightly.

Thing is…I know something she doesn’t. It is the REAL Santa. The one that knows magic. The one that has the Santa laugh that goes….HoHoHoHoHo.

The one that tells stories and gives big Santa hugs.

Not the “helpers” at the mall. This is the boss. The big man. The one.

He has the twinkle in his his merry eyes. And do you know what?

Click on any photo to display a slideshow of images.

After meeting with the REAL Santa……she believes. She really believes.

……at least for a little longer.

After all, it’s easy to spot the fakes after you meet the real one.
Signs of a fake....

How do I know? Well, because Sydney visited the REAL Santa too. Many times when she was little, and even when she was on the cusp at eight.

Sydney age 3 with Santa
(Sydney with the real Santa – fifteen years ago)

Sydney still knows. He is quite convincing.

© Angelia's Photography

Meeting the real Santa?

Well, it is the best surprise a child can have at Christmas.

For more surprises visit The Daily Post @ WordPress.com for their weekly photo challenge entries.

Making the List

It’s been quite a while since I had little kids on Christmas morning.

For the last several years, Sydney “the typical teenager” sleeps in until 1-2pm. Our reign of Santa ended when she stopped believing, and of course, in recent years her Christmas mornings have been in Mississippi with her dad.

Christmas morning has been just another morning. No joyful moments of waking up before the sun to see what Santa brought. Hey, it happens. Children grow up. The magic grows up with them and that’s the end. Unless…..

You become a step-mom of two little girls ages four and six who still believe in Santa Claus.


Enchantment returns…….and let me tell you something, it is a treasure trove of goodness to have it back.

Christmas Eve in my family was the night you opened EVERY present under the tree that was wrapped. The next morning Santa would leave his unwrapped gifts around the tree.

That was our tradition.

Jason’s family has different traditions. They open everything Christmas morning, including the wrapped Santa presents.

So that is what we did, except I let them open two presents Christmas Eve (in honor of my tradition).

Bridget, age four, has been my absolute favorite this year. She believes in Santa Claus 100%. She takes everything Santa related with absolute gravity. She got shy and nervous when we took her to see the Santa at Santa Land. She wouldn’t even sit on his lap.

When we told her he wouldn’t bring her anything if she didn’t tell him what she wanted. She got brave enough to stand at the edge of the platform nervously wringing her hands and telling him in a loud clear voice her Christmas wishes. It was the sweetest thing to witness that earnest belief in all it’s sincerity.

Because Santa…..is real to a four-year old.

Molly, age 6 (and a HALF), is quite different. She knows the Santas in Santa Land are the “fakes”. But she also knows the real Santa sees EVERYTHING..especially when you are bad. I can not even tell you how great that is. Every mis-behavior is reprimanded with an, “Oh my GOSH, Santa sees you! He is going to bring you NOTHING!” Followed by a look of how could you let Santa down like that.

I mean it works……for a few minutes anyway.

I think that’s part of the magic of Christmas. Santa might not come. He might skip your house. Did you really make the list?

Then, there is my favorite ruse.

“Does he know you are HERE? What if he goes to your mom’s house?!?

I was assured Santa got a very detailed letter explaining where the children would be and on what night. He was making two stops one at dad’s and the next night at mom’s. And, didn’t you know? He sees everything and knows where you are.

Oh yeah.

Santa came!

I had fun this year and fun with the new traditions. Coming from a family that never wrapped Santa presents, I used special Santa wrapping paper. I had Jason go out on Christmas Eve to buy labels to use. They couldn’t be like the other presents, right? I mean, we have a six-year old sniffing out fakes. Let’s be real.

I must say, I was impressed. Jason added an empty milk glass and cookie crumbs along with a letter from Santa, in the same writing as the Santa tags. It was genius. I don’t think I ever got a letter from Santa on Christmas day. Apparently, that is another tradition in their family.

I went to bed more excited than the kids. I couldn’t wait to see their lit up faces and their happy grins. Surprisingly enough, they waited until the sun came up.

Christmas Morning. Upper left, Jason and Molly reading Santa's letter. Lower right, the pile of shredded wrap reaches the height of one of our big dogs. Not sure where little Brownie is...

I woke immediately upon hearing their door open (and I’m a heavy sleeper). I heard them enter the living room with whispered excitement. It was a flat two seconds later that they crashed open the bedroom door.

Dad, dad, dad, dad! Come look!

We didn’t move. They ran back to the living room and we listened. Molly was saying, “Oh MY! Oh MY!” Bridget, I couldn’t quite understand. She was saying something over and over in an excited rush.

What she said?

“We made the list! We made the list! We weren’t too bad!”


Before they could tear the presents to bits, we got up to witness the carnage of my all-day wrapping.

It was brutal. It was savage. It was perfect.

I got many hugs and kisses from both girls. They hugged daddy. They hugged puppies. They even hugged each other.

Those were the happiest children in the world…because? They made the list!

Now, hopefully, they will make the list next year.

Santa is watching….