I’ve heard that Santa is going high tech this year. Parents can actually make arrangements for him to text message their cell phones. He’ll provide travel updates as he journeys toward your home and reassure little ones that, in spite of a paralyzing snowstorm about to hit the Midwest, presents will be delivered on time.
It’s a cute concept, but I see a couple flaws. First of all, the application for the text message service comes with the following caveat: “If your child does not have a phone, have Santa send the text messages to the parents!” Do kids young enough to believe in Santa really carry cell phones of their own? Perhaps they do, in which case you can scratch that particular electronic device off their Christmas lists. Secondly, if I were a kid, I don’t think I’d want Santa a mere keystroke away from Mom and Dad. After all, what’s to keep parents from turning the tables, reporting last minute behavior infractions to the big guy himself?
When my son was little, we employed the latest technology to create a memorable Santa moment. In the end though, it was sheer happenstance that made it magical.
We’d borrowed my dad’s business car on Christmas Eve, for our traditional tour of Christmas lights. We’d arranged with Grandpa to call his car phone about 15 minutes into our drive. Of course, we had set the situation up by telling James to “be on the lookout for Santa! Watch the sky for signs of his sleigh and reindeer!”
When the car phone rang, we could hardly contain our laughter. Santa had his chat with James via speaker phone. Grandpa’s “Ho-ho-ho” was convincing and we were all giddy with pulling off the surprise.
And then we turned the corner. Standing at the curb was a magnificently dressed Santa, reaching inside his car trunk for a sack full of gifts (or finishing a cigarette. I can’t quite recall which). We adults were dumbstruck, but little James simply pointed and called out, “Santa.”
Once I caught my breath, I rolled down the car window and shouted like some lunatic Santa groupy, “Hey Santa, we’ve been driving all over town looking for you. We have a little boy here who’d love to say ‘hello.’”
Santa was nice enough to stick his head in the car window and say all the requisite things: “How old are you James? Have you been a good boy this year? Now go home and get to bed so I can deliver your presents.” Meanwhile, the guy who was waiting for Santa’s grand entrance to his Christmas party, could do nothing but stand there holding his front door open.
It all happened so fast, there was barely time to thank him, let alone slip Santa a tip for his efforts. The party host may have been annoyed but we were ecstatic with our unforeseen Santa sighting. It was pure magic!
This is the quilt I always associate with that Christmas. I'd just made it for James’ third birthday.