Founder’s Forum: Our Christmas Eve Adventure

JB Lester Santa

By J.B. Lester

On the night of December 24th, 1959, I squirmed and wiggled shaking the bunk bed. “Hey, Jimmy, are you awake?” My brother Bill asked from the bed below me. “I can’t sleep,” I answered. “I am too excited about Christmas.” I kicked off my covers and carefully climbed down the ladder. “Let’s sneak down and check out all the presents,” I said to my brother who now sat up on the edge of his bed. Without answering, knowing that too much chatter might alert our parents, my big brother and I sneaked out our bedroom door and down the squeaky staircase. We cringed with every squeak, fearful that the wooden steps would betray us. A few moments later, we were in the living room staring at the Christmas tree and the mountain of presents placed ever so neatly at the foot of the Scotch pine. The tree gleamed and sparkled with multicolored lights and silver tinsel. Cranberries and popcorn we had strung with our mother, were draped artfully on the branches. Our dog Ringo came into the room to greet us from his slumber on the sleeping porch. I am sure he was wondering what we were doing up at this hour. I always wondered why Ringo didn’t bark at Santa’s arrival, but then just figured Santa must be all things wonderful to all living creatures. And besides, he always put something in Ringo’s stocking hanging alongside the others on the mantle over the fireplace. My brother and I looked at each other with mischievous smiles as we approached the colorfully wrapped gifts. We knew we had to be quiet as church mice or Christmas wouldn’t end up so cheerful. Bill went over and found a gift with his name on it. He gave it a shake. “Clothes”, he said and put it back down. The presents that didn’t rattle were always clothes. I found one with my name on it and gave it a shake. There was a rattle. I smiled broadly, must be a toy. This went on for ten minutes or so. My feeling of guilt was overcome with pure joy. My brother went over and took a bite of a cookie on a plate. “Hey, those are for Santa,” I whispered. “He already had his,” Bill answered. “Remember, we put three down here and I am just eating the leftovers.” Ringo quickly ate up the crumbs Bill dropped on the carpet. We knew it was time to head back upstairs now that our secret Christmas Eve adventure was complete. I wanted to look in my stocking, but thought better of it, knowing that I had to leave some excitement for Christmas morning. We sneaked back up the stairs, stopping once or twice as my dad’s snoring stopped and then restarted. Ringo followed up and joined my brother in his bed. We giggled a bit before we fell asleep. We knew what we did was wrong, but there was something so exciting about our Christmas Eve adventure. It was easier to fall asleep now. We made this a Christmas Eve tradition for a couple more years until my older brother became a teenager and just didn’t want to do it anymore. And I didn’t want to sneak around by myself. I guess I was afraid I might get caught by my parents, or worse, come face to face with Santa Claus!