Holiday Memories: Grandpa got lost
Christmas for the Warn family was always the event of the year with presents piled so high around the tree that you couldn’t see the tree and more food than we could possibly eat. But the highlight of the evening was always the arrival of Santa Claus.
After dinner the women would retreat to the kitchen to clean up. Everyone else would scramble to the living room to claim their seat for the big event. Anxiety would set in as we waited – were we good enough this year to receive a gift? We were certainly going to be good for the next half hour. Eeryone would talk in hushed tones as they waited. If you listened closely, you could hear Santa’s bells as he made his way around the outside of the house.
When Santa arrived, he really knew how to make a grand entrance with bells ringing and bellowing his ho, ho, hos so that they filled the room. He would make his way around the room shaking hands and greeting everyone, set down his bag and get ready to pass out the gifts. One by one he’d call out our names and we would go forward. He’d ask us a question or ask us to sing a Christmas song for him before he’d give us our gift. His glasses would fog up so he couldn’t read the names and Grandma Warn would fuss over him, once having to help him pull up his pants because he forgot to tie them tight.
Usually there was not enough room in Santa’s bag for all the gifts and we would agonize while he went to his “sleigh” to reload. But no one was ever left out, and when he finished, Santa would make his way around the room again making as grand an exit as he did when he arrived.
At least that was the way it was supposed to happen.
The year after I found out that Santa was Grandpa Warn, there was a slight mishap – “Santa” had a little too much to drink with dinner and was nowhere to be found. The dishes were done and Santa had not arrived, and Grandma Warn was starting to panic. Finally, someone called a friend who had a Santa suit and asked if he could come over and play the part. When he arrived, he made his entrance, passed out candy and left before anyone could fill him in on the routine. There were some very confused children when they were told that he was Santa’s helper and the real Santa was running late. Soon Grandpa was found, shoved into his suit, and loaded up with the gifts. Grandma had to do some real fussing over Santa that year, and I was recruited as Santa’s helper to read names on the gifts, but we got him through it, and everyone had a Christmas they would never forget.