44. Santa’s Secret GPS

44. Santa’s Secret GPS

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Santa’s Secret GPS

They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart.

~Charles W. Howard

“How will Santa ever find me?” I leaned the tip of my nose against the cold pane of glass as I watched the lacy snowflakes dancing in the wind. I felt heartbroken.

In September, my parents had split, and now I was living with my mother and brother in an apartment building. The house we once lived in as a family was an old brick two-story with a fat chimney on the roof and a fireplace in the living room. It was the perfect accommodation for Santa.

However, not only had I forgotten to include my new return address when I’d written my annual Christmas letter and wish list to jolly Saint Nick, I’d also completely overlooked the fact that there was no chimney on top of our four-floor apartment building. Instead there were several tall TV antennae on the roof. Their presence made me pray Rudolph would be able to keep the sleigh and reindeer flying high enough through the sky to avoid getting caught up in them.

With a heavy heart, I pressed another Christmas stencil to the glass and carefully sprayed the artificial snow between the lines to create the image of a sled. Now my window was complete with a tree, a star, a bell and a sled. But when I went to bed that night, I fell into a restless sleep, still so very worried that this would be the year Santa would not visit.

The next day was Christmas Eve. My brother was very excited and his energy was running high. I could practically see the sparks as he bounced excitedly on the kitchen chair and talked a blue streak.

Our apartment was decorated with festive Christmas things and we had a real Christmas tree in the living room. It was beautiful and every time I passed by, I would inhale the fresh outdoor scent. To me it smelled of winter and Christmas together—the most special aroma of all. My favourite moment of the day was when my mother turned on the fairy lights in the evening and the colours twinkled throughout the room. Truly a splendid sight!

Seeing my brother’s inability to contain himself, my mother suggested we dress warmly and go outside to play. In our tradition, Christmas was celebrated on December 24th and Santa always managed to deliver the gifts while everyone was enjoying Christmas Eve dinner.

Instead of feeling excitement like my brother, I only felt my nerves eating away at me. Since he was younger, I dared not tell him my fear. I could just envision how his face would crumple and how he would cry. Then, no doubt, he’d run to our mother and be inconsolable and then it would be me who would be responsible for ruining Christmas.

While we played out in the snow, I knew Mom was busy preparing a delicious meal and that my grandparents and other family members would be arriving shortly. My mouth started to salivate as I thought of the delicious food she was making for us, but my stomach began to churn as I realized I would be far too on edge to even eat a bite, knowing that once we were done, there would be nothing to look forward to afterward.

We finally went back inside, changed into our good clothes and the guests began to arrive. Mom had a bowl of her homemade eggnog and was ladling out cups for everyone. For the grown-ups, she would add a splash of rum. After we had greeted everyone and posed for the annual photos taken in front of the tree, Mom told us to go into our rooms for a bit until dinner was ready. However, not more than a few moments later, she called us. There’d been a knock at the door.

Coming down the hallway, I saw the apartment door was open; my mother stood to one side, her hand resting on the doorknob. There was a mysterious smile on her lips when she saw us.

“I think Santa just arrived.”

My heart lifted in my chest and I pressed a hand over my mouth. Could this be true? Then she opened the door wider and we could see brightly wrapped gifts in the building corridor. My brother flew past me, as I stood frozen to the floor. I couldn’t believe my eyes. So many questions rushed through my head. How had Santa found us? Who had told him? Did my mother have a direct line to Santa Claus?

With knees feeling like jelly, I helped bring the gifts inside to put under the tree. When I saw my name on some of them, I knew for a fact that Santa had remembered me!

~S.K. Naus

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