A Christmas Gift

Posted: December 17, 2011 in Humor
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This article written by me and published in the Oregon Journal 30 years ago. Picture is original from article.

Tape Recording Tot discovers REAL Santa

By Don Weston, circa 1980

Yes, Daddy, there is a Santa Claus,” my seven-year-old daughter told me.

As Jenny approaches the formative years – deciding for herself if Santa Clause is real – she is adopting a different philosophy than her brother did last year.

Eight-year-old Donny, who didn’t want to believe his buddies when they told him there wasn’t a Santa, decided the old red-cheeked fellow was for real. He lived in the spirit of each person during Christmas, Donny believed.

It was a simple explanation offered by my wife – and one he accepted with enthusiasm.

But Jenny refused to accept her brother’s interpretation that “Santa Clause is just a spirit; he probably died a long time ago.”

Last week she came to me with her plan to prove Santa is alive and well.

“I want to get a tape recorder and talk to all the Santa Clauses. If I can talk to all of them, I can listen to the tape recorder and tell which one is the real Santa Claus,” she told me.

Jenny already believed that the numerous Santas she sees at shopping centers were really “just helping the real Santa Claus.”

Unfortunately, she still believed Santa himself still gets around to some of the stores.

I could tell by the stern look in her eye that this was one idea I wouldn’t be able to veto.

I agreed to take her to interview the Santas if she would tell them why she wanted to record their voices and ask them to speak into the tape recorder.

Once upon a time Jenny was a shy little girl. But she got over her shyness of Santa when she was two-years-old and Ol’ St. Nick handed her a candy cane at a department store.

I seriously considered that this might be a ploy by her to get more candy this year.

But to satisfy her innocent youth, off we went into the cold December night in search of Kris Kringle.

The first Santa we visited was great.

“You want to record my voice to find out if I’m the real Santa Clause?” he asked. “How will you know the real one?”

Jenny fastened a stern look on his white beard. I was afraid she was going to pull it.

“The real Santa will go ‘ho, ho, ho!’” she said, not realizing she tipped her hand.

This Santa went out of his way to laugh, jiggle his belly, talk about his reindeer, and act like he’s been watching her all year to see if she was “naughty or nice.”

But apparently he didn’t pass inspection, because Jenny wasn’t impressed.

We visited two other pretenders to the crown before I talked her into going home with a promise of continuing later.

A few nights later, I decided to go a nearby mall to pick up a washer for a dripping faucet. As I got up to leave for the store, Jenny was standing by the door, shoes and coat on, tape recorder firmly in hand.

It was time for another visit with Santa.

This Santa had drawn the largest number of kids I had ever seen. There was no $3.95 picture gimmick, no fancy decorations or commercial signs.

Santa, in all of his red-suited glory, was sitting in a simple sleigh (sans reindeer), laughing and listening to the children’s lists.

When Jenny finally reached him, she got the surprise of her life.

“Ho, ho ho!” he said mechanically. “How are you tonight, Jennifer?” he said as he winked at me, only a whisper away.

“You’ve been a pretty good girl for Mom and Dad this year, haven’t you?”

She vigorously nodded her head up and down.

“And I got your letter asking for a new doll this Christmas,” the faker fibbed. “Ah, what kind of doll was it?”

“Baby Alive!” she shrieked, ignoring the fact that she never mailed a letter to Santa.

“I’ve seen three Santa Clauses and I’m looking for the real one, not his helpers,” she explained in a scolding tone, her bottom lip thrust out and her tiny hands on her hips.

“Well you can stop looking, you found me,” he said, pushing the tape recorder out of his face.

“Are you the real Santa Claus?” she asked.

“Yep, and I want to thank you for leaving those delicious cookies for me last year. They were great!”

“You’re welcome,” she replied.

It was fudge, I recalled, and it was pretty good.

Jenny was bubbling after her interview, “See Daddy, there is a Santa Clause,” she said between playbacks.

How could I ever have doubted her?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  1. Cindy Brown says:

    Wonderful story, Don! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Helen Wand says:

    Delightful! Great Christmas story…Helen

  3. Maureen Kay says:

    Quite a charming story! Merry Christmas!

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  5. Susan says:

    I remember when it was printed the first time. Brings back some warm memories.

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