Christmas Eve, the children run outside to scatter their reindeer food all over the lawn.
I was inside locating the broom for the later sweeping I would have to do, perhaps shaking my head.
And Patric comes in, "Hey Soose, you might want to see this."
And magically, as two houses on our block had stepped out to spread glitter and oatmeal for the reindeer, Santa came riding up on a scooter. And I found myself running about in an excited frenzy looking for my camera, tripping over the broom I had left in my wake.
(We'll pretend David is Nicholas, who was a little too skeptical to hop on the stranger's bike.)
The minivan has been transformed into a reindeer with horns and shiny nose (even though when you roll down the window to flip in the mirror while entering our garage they fall off every time and make you nearly curse, and we're not smart enough to install them on the rear windows three inches away).
The stockings are hung by the chimney (maybe not with so much care, but we have these four little people who keep taking them down and pre-filling them with their own stuff, anticipating the coal I guess).
And we are lit outside (even though a few strands have perhaps gone out and a couple of wreaths have blown off the windows in the wind. Perhaps you've even noticed that one is laying on the porch roof having tumbled from the second story window, but really it's cold outside now).
We don't have don't-touch decorations. Our real tree is loaded with a history of ornaments of all shapes and colors, my favorite the bulbs with little hand prints that have been painted into snowmen. (And by loaded, I mean loaded down from about three feet high to the point that it is kind of sick and droopy looking from the weight down there and fresh and sparse the higher you go.)
And we loaded up with hot chocolate, Christmas music, and blankets for our annual light show review (even though they complained about the music, don't like hot chocolate, and fell asleep five minutes into the drive. And, this was one of the more successful light show drives, at least we didn't get pulled over by the cops this time. But we'll re-tell that story later).
We made Christmas cookies to share with the neighbors (even though decorating was fun through about the first third of the cookies, and I was left to smear icing and sprinkles over the rest while they periodically asked me when they would be finished).
But then they come home with reindeer food. Whoever came up with the idea to fill a baggie with oatmeal and glitter and call it reindeer food--thanks, thanks so much! A cheap way to brighten the magic a touch. Well, we now have 8 bags of reindeer food sent home from various places--school, scouts, daycare. I don't even mind so much that one child, who shall remain nameless because I haven't figured out which one it is yet, has already scattered the reindeer food outside. And by outside, I mean in a pile outside the door. And every time you go in an out, you track oatmeal and glitter across the floor! No, I don't mind that so much. It's what our piles of oatmeal will likely attract that gives me pause. So, while the children are nestled all snug in their beds this evening, I'll have visions of creatures running through my head. Armadillos and mice and ants, yippee! All creeping about for the food they see.
Because really, aren't the reindeer supposed to stay on the roof? Perhaps that is the answer I give when there is still glitter and oatmeal strewn about in the morning?