I Want to Believe… in Santa.

Last year, I wrote about the Twelve Days of Christmas, House of Chaos style.

This year will be a bit different: I’m supposed to celebrate with my family before Christmas and we plan to be “alone” on Christmas itself – just the four of us.

This has never happened before.

Without fail, I have spent every single Christmas with my parents, siblings, and grandparents. The cost of four plane tickets to Iowa – plus luggage fees – make a visit over the actual holiday ridiculously expensive.

So we’re mixing it up this year, and we need to form new traditions.

The next few weeks will bring Tales From My Christmas Past paired with some amazing guest posts as I seek out ideas of how to create our new special Christmas. 

I want to avoid having a Christmas dud.

Please help.

If you have a holiday tradition, please share it in the comments.

As with everything, I’m an equal opportunity explorer: I don’t care if it’s for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas.  Just keep in mind I live in southern Texas: snow sledding or anything else involving the cold white stuff is probably out of the question.

I will be blogging about which traditions we decided to incorporate into our own and linking back to your blog (if you have one) after Christmas.

* * *

Tales from Christmas Past, Part 1: Sleigh Bells Ring

Santa - I want to believe poster.

This night would strengthen my belief in Santa for far longer than most of my peers.

It was dark.


Any other night I’d bury myself under the covers and fall back asleep.

Not on Christmas Eve.

I sprang from the bed, my bare feet hitting the cold wood floor, careful not to wake my sister.

And I heard it.

Sleigh bells, echoing from outside.

I rushed to the window, peering into the night, the landscape bright from the snow covered ground. My eyes scanned the sky, searching for Santa and his sleigh.

He has to be around here somewhere.

After a minute of futile hunting, my curiosity was too strong to ignore.

Had he visited already?

I flew down the stairs, careful not to slip in my footie pajamas as I jumped the steps two at a time.

I stopped halfway down. A wooden railing greeted me. Four red velvet stockings with white fuzzy trim dangled from it since we lacked a chimney.

I reached for mine, not bothering to stick my hand inside, just squeezing the bottom to see if goodies waited.

It was empty.

No chimney meant the stockings hung on our stair railing.

This photo is close to the age I was when I heard the sleigh bells. You can see the stockings in the background.

I sighed and walked the rest of the way downstairs, crossing into the kitchen and peeking at the microwave.

The glowing light told me it wasn’t yet 3 AM.

I fled the scene as quickly as I’d arrived, covering myself with my blanket, taking care not to wake my sister.


I closed my eyes and willed my pounding heart to calm.

Everyone knew you had to be asleep for Santa to drop off the toys and jingle of the sleigh bells meant he was in our neighborhood.

I dozed, but remained on high alert, waking frequently over the next few hours and checking my stocking each time for Santa’s arrival.

It wasn’t about the gifts anymore.

They were simply the sign I could wake my parents and sister and tell them my amazing secret: I’d almost spotted Santa.

* * *

Did you believe in Santa?


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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7 Responses to I Want to Believe… in Santa.

  1. Kelly – we’re in the exact same boat this year. Since we’ve moved 3,000Kms+ away from home this will be the first Christmas EVER we have spent alone, just the six of us. We’re looking at creating new traditions (or continuing old ones despite our reduced numbers) so I will be interested to read more posts like this one. I don’t know exactly how this Christmas will play out, but what I do know is how special I want to make it for my family. Good luck to both of us!

    • I’m certain you will find the perfect balance of new and old traditions.

      I know we do plan on Skyping on Christmas with my family when the kids open the gifts from them – we will only do a few small (plane friendly) gifts when we meet because of flying.

      I do plan on hanging stockings here. I’m not sure how we’ll work the Santa angle…

  2. Brianne says:

    Santa decorated my tree until I was in high school. Going to bed with a nekkid tree and waking up to the lights always added to the magic! Also I wasn’t allowed to come out of my room until my parents went out first. I still do that!! Santa always put extra bubble fun and candy on my tree too!
    Since I got married we started Christmas pjs.
    Good luck and may you find some awesome traditions!

  3. We usually go to my sister’s for Christmas but I am insisting we stay home this year because as much as I love my brother in law and his family, his family drinks and gets stoned and that’s just not something I want my girls around. They (his family) just think it’s funny to swear and get wasted. It makes my sister crazy. We’ll go up after Christmas, but I’m really looking forward to being home.

  4. John says:

    My parents divorced my senior year of college – so “establishing a tradition” is somewhat difficult. That said, every year, my sister & I wake up as a family . . . it might mean that I play a midnight service, getting out of church at 2 am, then drive home, get the family, drive to my sister’s (meaning that I’d arrive between 3 & 5 am) so that we can wake up together. The families keep growing, but we keep things up – always waking up under the same roof every Christmas.

    Then, we drive back home & host my wife’s family for a huge breakfast. Because food is good. And yummy.

  5. Phyllis says:

    When my kids got to about Diva’s age, I told the husband that we were not going to go see our folks for Christmas anymore (about a day and a half drive, or by air). We would do Thanksgiving, but Christmas was going to be in our home, for our kids.

    Early in December, each child got to go through their room and pick out the toys they no longer wanted, to make room for new toys. We would take them to Goodwill together.

    We never put the tree up until about week before Christmas. The kids were a very active part in it, carrying the ornaments over when they were too small to really hang them, then actually hanging them as they got older. We had a Christmas music tape (that we later purchased as a CD) that we would put on for doing that. Every day, a new present would appear on the breakfast table for each child, and sometimes for us old folks. These would be presents from grandparents, relatives, and eventually from Mom and Dad. There were always plenty; we’d hide them away as they arrived prior to Christmas. At night we would read Christmas stories before bed (we always read before bed anyway). Some years we had Advent calendars and would open a door every morning. One year some smart school teacher had the kids make a chain out of pieces of construction paper, counting down the days until Christmas. We started making one every year, and each night another link was broken off the chain.

    The afternoon of Christmas eve we would watch White Christmas. That evening we had a special meal in the tradition of my Sicilian ancestors, and then would drive around to look at the Christmas lights. Afterwards we would watch A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott.

    Christmas morning was always homemade cinnamon rolls. With my recipe, I could start them the night before, then get up early to let them finish rising. We put on the Christmas music and would take turns opening gifts until the rolls were ready, then eat, then go back to opening gifts. The rest of the day we played. We put Lego sets together (until adult help was no longer needed). We played new board games. We had a big meal — usually a repeat of Thanksgiving, with turkey and such, except this time it was at OUR house.

    Happy, happy memories. My childrens’ Christmases in our home were the best.

  6. Cupcake queen says:

    We bake Christmas cookies on Christmas eve afternoon, open stocking stuff on Christmas eve after dinner, have a nice breakfast of Christmas morning, open gifts, and spend the rest of the day at home playing. Or in the adult’s case, cooking lunch and then Christmas dinner. I grew up with movie on christmas day, and I think I’ll do that too, as my kids get older and their attention spans get better.

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