The Great Santa Chase was written in 2013, but it’s one of my favorite Christmas memories.
And in this year of Covid, it is a perfect story about something going imperfectly.
We don’t always get everything right here at Family Fun Twin Cities. We try to be accurate as possible, but when we have 12 children, a full-time job outside the home, Christmas preparations, and other daily activities, we sometimes get things wrong. And for that, I sincerely apologize. But sometimes even the mistakes can be a lot of fun. Case in point–our weekend adventure. I call it The Great Santa Chase.
I was positive the Twinkle Parade in Stillwater was rescheduled for Saturday. Joy posted the reschedule date for Sunday, Anne had posted the reschedule date for Sunday, and I–Gianna–went on KTIS and said it was Saturday. I was so convinced it was Saturday that I bundled 3 of my 4 children into their snow gear, dropped the fourth at her friend’s house, and drove out to Stillwater.
After I parked the car, woke up my three year old snoozer, and loaded my backpack onto my back, the four of us trekked across the snow-covered parking lot, snowpants swishing with each step.
The meeting location looked a little too desolate for a parade, but we continued until we reached the restaurant. That’s when I saw the sign.
“Twinkle Parade has be rescheduled for Sunday, December 15 at 4:00.”
“Aww! Really!?” I felt the defenses of a mom who just drove 30 miles to give her children a fun and unique Christmas experience rise to the surface. “Okay, guys. I guess it’s tomorrow. That’s a bummer.”
A chorus of disappointed sighs followed me as we turned on our heels, but for once, no one complained. They dutifully followed me back to our vehicle. Then, I heard a little voice, “so we don’t get to see Santa?”
Let me just be honest right now. My children do not believe in Santa Claus. We think it’s a very fun story and like the make believe of it, but my children know it’s a tale. In fact, my three year old has told me multiple times that the real Santa is dead (I just go along with it since St. Nicholas IS dead). But even so, the Twinkle Parade followed by a visit from Santa Claus is just too exciting to not be a part of.
I tucked everyone back into their seats, and we drove out of the Stillwater parking lot. I was not exactly sure what I was going to do to make it up to my little ones. As we pulled to a stop at one of the intersections of downtown, I saw Santa in front me. Just walking across the street! He was waving at every car and pedestrian and calling out, “Merry Christmas!”
“Where?” Jack was frantic. He couldn’t see the jolly old elf.
It was then I made my decision. We were going to get to Santa! My kids would get a special visit from him. No matter what it took.
I pulled out of the intersection and around the block hoping to cut him off before he got too far away. We were 20 yards away when we thought we had him cornered, and suddenly he disappeared out of sight. I thought he had gone into a building. We drove through another parking lot to turn around when Tori, who is seven, yelled.
“Where is he?”
“He’s back there!” Tori said.
“Back where?” I asked.
“Tori, I have no idea what back there means!”
“He’s back where we were, Mom!” she exclaimed, angry at me for not believing her.
I whipped around a corner and Dash shouted, “I see him!”
“He’s right over there. I saw a big blob of red! Really! I did, Mom!”
By this point I had given up hope. My children were delusional. They wanted to see Santa so badly that they were just seeing things.
“I believe you, Buddy. But I think it’s too late. I don’t know if I can find him anymore.” I resigned myself to the fact that it was a lost cause.
I started to head out of Stillwater passing yet another parking lot when I glanced over my shoulder and something red caught my eye.
“There he is!” I skidded into the parking lot and drove straight at Santa.
My van crunched to a stop on the packed snow, and I hopped out. “Can my kids say hi?”
“Certainly!” Santa said as he strolled forward to our van. The parking lot was empty except for a few cars.
It was just us and Santa.
I opened the door for him and he was assaulted with giddy smiles.
“What do you want for Christmas?” he asked.
One by one he was given the answer “An IPad.” Really? When did my children become so worldly?
Santa looked at me and said, “Looks like its IPads all around, Mom!”
After taking the time to listen to each one of my kids, he was on his way. The Christmas magic had settled into our hearts, and we drove in peace for a couple minutes.
The spell was soon broken when I heard, “Mom! I have to go to the bathroom.”
Merry Christmas, Santa!