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Smelly Socks: Santa Claus is coming to town

By By Anita Spisak
Dec. 12, 2013 at 6:12 a.m.

Adam and Charlie share their Christmas wish lists with Santa.

Do your children still believe in Santa Claus? My boys, thankfully, still do. I'm thankful for that for two reasons. First, and I admit this is selfish on my part, but I can still use Santa against them when they are not behaving as they should be, and second, because like all parents, we still want our children to believe.

This world is so cynical and jaded, and it seems like our children tend to grow up much faster now than we ever did, and to believe in Santa still means they believe in something good.

Adam is 7, and Charlie is 4, and I don't know how much longer Adam will continue to believe, but I'm hoping for at least another year or two. And knowing the type of boy he is, he will continue to perpetuate the illusion for Charlie for what I hope is many more years to come.

I write this because this past Thanksgiving, in addition to visiting my parents up in Northern Wisconsin, going sledding (yes, they had enough snow) and eating enough turkey to actually start looking like one, the whole family was planning to go to the small town of Boulder Junction, Wis., where Santa and Mrs. Claus were planning to visit.

The whole day, the boys were antsy. They got up extra early knowing that they were going to see Santa that afternoon. I tried to sleep in a little, knowing that there was no school that day, but when Adam was told to shush, he yelled to Charlie, "Charlie, be quiet. Mama and Papa are trying to sleep!" Well, there went my dreams of sleeping in late on the day after Thanksgiving.

During the day, Adam kept writing and rewriting his list so as to keep all the items straight, but Charlie knew what his request was going to be, so there was no reason to write it down. Lunch was wolfed down, and then came the wait for Grandma and Grandpa to come so we could all drive together. After the one-hour drive, we finally made it into town, where my mom and I shopped, and the boys shuffled their feet behind us.

Thankfully, the town stores spanned only about two blocks, so the shopping while waiting for Santa was not going to be very long. We ate dinner at a local restaurant and then walked down the street just as the fire trucks started their sirens and horns and drove down Main Street to announce the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The Clauses then sat patiently in the lobby of the local bank while patient and not-so-patient children waited to sit on Santa's lap for a chance to rattle off a list of things they hope he will bring them.

My children, or should I say my older child, was no different, rattling off a plethora of items that he wanted: full hockey gear, a Chicago Blackhawks jersey, books, a snowboard and a Lego set and later telling me he forgot to mention still two more things he wanted.

Meanwhile, Charlie, ever the shy one, sat there and smiled for the pictures Joe and I were trying to take. When Santa asked him what he wanted, he said one thing only: a tool set and tool bench so that he could work on his bike.

That's it. Nothing more. Even Santa couldn't believe he didn't want anything else and prodded him with Legos and cars, to which Charlie replied, "No just a tool set." I think Santa might have no trouble getting that to him on Christmas Day.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs, one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at smellysocks@vicad.com.

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