Wednesday, December 26, 2012

preparing for santa (or, DIY chimney)

ander was full-blown excited for santa this christmas.  it started, i think, with him understanding more fully who the "spirit of christmas present" is in charles dickens' a christmas carol (muppet movie version), and comparing him to st. nicholas, and reading clement moore's "night before christmas" poem, plus several other santa-y stories, and listening to him in national geographic's animal holiday.  the arrival of his letter from santa from the north pole helped, too, i think.

he started getting concerned about santa visiting because we have no fireplace or chimney, as we did in the home we owned last year.  would he still come?  i did my best to persuade him that santa's magic allowed him to go anywhere, by any means necessary, to bring presents for the people who believed in him.  also, he has lots of helpers along the way, including norad.

diana got involved, too, with the whole chimney deal, given that we had moved twee into her room to allow space for the family tree, named hoole, into our living room.  she really hoped santa would bring a little present for her under her tree, so she set to work making an entryway for him.

there's a lot you can do with a cardboard box, sharpie markers, adhesives, a creative mind, time to work, and patience with a younger brother whose only desire is to participate and be helpful (which he was, incidentally, in coloring and in making logs out of construction paper and tape).

steve helped a little by getting the laptop out to play our dvd of radiant fireplace.  diana added real sticks to the paper logs from ander, tissue paper in fiery colors, and led tea candles to enhance the effect.  the scene was completed by stockings and decorations on the "mantle" and a small setting of carefully decorated cookies, minty hot chocolate, baby carrots, and a handwritten note for santa.


ander had been meandering in and out of diana's room while she worked and created a little paper campfire of his own, which diana helped him set into his own makeshift fireplace.

ander's little fireplace and tiny plate of cookies (formerly hanukkah latkes)
ander's unadorned ginger cookies (four were required to make a visually-pleasing arrangement on the plate, according to him) and carefully-counted carrots for all the reindeer
ander considered trying to stay up all night on the sofa to catch a glimpse of santa, but was easily encouraged to go to sleep in bed instead, knowing that santa would come only after he was asleep
a warm welcome awaited santa's arrival here.  diana even attached a sign to her window to point him in the right direction.

and it worked! diana was elated to see not one but two little gifts under twee, both of them satisfying her immensely.  ander looked dazed and confused when he came out to the living room, not having anticipated that santa would bring more than one gift for him.

santa was good to us this year.  each child (and adult) got something special that suits our tastes and interests.  not too overwhelming and just enough to feel very fortunate indeed.  

see what happens if only you believe?

for those readers interested in video versions of how we prepared for santa, including a reading of the night before christmas, please enjoy my gifts to you: 


and, if you made it this far, you might also enjoy an animated card, courtesy of my newly-acquired subscription to

merry christmas, everyone!


  1. Love the creativity involved, and the spirit of true believing! I have made some nut-free cookies for you, but also some nut cookies in case the kids might like them--one being the Heinrich specialty, chocolate walnut oatmeal. I am planning to bring them when I visit! In the meantime, they will stay in the freezer, keeping nice and fresh!