doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Whatever happened to …

… Santa Claus?

You would have heard this discussion if you’d been with Stephen Hurley and me before our Wednesday show on voicEd Radio!

It started like this …

Who is Santa at Christmas at your house?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

It’s a legitimate question. After all, the big guy just went everywhere dropping off gifts but somehow the final metre from under the tree to waiting hands has yet to take place.

Growing up, my brother and I alternated each year doing the job. Some gifts were from “Mom and Dad” and some were from “Santa”. But, we made sure that we got them all. It was also a way to slow down the process rather than both of us tearing into things at the same time.

Later that day on one side of the family, we would gather for a Christmas reunion and Santa was at it again. There were a couple of years when he physically showed up and other years, someone would volunteer to do the deed.

On the other side of the family, we actually rented a hall and gathered a week or two before Christmas. That side of the family was huge and yet, somehow, Santa managed to track us down.

They were delightful traditions and truly Santa or designate was always there to slow things down with the kids. And, it was also nice to see what everyone else got. I won’t name the family, but I’ve seen where the gifts were stacked according to name and people just tore into their stack of stuff, oblivious to whatever else was going on in the room.

I’m not sure that that’s the spirit of Christmas but it’s hard to explain to youngsters who are so excited to find out what Santa brought them.

Over the years, we’ve had varying ways of organizing Christmas morning – frankly, it happened when I got married and both families lived in the same town. We had to juggle two Christmases and two Christmas Church services. The Anglican service was on Christmas Eve which helped. The most challenging was the year that a big storm hit, the roads weren’t ploughed, and we had to pull the kids across town on sleds to enjoy the other Christmas.

Then, when we moved away to get jobs and have our own family traditions, there was no one size fits all solution. Sometimes, we were able to get home and enjoy the day with family and other years my wife would be working Christmas and December got juggled somehow. It’s a reminder that there are people working today in health care and other essential services. They give up family time to make our worlds better and safer. As a result, their Christmas will be different from ours.

And, yet, despite all this, Santa managed to track us down.

This is my absolute favourite Christmas song this year and it fits into this discussion perfectly.

As you read this, it’s Christmas morning or sometime afterwards. No, I didn’t spoil my holiday blogging, this was written Wednesday afternoon.

For this special day for so many of us, what are your thoughts?

  • Are you at home for Christmas this year? Or, are you on the road somewhere?
  • Is someone appointed an honourary Santa at your place to distribute the gifts?
  • Is there another way to get gifts into the hands of the recipients?
  • Is everything done at your place or do you travel to get together?
  • Do you have a Christmas that actually isn’t celebrated on the 25th?
  • Do you not celebrate Christmas but observe some other celebration?
  • Is it important for you to catch up with friends and relatives on or about Christmas day? How do you manage it?
  • Are there family and/or friends that you’re missing this year?

How about dropping off a comment about your traditions?

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all doug … off the record readers for reading this and wish you a wonderful holiday season.


5 responses to “Whatever happened to …”

  1. So many great questions and memories here, Doug! We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, and kind of did a gift exchange between the two this year. Tonight though, we’re having a Zoom Christmas with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. They’re in the States, and we were all going to go down this year, but the snowstorm changed plans. Thank goodness for technology. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!



  2. I have many Christmas memories, and recent ones have been popping up on my phone as little videos that my photos app puts together. In trying to visit my mum and brother I was facing Christmas alone in a hotel awaiting a postponed flight. My sweet husband drove 4 hours over frozen muskeg and ice bridges to spend the day with me. He also attended Christmas Eve mass with me last night (he’s not a regular church goer). Over the years Christmas traditions have changed but they all involve love, family, and friends, and often, travel.


  3. The 1 tradition we held onto was insisting the kids opened their gifts in their own house. Then into the car to travel to both set of grandparents 250 km away. Regardless of the weather. My Mom would give accurate info about the roads. Sharron’s Dad was so invested in us coming, he rarely let us know what we could expect- weather wise. We also alternated Christmas day with the 2 families. One year on Christmas and Boxing Day with the other. My Dad always had a prank. One year, my present, a new bike, was on the roof. When my grandmother was alive presents were opened One person, one gift at a time starting with the youngest. By the time it was her turn she had a huge pile & to a kid took forever. Thanks for forcing me back in time for those wonderful memories!


  4. […] Whatever happened to … – doug — off the record […]


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