I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus

    Just like in the song "l Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," I woke one Christmas Eve many years ago to a sound coming from the kitchen.

    When I set out to investigate the source of that strange muffled noise, I was shocked at my discovery. I actually saw Mom, in the kitchen, laughing in a whisper with the man himself, Santa. I couldn’t believe it. The jolly fellow was in my house, in my kitchen, chatting with my mom. I wanted to go in and say hello, but my feet were frozen to the floor. I did the only thing I could do, I watched with wide-eyed intensity.

    At that moment I was the luckiest 5-year-old in the world — until the event happened that would rock my world for years to come. Santa, as he devoured the last cookie, reached out and with one powerful swoop pulled my mom in close, close enough for mom to see the cookie crumbs in his beard. Mom reached up and gently wiped the cookie bits away while Santa made eye contact, letting out a sensual Ho-Ho-Ho. That was the moment I saw Mommy actually kissing Santa Clause.

    I remember my initial thought not being one of concern for Dad. Instead, I was bursting with joy knowing that I was now one of the elite allowed into Santa’s inner circle. My friends are going to have a hard time believing this. They never did believe my tale, but instead tried to convince me that Santa wasn’t real. They were obviously jealous.

    Years later, when the truth about Santa was finally revealed to me, I was convinced that Mom was just trying to cover up the fact that she and Saint Nick were “close” friends. I wanted so desperately to tell my mom that I knew her secret, but I didn’t. We all have secrets that we don’t want to share, so I respected my mom and those skeletons in her closet.

    Fast forward three decades to a time when I was living in San Diego and newly married with two stepchildren. They were old enough to know the truth about Santa, flying reindeer and the toy factory in the North Pole. They had known the truth for years.

    One Christmas, while putting their purchased gifts beneath the tree, the boys started singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” I was suddenly thrust back to my own childhood years in Montreal. I was smelling my mother's baked ham and tasting the candies that overflowed the candy dish on our coffee table. I was momentarily transported back to that very moment when I did indeed see Mommy kissing Santa Claus.

    As I listened to my stepsons sing, I burst out into one of those deep belly laughs. Both boys looked up briefly, contemplating my sanity, or lack thereof. That carol is my window to a most wonderful time, the day when I saw Daddy playing Santa Claus. Where does your window take you? If it brings you to a sad place, stop looking out that window; find a happy one. Remember, 'tis the season to be jolly.

    Merry Christmas.

    — Richard Hunter lives in Jacksonville.

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