My dad’s parents settled in the north end of the city shortly after they were married. They were married in September 1956, so their first married Christmas happened just a few months after their wedding. A few days before December 25th that year, my grandparents received a notice from the department store Sears that their stove had been paid off. They asked around, trying to find out who had been so generous by paying off their stove, but no one seemed to have any idea who’d paid it. It was a mystery.
The next Christmas, my grandparents were celebrating their first Christmas as parents. It was my dad’s very first Christmas. Again, a few days before Christmas, they received a delivery from Sears. It was a Christmas present for my Dad, from this secret Santa. My grandparents still had no idea where the special deliveries were coming from. By each Christmas growing up, my dad and his siblings would always receive a mystery delivery from this generous secret Santa.
The years passed and my dad and his siblings grew up. Soon, my dad was celebrating his first Christmas, in his first home, with his new wife. That year, the secret Santa delivered gifts to my grandparents’ house for my dad and my mum, and my dad’s siblings. When my dad and aunts started their own families, our secret Santa began sending Christmas gifts to my grandparents for all of their grandchildren.
Over the years, we’d always get a special delivery a few days before Christmas. Sometimes, the delivery required some assembly and my dad would be up late Christmas Eve, putting together bikes, sleds and doll houses. One year, I remember my brothers and I were given new winter coats, that fit us perfectly. It was a relief for my parents, too, it was expensive clothing four kids for the winter.
The last delivery from our family’s secret Santa happened about six years ago, fifty years since that first year. To this day, we have no idea who was behind it. It’s certainly been the centre of many family debates, everyone having their own theories and opinions about our special Secret Santa. We’ve spent a lot of time this past holiday remembering, talking about and theorizing again about it, because we can’t remember my grandfather, on this first Christmas since he passed away, without thinking about it. The joy, intrigue and generous spirit of our secret Santa ties our family together and will always be a part of our history that I’ll hold close to my heart.
Just like the joy, mischief and generous spirit of my grandfather tied our family together and will always be a part of our family that I hold close to my heart.