One of my favorite Christmas icons is the Old Time Santa. A few years ago, Stacey gave me a large old-world Santa with a flowing beard, dressed in a gorgeous robe and toting garland. He stands about two feet tall, and he has a sweet grandfatherly face (an important feature, given my irrational fear of faces, which Stacey understood.)

Each year I stand him in a prominent place, out of the way of children, which lately is in the living room. So, this Christmas, my Santa would be peeking out from beside the Christmas tree. Peeking. Peeking! What the heck was I thinking? The very last thing I need is the thought of something peering at me from behind (or beside) another object!

I foolishly dismissed the thought and left Santa by the tree. I did notice that I was not spending much time at all in my living room, a past holiday favorite. In fact, the only time I ventured into the room was when I had to turn off the tree lights, and then I had to lean over Santa, fearing that his face would turn upwards to look me in the eye before he shoved his cane through my lung. I realized my imagination was working over time, so I stepped back to breathe deeply and convince myself there was nothing to fear.

Now, Aaron has a Sesame Street alphabet school bus. Big Bird, Elmo, and Zoe call out the letters as the child pushes the buttons on the bus. Cute toy. I couldn’t resist buying it. But, as I stood there all alone, calming my own fears, and convincing myself that my two-foot Santa was not going to spring to life and hack me to death, that damn bus started chanting, “U…U…U.” I screamed and ran.

Santa was in a box the next day.