Missing Santa

Christmas Memories & Traditions

— Laura Austin, photographer

Every year, my siblings (all three of whom are significantly older than I am) would take me out to “search” for Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, we would load up in our Volkswagen bus and scan the skies for any sign of his presence over our valley.

Sure enough, each year we seemed to spot Rudolph’s red nose blinking in the night sky. (Years later, I would note the striking resemblance between Rudolph’s nose and the safety beacons located on the left wing of an aircraft, which can also be frequently spotted over our valley.)

These trips would often include a detour to see some of the more spectacular Christmas light displays.

When we returned home, one of my parents — who would stay behind from these little diversions — would exclaim, “Santa came by while you were gone!” The plate of cookies I had left out for Santa would have been nibbled on (or missing altogether), and several bright packages that were not there before would now be tucked beneath the tree.

I couldn’t believe it — no matter what time my siblings and I went for our ride, or how little time we spent away from our home — Santa ALWAYS managed to come to our house while I was out looking for him!

Story First Published: 2017-12-22