“You know what we should do? You know what would make us the best damned auntie and uncle in the whole universe?” I asked Husband Phil, as my sweaty, felt Santa suit hung from my hands. Or he asked me. I don’t remember whose genius idea it was, so we’ll just say it was mine.
It was three years ago, and Phil and I had just finished a 5k Santa run through a frosty Exeter city centre. The suits they gave us were so thin our sweat was rapidly disintegrating them, but we’d just figured out one final use before they went in the rubbish bin*.
We were to be spending Christmas 2013 with Phil’s family, which included his niece and nephew, then aged 5 and 3. And what better way to blow the effing MINDS of a 5 and 3 year old? Let them see photo evidence of Father Christmas in their house! We had it all figured out – we’d wait until they’d gone to bed, then Phil would dress in the Santa costume, beard and all, and I’d take a grainy photo using my iPod Touch which I’d present to them on Christmas morning. We would then collect our Academy Awards and our Best Auntie and Uncle Ever rosettes, and wallow in pride for the rest of the day.
Christmas morning came. The kids were up, the house already a warzone of lego and wrapping paper and new socks. “Ohmygosh, you guyyyssssss,” I said, super-casually, coming into the room. (To this day, I still don’t know how to communicate with children). “You guyssssss, look what I saw last night. I was downstairs getting a drink of water and I heard a noise and LOOK WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE LIVING ROOM!”
Boom! In your face, every other Christmas memory! Auntie Lisa just killllled itttttt.
My niece Eleanor blinked at the photo. My nephew Peter pushed his glasses up his nose. Eleanor ate another spoonful of Shreddies. Peter fiddled with a monster toy stocking-filler thing. Peter eventually said, “So, is he real then?”
Improv theatre + kids = not my strong suit. I think I just waved at the photo, like, Well, obvs!
And the conversation moved on, back to cereal and who was going to finish first and whether one child could play with the other child’s new sticker book. Un grande anti-climax. Those kids though… savvy little buggers. They weren’t fooled by Uncle Phil in a Hillary-style red pantsuit.
Although… later that morning we were all milling around after a visit to their local church. The kids were chatting to their little friends, talk of what they had in their stockings, and how pretty each other’s festive jumpers were. And what did Phil’s brother overhear?
“He was really in our house! Auntie Lisa took a photo of him!”
*Actually, there became another use. My Santa suit is still hanging up on a plastic Halloween skeleton who lives on a coat rack at my workplace. He is affectionately known as Dead Santa and I forbid anyone to throw him away.
Thank you so much Lisa, I love the lengths you went to to keep the faith and belief of your niece and nephew.
About Lisa Dickenson
Lisa lives by the Devon seaside, stuffing cream teas in the gobs of anyone who comes to visit, and writing stuff down that she hopes is funny. Her first novel was the copyright-infringing Sweet Valley Twins: The Twins Holiday Horror, which she wrote in primary school and gave up on after five pages. Twenty-ish years later Lisa went on to be a *real author* and wrote the Novelicious Debut of the Year, The Twelve Dates of Christmas. In summer 2016 out popped You Had Me at Merlot. She's now keeping her fingers crossed that everyone will like her third paperback, Mistletoe on 34th Street, and that New York City gives her a free apartment near Central Park as a 'well done'.
Purchase link for Mistletoe: goo.gl/ZRMRcN
Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, 'traditional' Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she's not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple.
Jon, Olivia's friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?
Full of romance and festive magic, Mistletoe on 34th Street is the funniest and most charming love story you will read this Christmas!