by michele sprague

w r i t e  s t y l i n g s

first published through

Senior Wire

a syndication of news

information and features

mature market publications

​Beacon Senior News

december 2018


michele sprague

contributing writer

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Santa made me do it

Talk about Santa’s naughty and nice list. I remember when Santa encouraged my daughters to break our house rule, which forbids them from eating what we call junk food cereal – those high sugary cereals with little nutrition. Actually, the rule forbids me from bringing the stuff into the house.

Well, Santa, who is known for his love of sweet cookies, delivered boxes of sugary cereals to my three and five-year old daughters – Cindi and Emily – on Christmas Eve. My daughters gasped in surprise when they opened the gifts, revealing boxes of the forbidden cereal. The Cocoa Puffs™ and Chocolate Chip Cookie Crisp cereals made a hit with my daughters – much more than the Care Bear sleeping bags, the Cabbage Patch kid dolls and the Candy Land™ game Santa also left.

So, who was being naughty this time? It appeared that Santa encouraged my daughters to make his naughty list for next year by tempting them to break one of our house rules.

There it was and in our house – the forbidden cereals from Santa, which became the center of attention. While clutching the cereal box, my eldest daughter, Emily, insisted they could eat the cereal because Santa gave it to them. What could we say? The cereal was part of Santa’s gift to them. So, my husband and I decided we wouldn’t take the cereal away from our daughters. The girls squealed in delight when we voiced our decision, and the unsupervised cereal munching began.

Later, while holding the opened boxes of cereal, my daughters told their grandpa about the surprise gift Santa brought them. Between munching dry cereal, they talked excitedly about the sugary cereal and said mom and dad are letting them eat it because it’s from Santa. I quickly reminded them that today was special. Tomorrow, we’ll be back to eating our traditional breakfast – oatmeal and fruit or scrambled eggs.

I wasn’t surprised when our daughters barely ate our traditional Christmas breakfast – a ham and cheese omelet, and homemade blueberry muffins. Santa gave them a free junk food pass, and they took advantage of it. They munched on sugary cereal, and walked around holding the cereal box with sticky hands throughout the day. Emily even shared her cereal with the Cabbage Patch kid doll Santa brought her.

Years later, I remembered how much fun it was when my daughters received the surprise boxes of cereal from Santa. I decided it was time for my grown-up daughters to receive another surprise. I would anonymously send them a weekly gift during December through the U.S. mail.

The first week, the postman delivered a hand-blown, glass heart to them. The box included an anonymous note, which said, “The world is a better place because of you.”

The second week, they received a holiday candle with a candlescaping kit. The kit included small, ceramic holiday pieces – a Christmas tree, bell, gingerbread boy and heart – as well as tiny pieces of glittery wax. Another anonymous note was enclosed, which said, “Believe in the magic of your dreams. You’re an amazing person.”

The third week – well, the third week was a few days before Christmas and very special. The third week was also the grand finale of the weekly surprises. I imitated Santa’s surprise, which took place over 20 years ago. So, the postman delivered a gift wrapped box of Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs cereal to my adult daughters. This gift included a signed note from Santa, which said, “Everyone needs a little sugar in her life. Ho! Ho! Ho!”

The surprise sugary cereal was a hit again. It brought back happy childhood memories and created new ones. While we were distracted with the merriment and our memories, my four-year-old granddaughter, Olivia, gained control of the cereal box. Her arm was up to her elbow in the box of Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs cereal as she happily munched the sugary treat.

Then Olivia asked why Santa sent her mom junk cereal, which isn’t allowed in the house? And why did Santa send her mom a gift since she’s not a kid?

I don’t remember who answered that last question or what was said, but Santa’s sugary cereal made a hit again. It brought giggles and fun, and we remembered letting our hair down from time to time feels good. Sometimes, it’s even tasty.

So, it happened again. The house rule banning junk cereal for another generation was broken – at least for one day. The next day we returned to our structured rules and ate oatmeal and baked apples for breakfast. In the meantime, we had fun, enjoying the delicious cereal and made more memories.