The Afthead Christmas season begins with a trip to Main Street of my hometown. The four blocks are lined with trees covered in tiny white lights, dark until Santa arrives. He travels in the back of a truck waving to the kids, and when he reaches the beginning of a new block the lights magically illuminate. This year it was cold and snow flurries painted the sky. My daughter and her friend were bundled three layers deep topped with Santa hats. Both of them believe completely in Santa, and while they know this is not the real guy, eight years of a tradition have made him special.
The girls call in unison as Santa passes.
“He saw us!”
“He waved at us!”
Because they are bigger and the crowds stayed home to avoid the cold this year I ask, “Do you want to go down another block?” They do. This year we see Santa four times and he sees us twice, by the girls’ counting. Only at the last block do I have to threaten, “Girls,are you really hitting each other? He is right there!” Their cold bodies extend for one final wave.
They leave singing a song they proudly made up on their own: “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus right down Ma-ain Street.”