“Santa’s gone,” Hawkeye tells me repeatedly these days.
“He’s sleeping for a whooooooole year until next Christmas.”
I nod again.
I pinch the bridge of my nose, wincing. “He’s… He’s not…. ugh”
If you’re Irish you’re laughing right now. If you’re not, you might be slightly confused. “Locked” is an Irish expression for being completely drunk. Wasted. Plastered. Soused. In short, it means under the influence of alcohol. So how did my four year old end up repeatedly saying that Santa was back in the North Pole and three sheets to the wind? I blame Google. Specifically, I blame the Google Santa Tracker. The Mister showed it to Robin on the day before Christmas. It’s a clever little site and at the time I had looked at it ,Santa was still pretty far away, dropping presents off at Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. The day went on, and Christmas eve came and went, and after all the presents were opened on Christmas day and everything was examined and played with and bits of wrapping paper were put away and TV was watched and gingerbread cookies eaten, Hawkeye wanted to see the Santa Tracker again.
“But, Santa’s done now. He’s finished delivering all the presents and he’s gone back home to the North Pole!” I explained while frantically trying and failing to think of suitable distractions. Hawkeye was not to be dissuaded, however.
“But I wanna seeeeeeeeee.”
Ok, Google, I thought to myself as I booted up my tablet. Show me what you’ve got on your Santa Tracker. Please be good. Please have Santa chimney diving replays.
The answer is that Google has a big lock in the middle of the screen. Very boring and unimpressive and most importantly, sufficiently uninspiring to keep mommy from opening her mouth and accidentally blabbing the wrong expression to her four year old.
“See, honey? He’s gone home. It’s locked.”
I hadn’t spotted my error straightaway. I had to wait until sometime later when he asked me about Santa again. “He’s gone back to the North Pole,” I repeated.
Hawkeye nodded sadly. “He’s locked.”
“I…. He’s not… I mean….” I mentally facepalmed myself. No matter what I have said since then to try and correct the error, Hawkeye keeps returning to this expression. Therefore in our house, Santa’s gone home and is now locked.
I had hoped this would soon be forgotten. Especially as this past weekend weekend we packed up Christmas. Hawkeye helped me take down all the decorations and we said goodbye to the Christmas tree. I carefully bundled up all the tree lights for storage so they wouldn’t get tangled. The wreath came down from the door. Everything was carefully wrapped and boxed up for next year. All that’s left to take down are the lights in the windows. They’re no longer on, I just haven’t gotten around to removing them.
Taking down the stocking led to another amusing discovery. Earlier in December when I went to hang it up in the first place, I was a bit at a loss as to how best to do it. Ultimately, I spread the hanging loop over a corner of the fireplace mantel and then taped it down carefully and thoroughly to make sure it would hold the stocking and all the chocolate. It was not necessarily pretty, but it was functional and it worked.
It was, of course, only when I was carefully peeling all the layers of sticky tape off the wooden mantel that i discovered a discreet tiny nail underneath the mantel. “Huh,” I remarked as I experimentally hung the stocking on the nail to see what it looked like. “I think I might have just found the nail the previous owners put in to hang their Christmas stockings.”
The Mister looked over his shoulder and eyed the re-hung stocking. “Yes,” he confirmed resolutely, “That is definitely the exact and only purpose of that particular nail. Well done finding it after Christmas.”
I harrumped and took the stocking down again, folding it up. However, the discovery did not entirely go to waste. For Hawkeye’s first show and tell of the year, I suggested he take the photo bauble which showed him and Nana. However, being four and not at all sentimental or cognizant of the heavy-laden feeling behind my suggestion, he decided he wanted to bring one of the robin ornaments instead. I had gotten three felt bird ornaments that he had taken a liking to and insisted on hanging on the tree earlier, so a robin it was going to be for show and tell. Unfortunately, when I collected him Friday evening, he sniffled and admitted he couldn’t find the robin. He confessed that he “hadn’t been careful enough with it.” I hugged him and told him it was ok. The robin was just going to have a weekend sleepover in school and we would retrieve it again on Monday.
Come Monday evening, he bounded down the steps of the creche and showed me the robin which had survived its impromptu weekend getaway with no apparent ill effects. Well, no effects but one – all of his nest mates had packed up and flown west for the year (well, as far west as the shed at the bottom of our garden at least) and this little robin was now all alone in the house. I contemplated adding him to the decoration boxes in then shed, but then recalled a tradition that Nana used observe. Every new year when she took down all the ornaments, and various decorations, she would pick one item and leave it up discreetly somewhere in the house all the way until the following Christmas. Allegedly this is for good luck. However I have never been able to find any background to this explanation and I think it is much more likely that at some point a number of years ago, someone somewhere forgot to put away one of the ornaments and it ended up staying up for the whole year due to laziness, so the excuse of it being intentionally left out for good luck was invented to cover up the lack of effort.
Ergo, the robin now perches under the fireplace mantel, and I think I will keep him there. Hawkeye has not remarked on this particular addition to the household yet but I’m sure I’ll hear his opinion on this sooner or later.
However, other than one lost robin and the discreetly hung window lights, Christmas has been removed from the house.
“Christmas is over,” Hawkeye declared to me after we were finished putting everything away.
“Yes it is, honey. Until next year.”
“Santa’s gone home to the North Pole.”
“Yes he has.”
I heard The Mister laughing in the background. “Yes, yes he is. Santa’s completely locked.”