SCIS: Santa Came Investigation Services
While Santa is much too experienced to leave evidence of his home invasions, my children were starting to doubt at an early age. The half-eaten cookies routine was getting old, so I had to form the SCIS (like the TV show NCIS), which stands for Santa Came Investigation Services. The kids were thrilled to be detectives the morning after Christmas, and gave mom and dad a chance to actually drink their morning coffee before the wrapping paper went flying.
The first year we set a “trap” by making reindeer food. The recipe is simple: mix a ¼ cup of oats with a teaspoon of glitter. On Christmas Eve, spread the “feed” over the lawn. Whether there’s snow or not matters not, the glitter sparkles in the light from lamp posts and Christmas lights. The kids were positive the reindeer would stay in front of the house long enough for them to catch Santa at his game. Unfortunately, the kids were just too sleepy to stay awake, and mom’s camera needed charging, so we talked about plans for next year as we enjoyed Christmas morning. Overnight a light snow fell and the oats and glitter weren’t visible any more.
The second year the kids forgot all about SCIS until they woke Christmas morning to discover that Santa had left “magical” footprints on the carpet, magical because the snow hadn’t melted (made by shaking talcum or baking powder around a pair of boots, then returning said boots to closet). That morning we all talked about what we loved about the holidays as we opened our presents. The kids said that Santa must be slipping since they found his footprints.
The next year, Santa really slipped up. When the kids woke up Christmas morning, we heard shouts from the sliding glass door near our kitchen. Santa left so quickly, his pants got stuck in the door and he didn’t have time to rescue them! We all laughed as we imagined what he did after our house. The kids’ answers were funny and creative, ranging from his having extra pairs of pants in his sleigh to a pair being parachuted in from the North Pole by Mrs. Claus.
Throughout the years of belief and doubts and disbelief, the kids continued to look for clues at Santa’s “crime scenes” just for the fun of it. A family tradition had been born. So when my son married and had his own children, he and his wife took the tradition into the 21st century, re-creating their own SCIS every Christmas morning for their kids. To this day, Santa continues the legend as he leaves little bits of evidence for the grandchildren to discover, even at Grandma’s house. And to this day, Santa has never been caught, but his clues lead us all on a merry chase of wonder and belief.