How Horse Manure Brought St. Nick to Life!

I am pretty sure that my sister and I were the luckiest little girls in the world during Christmas time. We thought our luck had something to do with the tradition of chasing down the chimney sweep man. The story goes that you achieve good luck if you can touch him and get some of his magical soot on your person. The truth is, it was all due to our sweet and clever parents. I think they would get just as excited as us, if not more so, during the holiday season. I know one year they couldn’t wait for us to wake up on our own so after applying her makeup and fixing her hair for the family pictures, mom would wake us up at around 4:00 a.m. to watch us open presents.

But the most memorable Christmas for me was when I was seven years old and my sister was three. Our daddy was in the Air Force and we lived in Germany for four years. Our mother, who was and still is very childlike, did her best to make every day special. She worried that uprooting us from “Heaven”, a.k.a. our grandparents farm in Colorado, would traumatize us. We were in no way spoiled, just over-loved if there is such a thing. Daddy was, of course, mom’s partner in crime and had the fun part of putting together our toys, eating the cookies, and drinking the milk we always left for Santa without getting busted by my sister and myself.

Since we lived in Germany, we were introduced to the St. Nick tradition. My sister and I were too little to understand who this St. Nick fellow was. We were scoring goodies through the entire month of December! You see, St. Nick brought us little presents and candy every night of the glorious month as long as we were good girls. Because St. Nick rode a horse, children were told to put their boots outside on the doorstep so he could get to every child. We even had “special boots” to leave out that we didn’t actually wear because our mom thought that would have been too gross for us to eat candy out of our stinky snow boots. Okay, we were a little spoiled!

Every morning our boots would be full of chocolate coins, chocolate St. Nick’s, wind up toys, and Kiddles. Remember Kiddles?! They were tiny little dolls with crazy colored hair that smelled like different fruits and even cola. They came in little bottles, and some you could wear as necklaces. Our parents told us that bad children only got coal and switches left in their boots; something my sister and I really weren’t too worried about.

However, one morning we woke up to check our boots and found switches! Our mom thought it would be a funny little trick to play on us. We had been so curious about this mysterious St. Nick, but now we were unimpressed with his incompetence. Mom’s joke was backfiring on her because now her two little blonde angels were mad. How dare St. Nick stick it to us like this! He had obviously mistaken our bratty neighbor kid’s boots for ours because we knew we had done nothing to tarnish our halos the day before.

Meanwhile, I had to go to school ticked off at St. Nick’s lack of research on us. Mom came up with plan B which involved getting one of our neighbors to write an apology note saying that he would make it up to us by letting us see him and his horse when he came to deliver our just desserts that evening. My sister and I were too excited and could barely sit still during dinner. Our parents then distracted us with T.V. while we played with our dolls. Now plan B was in motion!

Our neighbor agreed to participate in the ruse by wearing an emerald green robe. He placed the loot into our boots and made horse clomping sounds out in the hall. Our parents shouted “Hurry, girls! We think we hear St. Nick out in the hall!” We booked it to the door and flung it open only to see the back of his green robe as he bolted up the stairs. We didn’t dare chase after him because we lived on the 3rd floor and above us was the attic where the monsters lived, and mom protected us from such things. But I did have another question for them; why had he not waited for us to see him? Plan B was spiraling out of control, but our exhausted parents were determined to keep the magic going so they told us that his horse had taken off upstairs and he had to run after him. I threw them another curve ball and said “Oh, so we can wait here for him to come back downstairs, right?” By now our parents probably just wanted to strangle us, but were quick on their feet and answered with “No, since his horse ran off he didn’t have time to meet us and he knows of a secret passage upstairs away from the monsters that would lead him out to the other children’s homes.”

It was all so exciting, and our eyes were still so wide having at least seen some of St. Nick, that we almost forgot about our gifts.

Just to be on the safe side, and prevent any other doubts we might have, our parents collected horse manure the next day, and placed it on the stairs leading up to the next floor. So finally we had our proof and all it took to make us believers was some carefully placed manure. Where did they get horse manure, you ask? The fruit vendor who came around drove a horse cart and was kind enough share his horse apples!

There’s no end to what parents will do to help keep the magic of Christmas alive for their little angels. May all your Christmases be as magical and memorable as ours.

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