But, just for the sake of discussion, let’s travel back to 1823 when the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas" (better known today as "The Night Before Christmas") was first published on December 23 in the Troy, NY, Sentinel.
Now… We have to remember that back in 1823 there were no televisions, radios or catalogs, and cell phone service was spotty at best. So, it took many years before the true story of Santa Claus could be fully communicated and understood by virtually everyone.
By way of example, let’s pretend it’s 1824, and we’re living in a suburb of Detroit when Santa first began making his Christmas Eve journey. It’s now Christmas morning, and a typical family of four is standing in their living room wondering, “What in the world happened here last night?”
Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door…
“Mr. Hank Hughes?” asks the man in a business suit.
“Yes,” answers Mr. Hughes.
“Mr. Hughes, I’m Detective Williams with the Police Department, Robbery Division. I understand you reported an incident last evening.”
“Yes, Detective. Please come in and have a seat. This is my wife, Rita.”
“Mrs. Hughes,” the Detective says, shaking her hand, “Very nice to meet you.”
“My pleasure,” she responds, “I’m just so sorry you have to come out on Christmas Day.”
“No problem, Ma’Am.” he assures her, “Just part of the job. And, to be honest, we’ve had to call in extra help just to deal with last night’s rash of break-ins.
“So,” the Detective continues, “You say someone broke in here, as well. Have you discovered anything missing?”
“Well, that’s the strange part,” Explains Mr. Hughes, “We did find a half-empty glass of milk, a package of cookies had been opened and a new sack of carrots is missing”
“U-m-m-m,” replies the Detective, “This is sounding very familiar.”
“Really?” exclaims Mrs. Hughes. “What’s familiar?”
“We’ll get to that in a minute,” states the Lieutenant, “Please continue.”
“All right,” says Mr. Hughes, “Here’s the real weird part. The burglar actually left four packages, but they were all wrapped up in paper and ribbon, kinda like a birthday present.”
“I see,” says the Detective, “And I’ll bet if we check all the doors and windows, we’ll find no trace of forced entry. Am I correct?”
“That’s amazing,” gushes Mrs. Hughes, “You’re absolutely right. In fact, we believe he came in through the chimney and left the same way. Could that be possible?”
“It appears that’s exactly what happened, Mrs. Hughes. And I’m afraid most of your neighbors experienced the same situation.”
“Oh, my Heavens,” Mr. Hughes responds. “All the neighbors?”
“Well, no, not at all of them,” the Detective explains. “We did a thorough canvas of the neighborhood, and every family except the Greenberg’s and the Weinstein’s were robbed. We’re working on that angle.”
“Do you have any clues, Detective?” asks a bewildered Mr. Hughes.
“Actually, we do have one eye witness.” The Detective shares with them. “A man who works nights at the Stagecoach Assembly Plant, Downriver, a Mr. Louis Achille, reported he was walking to work when he spotted an overweight man in a red suit standing on top of the Miller’s residence with a handful of these wrapped packages.”
“Why, that’s awful,” Mrs. Hughes replies in suspense. “Did the Miller’s lose milk and cookies as well?”
“Yes, it seems so.” The Detective confirms. “I’m afraid this is very wide-spread.”
“Oh, Dear,” Mrs. Hughes says, wringing her hands. “Do you suppose he’ll come back again? I mean, should we block up our chimney, or have an elaborate motion-sensitive alarm system installed?”
“Oh, my word, no.” says the Detective, seeking to calm her. “We’ve never seen anything like this before, and I’m comfortable telling you its highly-unlikely this will ever happen again.”
How about that?