My mom, in her infinite wisdom, told me this: "Santa takes a pill and it makes him very, very small. He walks right under the door!"
As implausible as this explanation may seem now, I totally bought it. I think I just needed something, some reassurance that Santa would not face any obstacles in bringing me my gifts. You do NOT want to make things difficult for St. Nick, through such means as not having a chimney. I did briefly wonder how this microscopic Santa would get my full-sized presents under the apartment's front door, but I quickly dismissed it.
Fortunately for us, our current home does have a chimney. It's been cold lately and we've regularly had fires blazing in the evening. It has occurred to A that this could pose a problem for the man in red. She wants my solemn promise that we will not have a fire on Christmas Eve. "Because Santa might burn his feet!" Then she got worried that Santa might also snag the bag somehow and tear a hole in it, thereby allowing my daughter's presents to fall right out on the roof. I have assured her that the bag is as sturdy as they come.
We also discussed the need for her to be sleeping when Santa comes. "Well, I might hear him ho-ho-ho-ing in the living room," she told me solemnly. I replied that she might but that Santa isn't kidding around about that whole knows-when-you're-awake business. If she hears anything, it'll be Mr. Claus stomping around in the basement and cussing like a longshoreman as he attempts to put together the gazillion piece dollhouse (with six double-sided pages of instructions). Mrs. Claus warned Mr. Claus that he should not wait until the very last minute to assemble the doll house, but Mr. Claus has his head up his ass sometimes.
Now, lest you think we are putting too much emphasis on Santa, know that this is not our sole focus. Some of my happier childhood memories involve Christmas and Santa, and I want my daughter to have that, too. Plus, I know that in only a few short years, some brat at school will tell her what's what and then it'll all be over. I want the magic to last as long as possible. At church last Sunday, the pre-k teacher taught the class about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. At our church (Unitarian Universalist) there is also an emphasis on the Winter Solstice and the return of the light (as the days slowly grow longer). My daughter knows that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, although she did accidentally call him Jevins the other day. We gotta work on that.
So, there is a lot of excitement building at our house. We've got the cookies and even a special plate. The shortest member of our clan has even thrown in some last minute good behavior by being compliant at the store today (it could have had something to do with me telling her that the sleigh has not been loaded yet). It looks like Santa will definitely be stopping at our house tomorrow night. Well, if he can get the %&$*ing dollhouse put together . . .