Monday, December 06, 2010

the secret santa

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but we really hit the jackpot with this neighborhood.


I love almost everything about it.

Within a week of us moving in, we were contacted by a woman who introduced herself as head of the "Welcoming Committee." Charlie answered the call and he actually started laughing thinking it was a joke, until she arranged an appointment to drop by our house. When she came over, there were two other neighborhood women with her, and in their arms were fresh baked cookies, homegrown vegetables and an assortment of fliers and brochures for Things To Do in the area.

I felt like I'd died and gone to awesome neighborhood heaven.

Every weekday morning, the neighborhood social club meets at the school bus stop. Children will cheerfully toss around footballs while their parents will congregate, clutching cups of steaming coffee, and talk about anything and everything. Long after the school bus has picked up the kids and driven out of sight, people will continue to stand around, chatting.

It's one of the many highlights of my husband's day.

And mine, when I have the rare privilege of working from home.

Since we've moved in, there have been several invitations to various dinner parties. We attended a fantastic Oktoberfest block party. And then, there was the most spectacular Halloween.

The fun just goes on and on and on.

Last weekend, we received an e-mail asking if we'd like to participate in the neighborhood Secret Santa. How it works is each child in the neighborhood, is assigned to a child Secret Santa, and that child is assigned to a different child Secret Santa and so on and so forth until all the children are accounted for. Then, over the course of three weeks, three small gifts (totaling no more than $20.00) will be wrapped and deposited on their doorstep.

But only at night, once it's pitch black outside.


Yesterday, I took the children shopping for the four children we are Secret Santa-ing. And then yesterday afternoon, we meticulously wrapped all 12 of the presents. Once nightfall was upon us, the children got dressed from head-to-toe in black clothes and then, we drove around the neighborhood dropping gifts off on doorsteps, ringing doorbells and SPRINTING back to the car before we could be seen. Everything went swimmingly, until the last house where the mother might have caught sight of our minivan, as we sped away.

Once we arrived back home, I told my children how proud I was of them for graciously giving away gifts that they had helped to pick out. Not once did they ask if we could keep anything and not once did they ask to play with toys that they knew we'd be passing on to other families.

*Tear. I'm really so proud.

Today, the children are strategizing our next round of drop-offs and how to best stay incognito. This afternoon when I came home from work I found William searching for a piece of rope that would be long enough to reach our neighbors roof and then, guide him down the chimney. When I asked him to explain just what he was planning to do once inside, he said, "That's the easy part. I'll drop off the present and if they don't have a dog, I'll sneak in to their kitchen and see if they have anything good to eat!"


Yes indeed, I'm either raising a generous heart, or a pint-sized klepto.


  1. We used to live in a neighborhood where not only would we socialize at the bus stop but the kids and dads would play a nightly game of kickball in the summer, while the moms sat on the driveways and had cold drinks. I loved that neighborhood.

    I love the idea of the Secret Santa. Our neighborhood does something similar - somebody starts by leaving an anonymous goody bag - cocoa, candy canes, Christmas stickers - on one neighbor's porch with a note to pay it forward. It's great fun to move it on and go shopping for a family goody basket to leave in secret.

    Can't wait to hear how the rest of your Santa-ing goes.

  2. I love, love, love your new neighborhood. God bless their overachieving hearts.

  3. bawhahahahahaha I love it he'll get something to eat. What an awesome neighborhood!! not anything we would find here in cali.

  4. Wow you really landed in neighborhood heaven,
    secret Santa's for the kids. Brilliant idea.

  5. son did the all-black thing for Halloween 'boo-bag' drop offs. Such fun :)

  6. I'm not sure if you're willing to share this information with a random blog reader, but I was wondering if you could share where you live?

    My husband and I live in the DC area (Northern VA) and are currently thinking about moving and deciding what areas to look in. Your neighborhood sounds amazing. We have a 6 month old son and I would love for him to grow up in such a great neighborhood.