The neighborhood kids all arrived, bundled in holiday scarves and hats, plus patent leather shoes usually reserved for weddings and Sunday Mass at St. Theresa's. Our old house, a large in-city place jammed with the craziness and crayons brought by four young people, was the designated gathering spot -- especially for one famous day each year. And, on that day, we were more than the most popular house in the neighborhood. We got to host Santa ... before Christmas Eve. Why us? Had we clearly put the most distance between naughty and nice? The truth is that we made a successful bid at the local babysitting co-op auction fundraiser and the reward was a one-hour visit from The Big Fella. We invited the neighborhood, the event became a huge success and our home was deemed headquarters for Santa's annual pre-Christmas visit -- regardless of who won "the hour" at subsequent co-op auctions. On that first Santa Day, all of our friends remarked how our home always looked terrific during the holid...
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