“But Mommy, when is Santa coming?”

Susan Manzke

I caught a devil of a cold. So, I thought I’d share a column from the distant past.

These words were written in December 1980. Many of my young readers weren’t alive at that time, but you might enjoy this recount of a time when young children romped through my house.

Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa Manzke’s home 1980, from left, Rebecca, Russell, and Robby.

Questions for Mommy

The kids had their noses pressed to the picture window for days—looking for the first snowflakes to fall. How they could see past their smudges, I don’t know, but they did all right because I finally heard a yell for me to come.

“Mommy, it’s Christmas!” my three-year-old daughter Becky proclaimed. She looked past that lonely little flake and searched the sky for Santa, whom she was sure would be following.

I tried to explain to her that she has almost a month to wait for Christmas.

“It’s snowing!” she cried, refusing to listen to me. Then, in anticipation, she proceeded to tear about the house looking for stockings to hang for Santa to fill.

You may wonder how the kid got the impression Christmas was a roving holiday, which appeared with the advent of the first snow.

Rebecca sorting through Christmas packages 1980.

I don’t wonder, I know. I’m the one who started the whole problem.

It all began one hot July day when one of the kids asked, “When’s Christmas?”

I don’t know how the subject came up, but I answered truthfully, “December 25th.”

“When?” five-year-old Robby asked.

“Five months from now.” It was hard to concentrate on Christmas while wiping sweat out of my eyes.

“Five what?” Becky wanted to know.

Nothing I said satisfied them. I showed them a calendar, counted the days and holidays between July and December. I did everything I could to answer their question.

“But Mommy, when is Santa coming?”

I thought again. What could I say?

“It’s too hot for Santa to come to Wisconsin. He can’t come until it snows. He needs snow for his sleigh.”

That they understood. And the questions stopped. I forgot about Santa for a while. I put him out of my mind until the first snowflake found its way past our picture window.

“It’s snowing! Santa is coming. How is he getting here? The questions began again.

So, I took out the calendar and we counted the days until Christmas, and I reminded them that grandma’s birthday had to come before Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Also, Santa couldn’t come until all the toys were made.

What did all my trouble get me this time?

Another blank look, “But when Mommy?”

Here’s another short story for the Christmas season.

It was the first Christmas after our father passed away. My sister was driving through the city. She looked out the car window and saw Santa riding through the sky with his sled behind his reindeers. My sister’s heart skipped a beat. Our dad loved playing Santa. This seemed to be the real Santa coming for his yearly visit.

She stopped breathing for a moment, before realizing that the Santa she saw in the sky was a reflection of a sign from a bank. Still, we both thought it was a sign from Dad.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;;