Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Year of the Secret Santa


One year AdventureMan was attending school in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, a special school to train men who aspired to the highest ranks of the military. There were lots and lots of families, all approximately the same age group, and there were lots of family activities. For many of us, it was one of the few times we were stationed in the United States. It was also a high-testosterone, highly competitive environment.

We lived on a small, unique street, about half students and half permanent party – teachers, instructors, people who were not part of the huge student cadre. The “old-timers” organized us into a neighborhood. We had block parties, we babysat one another’s kids, we went to auctions together, and we kept each other’s secrets. Best of all – they introduced us to Secret Santa.

Just before Thanksgiving, we had a potluck and drew names. Each family drew the name of another family, and until the Christmas party, when you revealed whose name you had, you acted as Secret Santa to that family.

It’s funny – I can’t remember all the things that were done for us or things we did for our family; all I can remember is that we had a LOT of fun, and not a single one of us knew who our Secret Santa was. I remember that one of the guest speakers at the school was an old friend of my husband’s. He came to dinner at our house, and after dinner, we asked him to move his car to our Secret Santa family, and then deliver a breakfast bread to them. He was sort-of famous, and when he showed up at the Secret Santa family with the bread, we were hiding upstairs in a darkened bedroom, watching, and we could see the amazement on their faces when this revered gentleman delivered the bread. They were astounded he would be delivering their Secret Santa gift, and they could not imagine whose friend he might be. Oh, what fun!

Baked goods, toys, snow shoveled off the walks, handmade Christmas ornaments – it was all so much fun. At the Christmas dinner, when we all revealed who we had been Santa to, there were shouts of joy and whoops of laughter. Best of all, it really knit us together as a neighborhood, doing good to one another. It was one of the very best Christmas times I can remember.

December 23, 2008 - Posted by | Christmas, Community, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Relationships


  1. That def. sounds like a great way to bring Christmas joy :)!

    Comment by Nicole | December 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. We used to do that when we lived at home. We did each others chores, delivered chocolate bars, etc. It was fun.

    Comment by Q8Dutchie | December 24, 2008 | Reply

  3. It was! We had a great time with it, Nicole! Happy Christmas to you!

    Q8Dutchie – Hope you have a great Christmas! Hugs!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 24, 2008 | Reply

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