(image via Wikimedia Commons: Space Station over Sedona.)
For the first couple of Christmas eve's of my daughter's life, I would take her over to the computer and show her Santa's current position on the sweet and dopey Santa NORAD tracking site. Even by the time she turned four years old, though, she was beginning to get suspicious that this cartoon Santa had little to do with the real one.
I needed a better shtick. And last year I found the best one ever. I will definitely be pulling this one again this year.
Just around her bed time I warned her that Santa was coming soon and she definitely needed to be asleep if he was going to stop. We put out milk and cookies and carrots as I kept checking the time on my watch.
At precisely 7:34 I said "I think he's about to fly overhead right about now."
"Yeah, let's go outside and look," I whispered.
We went out to the back yard, looked up at the sky for about a minute, and then something that looked like a little star silently rose from the southwestern horizon, passed straight overhead, and disappeared behind the mountains to the north.
My daughter gasped.
"Hurry inside. He's on his way!" I said.
My daughter ran inside, jumped in bed, and pulled up the covers.
Someday she'll figure out the trick, but until she does, she and I will be standing outside every Christmas eve, waiting for our glimpse of real magic flying across the sky.