One in the morning.
I’d kept myself awake by watching old movies on TV, wearing headphones so that the house would be silent (except for Marjorie’s snoring in the master bedroom.)
Time to go. I got my Santa suit out of the locked trunk and shrugged into it, squeezed into my rubber boots, pulled the wire loops of the shaggy white beard over my ears and stuck the white tasselled red hat over my head, A quick check in the mirror and I was satisfied with my effort. ‘You never know, one might be awake,’ I thought.
I pulled the sackful of goodies from the trunk and, as much as possible, tiptoed upstairs to the first bedroom. I’d been round all the doors a couple of days previously and had oiled the hinges. No disastrous loud squeaks, you see.
I pushed it open silently. Alice, my four-year-old, was in deep slumber.
I’d arranged all the presents in the sack so that Alice’s were at the top with the others in order of the recipients. Nothing if not a well-planned operation, this!
I placed her gaudy packages at the foot of the bed before slipping sweets and little gifts into the stocking that hung from the bedpost.
Fraser was next, in the adjoining bedroom, ten years of age and snoring like a champion. His was the bulkiest present in the sack and I swore silently as it got stuck in the canvas. After a sweaty 30 seconds, during which Fraser snorted and turned over and I froze, the package freed itself and I put it on the floor next to his bed head, so that it would be the first thing he saw when he got up.
I slipped out silently. The twins were next, sharing a bedroom, seven-year-old Michael and Morris, two incorrigible bundles of mischief, seemingly determined to whiten my hair and wrinkle my brow prematurely.
I listened carefully at the door before opening it silently and cautiously and stepping into the room.
Suddenly the light clicked on, and two happy voices shouted in unison.