"What's this?!" Boss Man popped up from the far side of the bed, hands waving in the air.
I squinted, trying to make out the objects he clutched. Oh crap! The stocking stuffers! He'd been entertaining himself by going through the suitcase, and now he held some of the precious few gifts we'd brought with us.
"Put them back," I said, trying not to pounce on the suitcase to prevent him finding anything else.
"But what are they?" he asked, as he shoved the toys under the flap. His eyes were enormous and the corner of his mouth twisted up. He knew, absolutely knew, he'd found something he shouldn't. Something that heralded fun.
I shook my head and shooed him into the other room.
Within two minutes, he was back, climbing onto my lap.
"Mama," he whispered with a giggle. "Mama, I really want to know what those things were."
I looked helplessly at Beloved Husband. Do we tell him? I wondered. Boss Man had come home from school two weeks before and casually asked, "Who puts the presents under the tree?"
"I do," I had replied.
"Aha! YOU'RE Santa Claus!" he had shouted.
"Er, Santa puts presents in the stockings," I had said. "We put the gifts from each other under the tree."
"Oh. Okay." Boss Man had happily accepted my explanation.
But now, here we were, evidence in his hot little hands. My husband either avoided my eye or was busy doing something else, and I was left scrambling for a solution. I didn't mind telling Boss Man that there's no Santa, but I knew he would ruin it for Snuggle Monkey, who was excited about Santa for the first time.
And then it hit me, the words coming out of my mouth even before I had thought them through. "They're presents for Santa's elves."
Boss Man looked at me, one eyebrow raised.
"They work all year making gifts for children, and no one ever gives them anything. So we brought a few toys we thought they might like."
He frowned for a moment, considering this, then grinned. "Yay! Can we write a note? I want to write it!"
I helped him write a note to Santa, telling him the gifts were for the elves. And on Christmas morning, Santa left a note for us, thanking us for the presents and saying he thought Snuggle Monkey might like the same gifts. Boss Man thought that was very considerate of Santa to give the same gifts we did.
What do you think? Fact or fiction?
Last week's story? Fact.