It was back in 2004 and I was at church when Pastor Tom spoke about a thing he did called Christmas Angel. For the 12 nights before Christmas you pick someone who may be struggling, had a bad year or just need a lift at Christmas and drop off presents. The first night you leave one of something, and the second night two, and the third night three etc. But there is a catch, you drop the present, ring the doorbell, run, and try not to get caught. Of course if you have your children help, they can do the ringing and running and you drive the getaway car. He had this done to him by a mormon family who never revealed who they were. He said we shouldn’t tell either but if someone did that for me and never said who it was, it would bother me forever. So on day twelve I always left a note revealing who I was. Although he said this was a way to bless others, over the years it has been a big blessing to our family.
The person or people I have chosen were always picked by God. He put their name on my heart at some point during the year. Some years it’s really early like April or May and sometimes its been as late as October. Now God doesn’t talk to me in an audible voice for that would surely make me a crazy person but I just get the feeling this person is the one. Most of the time it is a patient I have cared for, but sometimes its a friend that doesn’t know this secret about me. This year I received a little push back from who I chose, to the point I started questioning myself (and God). But in true God fashion I got the answer loud and clear on day ten of dropping gifts off. I received a note saying this girl had a bad year and every night she had to have painful dressing changes and knowing she would be receiving a gift made the discomfort less. I started crying when I read the note. After all it is the exact reason we have done this every year since 2004.
This is the first Christmas we had without Emily. She is working out in California and ended up spending Christmas with the Lindsay’s. If she had to not be at home, she was at the second best place in the world. After all had Brian and I both kicked the bucket, our kids were willed to them. There were times they threatened to kill us so they could live with them. Emily was very sad that she didn’t get to Christmas angel with us. Allyson said to me she liked houses that were farther away because we had more time to talk. So I started thinking about some of the highlights and I shared some of them with this years girl. I decided to blog them tonight for my girls.
The very first year I worked evenings so I had to drop the gifts off during the day. Since I worked the first three days I dropped them off during the day. Apparently that person worked during the day so finally on day three I made my sister call from her work and say this is your Christmas angel please check your front porch. The next year we did my neighbors I had as a child. She was convinced it was a neighbor down the street and each night would yell thank you and say the lady’s name. She never once thought it was me. One year the family lived in De Soto. We arrive in the dark and not one single mailbox has the address on it. None of the houses do either. I attempt to get on google earth but the houses are blocked by trees. By this time I am freaking out, screaming and cursing when the husband walks out to check the mail. Last year the guy I did was convinced he had a stalker and almost called the cops on us. He also had no numbers on his house so my oldest went rooting through his mailbox (which was attached to the house) to see what address was on the mail. One year we did Allyson’s friends who are twins. The first night she was at their house so I had to deliver by myself. I knocked on the door so loud that the guy across the hall opened his door also. I scared them all so bad they bumped heads on the table they were under. Before I had a smart phone I had to use map quest. I arrive to the street I was supposed to turn on and it had turned into a QT with no way to get through. I had to call Brian who had to get out his street guide to get us to the correct house. One year we pulled up to the house and Kayla says they are in the garage. I say no they are not, deliver the gift. She gets out starts to walk and I hear them in the garage. I say F**k they are in the garage, get back in the car.
This year was no different. The very first night I had worked and went by myself. There were no numbers on this house so I had to walk up to the neighbors to see their numbers. I ring the doorbell, hit the second step and my ankle goes sideways. I almost fell and I said oh hell no, I am not getting caught on day one and made it down the steps. One day just as I was getting out of the car, they came out of the house to go somewhere. I jumped back in the car and hid till they left. Then became paranoid they would forget something and come back and catch me. On the eleventh night just as Allyson was crossing the street a van pulled up into their driveway so she came back to the car. We did a lap around the subdivision and then she delivered. But the thing we will always remember is the stop sign in the middle of a street with houses on each side of the road. No cross-road or anything. The sidewalks are on both sides of the streets as well so we couldn’t figure out the purpose. On the last day I was actually going to ring the bell and wait (I’ve only done this one time in all these years) but they were not home.
So what started out as a way to bless others has turned into a Christmas tradition that we all love and look forward to each year. We’ve had great family talks and great family yelling. We’ve brightened 19 families over the years and hope to do 19 more. Although sooner than I care to admit, it will be me by myself so I better keep on running so I don’t get caught.
Mole Moral ~ Ding dong ditch still seems wrong even when leaving fun little presents.