The Santa Mouse
If you leave out cheese for the Santa Mouse, he’ll tie presents on the tree in yellow ribbon
9 PM Christmas Eve, 1978
It was 9 o’clock on Christmas Eve, 1978. My sons donned their Star Wars pajamas and anxiously awaited Santa Claus. We were in the kitchen, preparing the cookies to leave by the tree, when five-year-old Billy retrieved some cheese from the refrigerator.
When I asked Billy what the cheese was for, he explained it was for the Santa Mouse. His teacher had read the students in kindergarten a story about a little mouse who tied presents on the tree with yellow ribbons for the children who left the cheese on a plate with Santa’s cookies.
Would I Become a Christmas Grinch?
Who am I to disappoint my child on Christmas Eve? We placed the cheese on the plate with Santa’s cookies. I tucked the boys into bed and went back into the living room. My husband was shaking with laughter.
“It’s not funny,” I exclaimed. “Where are we going to find yellow ribbon at 9 o’clock on Christmas Eve?”
“We’re the adults here,” he laughed. “We can figure something out.”
Searching for Ribbons
I searched the house. There were no yellow ribbons, no yellow bows anywhere. They stumped me. We had one present under the tree that would work for the small gifts to tie on the tree. It was a pack of six miniature cars like the favorite Hot Wheels. All we had to do was to unwrap the box, take out the individual cars, and find something that could pass as a yellow ribbon.
I tried calling all the neighbors who were home, but by midnight, it exhausted me from searching for the elusive yellow ribbon. It was then I remembered the yellow silk blouse in my closet. I purchased it only weeks earlier at Dayton’s, to match the new brown wool suit I bought for a seminar I led at the Thunderbird Hotel. The silk blouse with lace trim was the most expensive single piece of clothing I had ever purchased.
I cradled the blouse in my arms as I headed for the kitchen. The scissors looked huge in my hand as I turned the blouse over. I took a deep breath and cut six long strips from down the back of that beautiful silk blouse. Weary, we tied the toy cars onto the tree branches with the yellow pieces of silk, munched on cookies and cheese, and finally dropped into bed.
We woke up early the next morning to the excited laughter of two little boys. We tiptoed to the doorway to the living room and found the boys in front of the Christmas tree.
The Teacher was Right About Santa Mouse!
“See Billy, your teacher was right!” Our oldest son stood staring at the presents tied to the tree with long yellow silk ribbons of fabric.
I called my oldest son last week and asked him if he remembered the “Santa Mouse” on Christmas.
“I remember the Santa Mouse,” Tom responded. “That was the year all the kids were teasing me. I was stupid to still believe in Santa Claus. When Billy told me about the Santa Mouse book, we waited until bedtime to say anything, so it would be too late for you to get any yellow ribbons. We figured if we woke up on Christmas morning and found toys tied to the tree with yellow ribbons, we’d know for sure if there was a Santa Claus.
It is now Christmas, 2021. We have endured nearly three years of a pandemic. Our families and friends are torn. This seems the best time to revive the story of the Santa Mouse and bring that feeling of wonder and magic back into Christmas. Our possessions mean nothing. Our humanity is in the heart of a young mother willing to sacrifice a precious blouse, allowing her children to believe in miracles on the morning of Christ’s birth.
Be safe and enjoy your Christmas traditions a little more this year, knowing so many won’t.
Author: Peggy McAloon
Be Kind…Be Loved…Pass it on!