Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
— Clement Clarke Moore,
“A Visit from St. Nicholas,” 1822
Peeking out of a box of Christmas decorations was a faded photo folder imprinted “Santa & Me.” Inside was the image of a five-year-old dressed in red sitting on the lap of Santa Claus.
It was the thrill of a lifetime. We had a Santa Claus in the display window here at Gallant-Belk Department Store, but we seldom had Santa in person. We had to write our Christmas letters and make sure they got to the Winder Post Office in plenty of time to make it to the North Pole. If we wanted to see him in person, we had to go to Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta.