Anyone who has followed by radio show or blogs recently has been updated on the mystery of our Secret Santa.
Someone, going back a couple of weeks, began leaving Christmas goodies on our doorstep. Each gift had a note attached that read: "On the 1st Day of Christmas", etc. marking whichever day it happened to be.
Everything from home baked chocolate chip cookies to nice beverage coasters to Costco Holiday Pretzels.
But who was this Secret Santa?
The mystery was driving us nuts. Especially when my family began fearing it could be the work of a Stalker Santa.
Whoever it was managed to evade our cameras and our random checks at the front door. They always managed to drop the goods and leave, completely undetected.
Many listeners have asked for an update, having lost track of the story and mystery over the Christmas weekend.
I finally caught someone on the 8th Day of Christmas on a game/hunting cam I attached to a tree by the front door. BINGO. CAUGHT!!
Nope. My wife and I had NO CLUE who the woman in the picture was.
The next day, the Secret Santa was finally CAUGHT--sort of.
But it wasn't easy.
It was my first of several days off last week and I was determined to put my wife's mind at ease.
I would become a stalker of sorts myself and plant myself at the front door and just wait...and watch. And wait and watch some more.
Sitting on a kitchen stool at the front door, I was unyielding in my quest to catch whoever was leaving us these gifts. So I looked out that peephole. And kept looking.
For HOURS. And HOURS.
About 7 hours into my stake out, I spied a woman making her way up our walkway.
HAHA!! I was about to catch her once and for all!!
I waited until she put the 9th Day of Christmas gift on our doormat and turned to walk away.
That's when I opened the front door and made her jump 20 feet in the air like the lead reindeer launching Santa's sleigh.
"Ummm. Excuse me?" I said.
She turned around nervously. HUH?? I had NO CLUE who this woman was.
And to make things even stranger in a Scooby Doo mystery caper sort of way, this woman was NOT the same woman we had caught the day before on our hunting cam!
Were there multiple Secret Santas?? What gave here??
I asked her if we knew each other and she said no. I then asked, confused, why she was leaving us these gifts every day.
She said it was from the family she worked for.
Just kidding. Sorry. I digress.
The family she worked for?
Turns out she was the babysitter for a family who clearly KNEW US...and who WE clearly knew as well.
We were STUMPED, as we had called everyone we knew in the area and they all denied it was them.
"Please have your boss know that although it has been very kind to give us these gifts...we are kind of spooked as to who is doing this...etc."
I explained the concern of stalkers, etc. and she felt so bad.
She would not reveal the identity of the family, and short of sending her for waterboarding lessons at Gitmo, I knew I wasn't going to pry it out of her.
So I politely requested that her boss please call us immediately and let us know their identity.
Hours later I got a call.
It was the MOM of our oldest son's school buddy!!
BINGO. The mystery was solved.
The reason we hadn't recognized her on the cam was because I had only met her briefly once and my wife hadn't met her at all.
Her son had selected us as the recipient family. Turns out THEY were the recipients last Christmas, and the tradition is that you become the GIVER the following Christmas.
But the buck will stop with us.
Even though we all got a good laugh over it after the fact, it is still not something I would ever do to a family or individual.
No offense to anyone who DOES participate in this tradition.
I just think in this day and age, it's not the best thing to leave anonymous gifts on someone's door. Especially home baked items.
Would you eat or expect someone ELSE to eat home baked items from a kitchen and baker that is a mystery?
Naturally, most people would not immediately suspect a stalker. But to be honest, after being in that boat myself, it was an easy conclusion to come to for my family.
And besides. In this day and age, imagine leaving items with peanuts or other ingredients people might be allergic to. Or what if our dog had gotten into the chocolate muffins and DIED from eating them?
All SORTS of liability questions to add on to the list of ethical dilemmas.
Happy to say the mystery is resolved. It was a friendly person in our sphere, not a raging lunatic.
But sorry to say, the buck WILL indeed stop with us.
If you receive Christmas goodies on your doorstep next Christmas, ask the elves who it might be.
And rest assured knowing it wasn't from the Hughes Bunch.