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In 2014, I was at the Dollar Store when a wall of Santa heads caught my eye. I guess that if they had been faces with red hats I wouldn’t have given them a second look but the hats were all different colors. There was one with a deep rich velveteen blue hat and I had to have it, blue being my favorite color. As I took it down, something odd caught my eye.
One of the Santas had a cap that was tartan!
A lovely woman, Catherine who was almost 90 and a war bride, was living down the hall. After all these years since World War II, she still had a pronounced Scottish accent. It made her all the more endearing. She had shared with me stories of her life in the United States and shown me many pictures. But she loved talking about her homeland of Scotland when she was swept off her feet by a handsome American soldier.
Oh, I thought, I have to get her that tartan head Santa! I’ll bet she never saw anything like it.
Catherine had made friends with Julie, who lived across the hall. They looked out for each other and took turns making dinner each night.
Well, if I get one for Catherine, I’ll have to get one for Julie. But I wasn’t sure what she would like and I still wanted it to still be different, so I got a green Santa head.
When I got home, I realized that it was difficult to get something for someone as, for some reason; it seems to mean we want something in return. It was the Dollar Store! A buck! So, late at night, I just hung the Santa heads on their door handles and never said a word. I never heard them say a word but, instead of taking them in and putting them on their trees, they left them on their doors.
That made me feel good and when I walked the hall every day, I smiled just seeing them there.

In 2015, I heard Catherine’s family in her apartment telling her they got her something really nice for her Christmas door that year. Later, I saw her son putting up a lovely green bough. I thought of the tartan head Santa and hoped that she still had it. But if not, it was only a buck, I mused.
The next day I noticed, nestled in the greenery, the tartan head Santa!
Early in December, my blue head Santa fell and broke. I never saw the green head Santa again. But I feel they live on in the tartan head Santa…

It is now 2016 and the greenery and the tartan head Santa are back on Catherine’s door for another Christmas. Talk about being a ‘Secret Santa!’

It is now 2017, Tartan Head Santa back on Catherine's door! Sure makes me smile. She is 93 now.


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