“And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…”
“Santa, Baby, hurry down the chimney tonight…”
“Down the chimney Santa comes, and never makes a peep…”
It’s no secret that Santa’s modus operandi is to land his reindeer on the roof and slide down the chimney with his bag of toys for good girls and boys.
But, what if your home doesn’t have a chimney?
My daughter was less than two when she realized we didn’t have a chimney. “How will Santa leave us our presents?” she asked.
Enter our first “real” family tradition: The Santa Key. I have tried in vain to research the origins of this fun tradition, and as best as I can find, it was simply thought up by some creative, chimney-less person trying to answer the same question Lily asked me.
I’m lucky enough to have a friend in the antique business. I told her I was looking for an old skeleton key and explained our chimney issue. Lily and I visited her shop, where she pulled out a whole tray of various keys. She told Lily that Santa had left all of the keys there for children whose homes didn’t have chimneys. They were magical and would grant him access to their houses. All she had to do was pick out the “right” key and hang it outside of our front door on Christmas Eve. She told her, “Santa said you would know which key was the right one.” Lily spent several minutes agonizing over the keys until she decided on the perfect one. On the way home, I explained that we had to leave the key outside because Santa’s elves would come and “activate it.” (Creativity points for me—though I really just wanted an excuse to break out the glitter paint!)
That night, I painted the key with glittery silver paint, attached a pretty ribbon, and left it securely in the arms of our new Elf on the Shelf, Buddy.
When Lily woke up the next morning and saw the key, her eyes lit up. She was SO excited to hang that key on the door on Christmas Eve and was very relieved that Santa had a way into our home to deliver the goods.
You, too, can make a Santa Key, even if you don’t have an “in” at an antique store. I have seen many versions of the Santa Key now on Pinterest, Amazon, and even Etsy and eBay. Attach a little note from Santa to make it a little more personal. Add glitter or ribbon or anything you like to make the key yours. “Deliver” the key in a Christmas envelope, or, if you’re an Elf family, let him (or her) show up with it one day. The possibilities are endless. The whimsy it adds to Santa and Christmas is amazing, and I love that, even a few years later, Lily’s face still lights up when she spies the key for the first time each season.