I grew up in a fairly-typical three-bedroom, post-WWII era house on the east side of Columbus. It wasn’t spacious, but it was comfortable. It was a wonderful house to grow up in. It lacked one thing, however: a fireplace.
(It also didn’t have a basement, which made me very nervous during tornado warnings, but that’s a story for another day.)
It was the lack of a fireplace that could have spelled disaster at Christmas. Songs and Clement Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas” all talk about Santa landing on the roof and sliding down the chimney. How does Santa do that if the house doesn’t have a fireplace?!
Fortunately, my parents are very smart people. It wasn’t practical to build a fireplace, so they did the next-best thing: they got a magical cardboard fireplace. It had a mantle, logs, a “fire,” and — most importantly — a chimney. Somehow, that cardboard tube that didn’t connect to the outside gave Santa an entryway into the house. It was brilliant.
Years went by and the magical cardboard fireplace started showing the effects of time. The flames didn’t flame quite as high; the mantle started to sag. Eventually, it was time to retire those pieces of red cardboard. Now what would Santa do?!
Santa, like my parents, is smart. He knew that our house required an alternate means of entry. When he saw that the magical cardboard fireplace was gone, he did the logical thing… He came in through the front door.
Merry Christmas, everyone!