The happiest season of the year was Christmas for the Chicago-based Henrikson family. I was the only kid among my friends who could say that I actually saw Santa Claus deliver presents.
Santa made regular appearances decades earlier to another generation of Henrikson and Dixon kids. My dad, Art Henrikson, wrote about these Christmas Eve visits to his Scandinavian grandparents’ home in the 1920’s as follows: “Each year someone would have to go to the store and leave through the front door…minutes later, conversation would lower. I’d hear a tinkle of bells and then a knock on the back door…there was Santa!” In the 1930’s, his younger cousin, Vince Bates, saw Santa at Big Grandma and Big Grandpa’s house a couple of days after Christmas and was amazed: “Of course, he had gifts for all of us, and of course he knew all of us by name, including me!” (More…)