… on camelot and christmastime responsibility


Well, it’s that time of year again.

All year long, I try to fly under the radar.

By all appearances, I’m just a regular guy (well…’gal’).

I live amongst you, not standing out, not expecting any special treatment. Just going about my business, and not attracting much attention at all.

Sure, there is the occasional smile I get – you know the one – when I hand my credit card over to an on-the-ball store clerk who actually reads my name or asks for my I.D.

Or the one I get when someone asks for my full name (and I admit, it’s kinda cute when someone asks for it over the phone and I hear a little chuckle).

Most of the time, people don’t make the actual link.

It’s kind of like being a Kennedy…. I mean, if Camelot was snowy and populated with silver and gold bedecked trees, cute and the occasional abominable snowman on the loose (pre-tooth extraction).

I am, as you know, a Dingle.

But every once in a while, usually at this time of year – and after a certain Christmas classic has been on television – someone asks me if I’m one of the Dingles.

And this year it was my friend, Karen.

When I woke up this morning, I had the following text on my phone:

Having been here before, I smiled and read on.

There was this:



I never get over the idea that I’ve married into Christmas royalty. I mean, sure, we’re now generations away from the day Dingle Kringle found that beautiful baby boy on the doorstep, the only clue being the name tag emblazoned ‘Claus’. My long-ago relatives called the boy Kris. It was only after he was grown, and was ready to step into the boots and red suit that would make him famous, that the Kringles told him of that name tag. And he became Santa Claus to all the world.


Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great (plus a few more ‘Greats’) Grandpa Dingle Kringle at the moment he discovered baby Kris on the doorstep.

So, sure, Kringle was the last name of that family. Dingle Kringle was but one of the Kringles. He was named for Mrs. Kringle’s family – the Dingles. It was sort of like when my second cousin once removed named her daughter Sinclair after her maiden name, but not nearly as controversial as that decision (which sent my Aunt Phyllis (‘Aunt P.’) into a tailspin of wondering what little Sinclair’s nickname would be (she feared that ‘Sindy’ would get her made fun of because it wasn’t the traditional spelling of ‘Cindy’, and that ‘Clair’ sounded like an old lady (at the time, as it has since become quite fashionable) Aunt P. worries about things like that. Somebody has to.)

Anyway, being a Dingle is like being a Shriver. You get all the perks without the annoying recognition (unless you marry a Schwartzenegger, then you are sunk).

So, sure, this time of year we get a little attention. Most people think it’s because the name is cute and Christmassy, but others who make the real connection know.

And with great power, comes great responsibility.

Even if that power is derived from a good deed from many generations ago (and even if it was acquired only through marriage).

There are indeed perks too. I mean, unless there is a real Christmas lover who owns or hostesses at a restaurant, we Dingles aren’t necessarily going to get the best table. And, sure, we still have to pay shipping unless we join Amazon Prime or order more than $150 worth of stuff. But there are perks.

Well, I don’t want to be braggy

Okay! I’ll tell you a couple of them but don’t tell anyone I told you.

So, my kids had a direct line to Santa their entire lives.

As I told them when they were little, if they gave me their Christmas lists on time, it would be absolutely certain that their letters got to the top of Santa’s pile.

Also, they always got – and still get – a personal letter from Santa every single Christmas morning. It thanks them for the cookies and reindeer snacks they leave out on Christmas Eve and is always personal and a little silly. Because he watches them extra close all year long. It’s a family thing.

Also, when we were living in Australia, Santa visited our house last and was so tired that he fell asleep. And when the kids woke up, he was right there in the living room, and actually posed for pictures before heading back to the North Pole (and that was pretty huge because, as you know, he visits that part of the world first, so he had to come all the way back from the last time zone to make that visit. But family comes first).

Photographic proof:


When Santa fell asleep at our house in Australia. That’s puny Mac with him on the left.

All the responsibility and secrecy has been hard. I don’t really look forward to the polygraph tests and periodic security reviews. But that pre-marriage questionnaire was totally worth it, because that family reunion at the North Pole was the best (and I’ve managed to avoid the mandatory memory erasing each and every year – it’s like that flashy thing they used in Men in Black).  I can assure you, Santa’s Castle and workshops are everything you’ve imagined and more.

Plus, since the Abominable Snowman (we call him Bumbles, just like all his friends do) had his teeth removed, he really does put the stars on top of all the Christmas trees and we all clap every single time.  He has the nicest smile, that Bumbles.

Side note: We are only distantly related to Bumbles (like a wicked distant cousin a few times removed) but it is good that there is some connection because – as noted in the movie ‘Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer’ – Bumbles Bounce. And Grampa bounces (which recently saved his life).  It’s genetic.

Anyway, I’d better get going. I have a lot of Christmas smiles and good wishes and happiness to spread around. As I said, this time of year we Dingles have a lot of responsibility.


Okay, sure.

We don’t really like too much attention, so keep it on the low low, but if you want to tell your family (or trusted friends) that you actually know a Dingle, go ahead.

Just not too many people though, okay? It’ll get a little nuts trying to contain Marshal Dillon Dingle if he discovers paparazzi hiding in our bushes again.

Until next time….

Thanks for readin’.

* As always, you can come on over to Just Ponderin’s facebook page to comment or just hang out.