Saralee Perel

Award-winning columnist, Saralee Perel, can be reached at 

Her novel, Raw Nerves, is now available as a paperback and an e-book on

Santa Claus Rocks in Marstons Mills, Massachusetts

It started so simply, on a walk in the woods.

My husband, Bob, stood in front of a massive stone boulder, stirred by its stark splendor.

“Wouldn’t you love something like this in our yard?” he asked. “It’s so magnificent!” And when I saw the deepness of his wonderment, I swore to myself, somehow  . . .  I am going to make this happen.

I had no idea where to start. Who would? I called monument companies and gardening centers. Then I called a company I saw in the Cape Cod yellow pages, named Final Touch Landscaping.

Stephen, the owner, didn’t act like I was too much of a lunatic when I told him I wanted the largest boulder he could find, delivered on Christmas Eve. Actually, he jumped right in. “How about we have Santa deliver it in a sleigh on a flat bed?” I loved the idea. “Where are your septic tanks?” he asked.

Bob turned pale when I asked him that same question several days later. “Your gift is too heavy to go over them,” I hinted. Later, I saw him rummaging through cabinets looking for Kava, or some other new anti-anxiety herb on which we always spend a fortune.

Three days before Christmas, I called the Cape Cod Times photo department and told somebody named Ron about the rock. “Why?” he wondered.

“It’s what Bob wants,” I said.

Then I called local TV. These were not easy calls. Can you imagine explaining that Santa will deliver an 18,000 pound boulder on Christmas Eve? (You got it. Nine colossal tons.)  I invited all our neighbors to greet Santa, but I wouldn’t say what he was bringing.

On December 24 at two p.m., 12 pizzas arrived. I had bedecked our new shed with wreathes, lights, cookies and soda.

At three, I said to Bob, “It’s time.” We stood at the end of the driveway, alone. Oh God, I thought. Nobody’s coming to meet Santa. And I was so hoping we’d have a party in the shed. And then, like an image from a Dickens tale, children with their dogs emerged from the woods. Parents came out of their houses. The TV station van pulled up and the Times photographer arrived. I was trembling with excitement.

Then came the air horn, blasting away, as a caravan of trucks filled with families in Christmas costumes came rumbling down the street. Police closed the road to traffic. Over loud speakers, we heard “Merry Christmas Bob!” as Santa rang sleigh bells from the front of a giant flatbed which carried wooden reindeer, kids dressed as elves and a bright red sleigh with the rock.

Bob’s expression was priceless. He didn’t speak for minutes. Finally, he whispered, “You bought me a rock?”

“Why not?” We hugged. “It’s what you wanted.”

And so, we had our party. Everyone rollicked around the boulder with overflowing plates of pizza and Oreos. Carols filtered through the air. Our story was told on that night’s local news. Our picture was in the paper with the words, “Tons of Love” underneath.

It was a Christmas only dreams are made of.

Late that night, we climbed the rock and sat on the top sharing cookies. I thought of all the people that helped make this fairy tale happen and I pictured my community gathered in awe. We had all re-discovered holiday magic that day, when Santa Claus rocked Marstons Mills.