So we went with some friends (we'll call them the "Hazelnuts") last night to see Christmas lights, and then came back to our house for hot cocoa. Brother Hazelnut suggested we light off a few fireworks in the street before heating up the cocoa. I was in the house when I heard "a few fireworks" and saw the men and children racing back into the house laughing hysterically.
At 9:30, precisely when we were expecting a prearranged visit from a Jolly Old Elf, the doorbell rang, and we sent seven kids to answer the door as I rounded the corner with my camera ready to capture their delight. Except it wasn't Santa. It was the police. And the kids weren't delighted. (I wisely did not snap a shot, although it took all of my self control not to.) The police informed me (since I was the only adult they could see) that they had received several reports within a 3-block radius that there had been gunfire (one man claimed he had heard an M-16) in the neighborhood. What with all my self-control used up, I turned the time over to the perpetrators.
But we live in a small town. And Brother Hazelnut went to high school with one of the cops. And they confirmed the source of the disturbance and left.
Thirty seconds later, when Santa knocked on the door, not one child volunteered to open it.