In his blue suit, complete with a gun, he didn't look like Santa. But one Murray family recognized him by the packages he carried.

It's the story of a Christmas that almost wasn't. And without the help of two Murray police officers who went out of their way to make sure this year's Christmas was a happy one, a needy family would have been left out of Santa's flight plan.A Murray resident came home Sunday afternoon and discovered a pile of wrapped presents and a complete turkey dinner waiting on his front porch. Thoughtful Santa's Helping Hand volunteers had left the Christmas trimmings - but at the wrong house.

He didn't have a family that needed the gifts; he hadn't asked for them. So he called the police.

Officer Paul Christiansen could have written a report and gone on to another call. Instead, he gathered the bundle of gifts and started knocking on doors to see if he could find their intended recipients.

No one in the area expressed any need for the Christmas package, and Christiansen finally had to call it a night. The station had no place to keep the turkey, so he placed it on a window sill to keep it frozen.

Officer Rob Hall took over the search for the family without a Christmas Monday morning. He played telephone tag until he thought he'd solved the Case of the Misplaced Christmas.

At Hall's knock, an apartment door opened to rooms devoid of any Christmas tree or other signs of the season. He was greeted by a single mother with two small children.

"She indicated that she had applied for Christmas, but it had never come," explained Sgt. Terry Steed. The addresses had apparently been mixed up. The grateful family was happy to get the delivery, even though Hall wasn't wearing the traditional red suit and beard.

"I'd say the guys went the extra mile," Steed said of the two officers and part-time Santas. "They were able to make Christmas for that family."