O'FALLON, MO. - A thief returned a stolen Christmas decoration and left an apology note with it Wednesday morning.

When someone stole an inflatable merry-go-round with Santa Claus and other characters riding reindeer, it left a big hole in the Reddan family's decorating scheme, but it left an even bigger hole in their hearts.

Wednesday, the Reddan family wasted no time putting Santa and his reindeer back in action.

“It looks great. I'm so happy it's back,” said 17-year-old Sophie Reddan.

While we may just see a Christmas novelty, when Sophie looks at it, “I see my mom. Definitely.”

It's been a family tradition for the Reddan kids to put up the inflatable with their mother, as a finishing touch.

“Who passed away about four years ago,” said her husband, Michael Reddan.

Staci Reddan died suddenly in her sleep. She was 42.

Sophie said of the inflatable, “To lose it was like losing her, like a piece of her again.”

Over the weekend, home security videos captured a light-colored sedan around the Reddan's house and in another neighborhood with people getting in and out, appearing to take the inflatable and other decorations.

But for how it re-appeared, we have to take a step back.

It was about 5:30 Wednesday morning when Reddan thought he heard the doorbell ring. So he went to the door and looked out the window. He didn't see anything. But about an hour later, when he was taking his son to school, he happened to glance out in the yard and there was the merry-go-round and underneath it, a note.

Sophie read the content of the letter out loud.

"I'm so sorry for what happened. I really messed up and felt so horrible, so I returned it. Very sorry for what I put you guys through,” Sophie read.

Less a Christmas miracle, more a case of conscience from someone who didn't know just what they were stealing.

“I definitely think it was Monday night's story that triggered this,” said Michael Reddan.

His daughter said, “They saw that it meant something to us and that they needed to return it because they were putting us through more than just taking our inflatable because we couldn't replace it.”

After our first story aired Monday, the Reddans were touched by viewers who called us and contacted them through Facebook offering their merry-go-round and other inflatables.

Laser projectors stolen from other yards have not been returned.