Column: Observing Life As Santa
I am experiencing a wonderful opportunity to observe life; to deal with a number of children and have a great time. And all I have to do is dress up in a red suit, don a beard and a hat and pose for photographs.
I’m a mall Santa for the first time in my life and for a few hours at a time I get to live vicariously as the man from the North Pole. I believe I have his tacit approval since I’ve heard that he’s a little bit busy this time of the year.
It’s great to see the smiles on the faces of children as they yell out “Hi Santa.” It can also be disconcerting when a baby or a young person two or three or four years old screams or cries upon seeing Santa Claus. I don’t take it personally, I know it’s just that these kids aren’t sure what to make of a big guy with a big belly (it’s not my real stomach although that’s big enough) white hair all over his face and a red hat.
One of the great things I’ve seen is kids from various economic and ethnic backgrounds coming to see Santa. Some have difficulty vocalizing what they expect me (Santa Claus) to bring them on Christmas Eve, although they’ve told Mom and Dad hundreds of times. Fortunately, there’s a responsible parent or grandparent or other adult around who can help me respond in a somewhat intelligent manner for a request to get a toy or a game that is new to me.
There have been children who come with a prepared list and want a lot of stuff while still others want a doll or a truck or just one item. Santa listens patiently and promises he’ll do his best to fulfill the wishes as long as the child has been good during the past year.
Sadly, there was also a request from a somewhat older child who sat on Santa’s knee and just wanted me to make her life better. I had no answer as the Jolly Old Elf or as myself.
It’s so easy to get so caught up in gifts that we forget that a solid family is really all that would make Christmas a joyous occasion for certain people.
People who know me describe me as a Grinch about Christmas and in many ways I am. I don’t like buying gifts for people at this time of year not just because of the cost but also because I never know what to get. Gift cards are practical and solve one problem I have although they aren’t especially personal.
And, I’m not big into decorations; I don’t even put up a Christmas tree in my apartment.
But this year, I’m getting to see some positive signs of Christmas. I’m getting to see people gathered for a happy purpose, to get photos of a child with one of the most beloved characters of all time.
Sure it’s a simple notion but isn’t it great to hear about diverse peoples standing in a line, chatting with others, waiting patiently for their child to meet and greet the man in the red suit, instead of hating each other because of their differences.
Hey, it’s a start on improving the world and I have it on good authority that a certain man who lives at the North Pole, approves of such a notion.
By Brian Cleeve