Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hugs for Santa

Santa's main job is to have children sit on his lap and ask what they want for Christmas. When children are brought to me, there are many different reactions.  Some are so excited to see me that they bounce around and jump and wiggle.  Others are nonchalant like it is routine for them (but who visits Santa every day?).  Others are shy and timid and take quite a bit of coaxing.  And then there are the screamers!  I have to hold onto them like they are on a bucking bronco.

Last night while I was at a daycare center, I had one of my favorite kinds of reactions from a child.  This little boy came up to me and waited for me to pick him up and set him on my knee and he just snuggled back into my arm and kind of melted into me.  He seemed very contented and happy to be there.  After a picture was taken, I asked what he wanted for Christmas.  Smiling, he looked at me and said, "Oh, whatever, Santa."  So I started making some suggestions of certain toys and books, but he said he knew that I would bring him just the right thing.

I wished him Merry Christmas and was about to put him down and he squished closer in to me.  His mother came forward to take him, but he raised his hand to stop her and said that he didn't need to leave because Santa was his friend.  I signaled to his mom that it was okay and I looked down at him.  He looked up at me with his sparkling eyes and a big grin and said, "We're friends, right Santa?"  To which I agreed.

He sat with me for a minute, stroked my beard and then gave me a big hug, the kind of hug that melts you to your heart.  He told me he loved me, then hopped down and waved goodbye.

Santa loves being loved!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Santa's Happy Accident

Saturdays in December are my busiest days with several appearances scheduled.  There was a family in Saratoga Springs that I have previously done two magic shows for, but this year they wanted a Santa visit. The appearance was scheduled for 4:00 p.m. As usual I arrived about 5 minutes before so they could get me the gifts that I was to hand out.  I called just as I arrived to let him know I was out front, and his voice was a bit anxious.  He thought he had schedule me for 4:30 p.m.  I told him that was not a problem, that I would be back in a half hour.  Then I drove to a nearby street that had a field on one side and a house on the other that said, "Foreclosure/For Sale by Bank" on the other, so I thought I would be safe from people seeing me in my Santa attire.

As I sat there with my eyes closed listening to Christmas music, I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched.  I turned and looked at the "vacant" house only to see three little noses pressed against the glass door.  Doing what any respectable Santa would do, I quickly drove off.  But when my mind caught up with my car, I thought how awful it might be for those children to see Santa look at them then drive quickly away.

So I opened my stash of candy canes (every respectable Santa has one) grabbed a handful and headed back to the house.  When I pulled up to the curb, I saw a woman out front looking around.  I got out and asked if she was the mother here, to which she replied, "Are you the Santa my kids saw?"

I explained that I had a few minutes before my next appointment and asked if I could come and visit with her and her children.  She invited me right in.  I was greeted by three bouncing girls.  I noticed the meager belongings in the home and the disheveled appearance of the children. The mother told the oldest to go get Jonny.  A few moments later she came back with a young boy using forearm crutches.  I sat down and helped him onto my knee and asked what he wanted for Christmas.  He look up at me with tearful eyes and said he wanted to be able to keep their house.  I smiled and told him that I didn't think I could do that, but I would make sure he knew how much his family cared for him.  I told him that was the true spirit of Christmas.

He got down and one of his sisters climbed up and asked for a new shirt she could wear to school and a dolly.  Then each of the other two girls took a turn, one asked for warm shoes and the littlest also wanted a dolly.  At that moment I wished I had the magic to open my bag and produce the gifts they had asked for and looked like they needed, but all I had to give them were candy canes.  I handed them each one then watched as they each hung them on their sparsely decorated tree.  I wished them a Merry Christmas as I left.

I was grateful for the accident of my mixed up schedule which allowed me this opportunity to bring a little Christmas cheer into a difficult situation.

Being Santa brings sweet rewards!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Santa at Kneaders

I had the opportunity to be Santa for Kneaders located in Orem for their "French Toast with Santa" event. They had a section in the main dining room blocked off for people to visit with me and enjoy their specialty french toast.  Children would come tell me what they wanted, pose for pictures, and occasionally we would sing Christmas carols. Things were going along normally.

As things were winding down at the end of the night, an elderly woman came up and shook my hand.  I gently tugged on her hand and encouraged her to sit on my knee and said, "Tell Santa what you want for Christmas."

Her eyes lit up and she said, "Why don't you tell me what I want for Christmas?"

Smiling, I said, "You want all of your children and grandchildren to be healthy and happy and to have a wonderful holiday season." Then with a wink I added, "And that one special thing that you want for yourself, I'll try to get it under your tree this year."

She threw her arms around me and gave me a tight squeeze. "You're the best Santa we've ever had! You've made me believe in Santa again."

As she left the area, the gentleman who had been standing with her leaned down and asked me if I knew who she was, and I told him that I didn't.  He said that she was the owner of Kneaders!

Being Santa is NEVER normal!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My New Special Friend

Tonight I was Santa at the Sandy Library.  I had finished with my usual visits and was heading to my car when a little child stood in the doorway of the library, surprised to see me.  I could see that he was nervous and didn’t want to talk to me.  He was coming into the library with a book in his hand which I noticed was The Polar Express.  I commented that it was one of Santa’s favorite books.  Hearing this, he lit right up and started talking to me about his favorite parts of the story.  He kept coming back to the part where the boy gets the first gift of Christmas which was a jingle bell.

Now being Santa, I make sure that I jingle when I walk so everyone can hear me coming.  I have a strap of bells that I carry with me, and suddenly had a great idea for my new little friend.  I took the strap and pulled off one of the bells and handed it to him.  His eyes welled up with tears and he threw his arms around me and said, “Santa, you are my special friend, ‘cause Santa only gives a bell to his special friends.”  I look up to see that his mother and father were also teary eyed which got to me and I started to get emotional myself.  I managed to choke out, “Yes you are my special friend.”

That strap of bells only cost me about three dollars, but at that moment being Santa was priceless!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Santa Magic

Winder Dairy has me being their Santa every Thursday night from 6-8 p.m. until Christmas.  I get to meet a lot of fun people who tell me what they want for Christmas.  Most memorable  on my last visit were those who could not speak.

Three girls came in with two mentally disabled people, a man and a woman.  First the woman came up and stood beside me.  As always, I asked what she wanted for Christmas, but got no reply.  One of her companions explained to me that the woman could not communicate.  I stood up and took her hands and looked into her eyes and saw a spark of recognition for Santa.  I asked her companion what she liked to do and she told me she liked books.  Looking back into her eyes I asked the woman if she wanted Santa to bring her some books for Christmas.  Her eyes widened and she squoze my hand. Figuring that I was on the right track, I asked her some different types of books.  When I mentioned Disney books, her eyes widened again and she squoze my hands again.  I then asked about Disney princess books, and she squoze even tighter.  I smiled and sat down and looked at her companion and said, "It looks like she would like some Disney princess books for Christmas."

Her companion's mouth fell open in amazement and she said, "How did you do that?"  I smiled and winked and said, "Santa magic!"

Being Santa is magical!