Playing Father Christmas

Tonight I had the rare privilege of keeping the dream alive for some 70 kids who came to our street to visit with Santa. Our street gets totally decked out in lights for the month (we even got covered in the SF Chronicle) and to cap things off, we have a little Santa’s workshop thing going on the median right in front of my house.

Playing Father Christmas

Santa duty is on a volunteer basis and, wanting to make a good impression with my neighbors, I jumped in with both feet and signed myself up for an evening. Izumi told the kids I had to step out for a few hours to take care of something and I ducked into the garage to change into the suit which the fellow from the night before brought over for me earlier in the day. The beard was kind of funky smelling so I spritzed it with some cologne, threw on an extra sweater for warmth and then threw open the garage door for my 6:30 appearance.

I had some quick explaining to do to the startled kids that wondered why Santa was coming out of a garage to which I said that it’s the best place for the sled b/c parking is tough in this town. I settled into the chair that had been set out for me and then realized that, (a) the cologne smell was going to make me woozy, (b) I couldn’t see a thing b/c of the spotlight on me and the condensation on my glasses, and (c) I was going to sweat up a storm with all this gear on because the wig and hat were actually quite warm.

No matter, my elves, which were older kids from the neighborhood, moved things along nicely and whispered each child’s name into my ear before they approached. It was great to see their eyes when I would say to them, “Jose! How good to see you again! Now, tell me young man, you have been good haven’t you?” In one glance I could tell if they were good or bad because they were either happy to see me or looked at their toes in guilt. A few words of advice later (“be sure to make your bed each morning, pick up after yourself, and eat all your veggies”) and then I would get an education on the state of the toy market.

Most popular request? Bikes followed by Gameboys.

Then there was the handwritten note slipped to me by one boy when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas. It was a simple boy’s request for some things to make his life better:

Juice
Stuffed Cat & Dog
Clock
Garbage Can for Room
Telephone
Rescue Hero Hyper Jet
Green Long Hair for Daddy
100 Quarters ($25)

Some things seem so mundane, like a shopping list, then there’s the Rescue Hero, an indulgence, and the “Green Long Hair for Daddy” – I would love to know the full story behind that one but alas I didn’t have that much time.

The other note slipped my way was from a father who had scrawled on the back of an envelope:

Santa,
Please mention to Jonathan to be sure to take the rubber snake off our garage roof so it doesn’t frighten Prancer.

When I discussed this with Jonathan, he almost lost his cap! He was just beside himself and solemnly promised to tell his father about Prancer’s ophiciophobia.

Good fun, it was totally worth it.

5 thoughts on “Playing Father Christmas

  1. mikefrayne

    I do father christmas each year at my grandchildren's school and it is so hot I lose five lbs in weight but gain an extra spring in my step for the privilelige of witnessing innocence, happiness and anticipation. There is not much wrong with the majority of our kids today.

    Reply
  2. iankennedy

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Everyone should have the chance to play Santa at some point in their life and have the, “privilege of witnessing innocence, happiness and anticipation.”

    Well put!

    Reply
  3. Bcfcblues

    at the young age of 33 i find mtself paying thr big SC for my 4th year and may i say there is nothing more rewarding than seing the childres faces when you say there names…. keep up the good work guys and so looking forward to a nice sleep with mrs claues on boxing day…….

    Reply
  4. St3v13p

    playing the big fella myself at the mo its so good to see people smiling with just a wave and hello just relax and enjoy it as im sure you will good luck

    Reply

Leave a comment