Over the past two days I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with the big, bearded man in the red-and-white suit. Yes, Santa and me have been pals, sitting around and chatting in our local grocery store whenever there was a break in the comings of little (and big) children who came to sit on Santa’s lap and share their wishes with him while a very talented local photographer snapped a photo for the families.
Over this time, I’ve come to learn a couple things about Santa.
First off, he truly is a magical, jolly old soul. Santa seemed to know the names of all of the adults and children that wandered by, calling out to the Johns and Julies as they meandered the grocery aisles, choosing Brussels sprouts and rutabagas for their Christmas feasts. Surely this was the magic of Santa, and not just that in our small community, everyone knows everyone.
Secondly, sometimes keeping the magic can be tricky in a small town. Especially when Santa bears a striking resemblance to another jolly community character. I heard a few children and elders mistakenly call Santa by the name “Bob”. I wonder if Bob knows his doppelganger is Santa.
I also got to play witness to how afraid of this big, loud, roaring with jolly and Ho-Ho-Hos a lot of children can be. I’ve always seen the classic “Noooo! Take me away from this scary thing!” pictures of babes, toddlers and even older children who have not yet warmed up to the idea of Santa being their friendly neighbourhood gift-giving, cheer-spreading pal. Sitting next to Santa, printing out the photos for families who wanted to mark this special event, I got to see first-hand how many children aren’t eager for the chance to sit on Santa’s lap, and how it seems to be more of a right of passage for children. If only I had a dollar for every time that a tearful child was lured to the lap of old Saint Nick with promise of candy, or walked backwards to be snuck onto the awaiting red coat.
It seems the visiting of Santa is more about pleasing the parents, than it is about enjoyment for children. Much like a lot things we parents want to see our children experience, who may not share our enthusiasm. Special outfits that are adorable, but not exactly suitable for movement. Posing for photos with relatives and other loved ones. Stepping in the ocean for the first time (not exactly the beautiful moment I had originally envisioned).
So did my little bean join in on the Christmassy fun? Of course.
Perhaps she, like the others, wasn’t too keen on the idea of sitting up on a platform on the lap of a big, loud, bearded stranger, but we sent her along all the same. In the grand scheme of things, there will be many people we hand our little one off to that she may not be immediately pleased about, and many situations that she might protest to, and we can’t always do exactly as little one might like. It’s not reasonable, and it’s not exactly beneficial. Sometimes, she will learn, you need to do things that you don’t want to do in order to please others. Spending time to write Thank You notes. Visiting with a smelly aunt. Taking out the garbage. Perhaps Santa isn’t exactly necessity, but my husband and I enjoyed visiting him as children, and so it was special for us. I don’t believe the few moments of tears and uncertainty have not forever scarred the babe.
Oh. One more thing I learned about Santa. He seems to know his way around the kitchen. Throughout the afternoons he would offer advice to shoppers about how to cook the various veggies and meats he saw in their carts, and everything made my mouth water. At one point, Santa whispered to me how he would like to do a cooking show. I’d certainly tune in to watch the jolly old soul get his cook on. Maybe there’s an opportunity for all the magical creatures to offer their culinary skills. The Tooth Fairy could share her sugar-free healthy snack ideas and the Easter Bunny would host a chocolate-themed dessert time-slot.
Would you watch? What other characters could you see leading us through the how-tos of edible masterpieces?