With some 68 Christmases behind me I have heaps of happy memories, Christmas Day is that much more special because it is my wife's birthday. But one of the special things about Christmas also, is the fact that I have been asked to be 'The old Man himself''- Santa on 2 occasions- and let me tell you - it is really an awesome experience.
The first occasion was a number of years ago when my Youngest daughter was attending the local primary school. Everyone was sworn to secrecy as to who the old man really was- careful steps were taken to hide my Identity,- the big day arrives- time to dress up- and for those of you who don't realise that when they say 'Downunder'- it means that we are opposite to those of you who enjoy Chrismas in the snow, and wearing your 'thermals' and earmuffs!!! Our Christmas is at that wonderful time of the year when we can wear our shorts and sandals, maybe a shirt, with the warmth of the sun rays to burn you if you dont 'slip, slop and slap' ( look that one up!!)- anyway- One of those Northern Hemisphere traditionalists decided that Santa come from the North Pole so has to be suitably attired in a hot bright red velvet suit, lined with white fur, as well as knee high boots, with a hat to match his suit- he also has to wear a beard- of course this has to be long enough to cause strands to sneak into the mouth and tickle the nose!!. So the thought of wearing such an outfit in Summer brings you out in a sweat just a little less than what you break out into, once you have the whole outfit on! Then of course it is always decided that Santa will sit on a chair outside usually in the sun to meet the children. Now I hope you are 'up to speed' with this most enjoyable experience of being SANTA.
Anyway, I have digressed so on with the story- Santa arrives at the School Christmas fair, ( it so happens that it is the middle of the hottest day of the year)-you dont need me to tell you where Santa's seat is- plonked right out in the sun by an organiser who may at some stage of her life been asked to play an Elf or a fairy but never the Old Man- so not a clue is known!! The children are called forward to sit on Santa's knee and have their photo taken- ( in those days Politically correct was not a concern and the total trust was there with old fashioned long time honest values- and not the PC BS we see bandied around today!!)- a small present was handed out and the child went merrily on it's way, while Santa sat there in his red sauna suit trying to avoid sneezing with \the strands of his whiskers. It comes my Darling Daughter's turn- she 'unknowingly sat on Santa's knee- had the photo taken- obviously in 'blissful ignorance'- accepts her gift- and as she walks away- in her amplified loudest whisper- says "Thanks Dad."!!!
The second occasion was just last year at a Christmas lunch attended by families at a relatively 'upmarket' Restaurant in the City. The brochures about the lunch had stated that Contact had been made with Santa,who they understood may be in the area, and if time permitted, he would drop in with presents for the children who attended the luncheon.
One little boy came to my attention as I was eating my lunch prior to going to get the Red suited old man- this little fellow was about 7 years old- and what brought him to my attention was every couple of minutes he would make his way over to the window, then very carefully study the surrounding visible area- with real careful attention to searching the sky - this procedure he carried out many times during the course of the meal.
Lunch finished, time to don the red outfit, and make my way into the dining room- (I thought-" in luck this time- Airconditioned")- only the strands of the whiskers to contend with. But as I entered that room- my eyes were on that little boy's face- which lit up in total admiration- I had a truly totally devoted fan. He could not take his eyes off of me.
When I went to sit down on a chair which was handy- I was told by the Organiser ( as in the story above-she may have been asked once to be Mrs Claus but unlikely to be ever an Elf or a Fairy!!) that for the sake of the diners Santa must do his bit out on the deck- and thats right- you guessed it- after all it was a lunch so it was the middle of the day and of course we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day!!!
Once again I have digressed- the rest of the time flew by dealing with the children with my new found admirrer sitting at my feet gazing up at me, when it was his turn to receive his gift he sprang up just about leaping onto my knee( but the PC BS now controls us so it is not allowed to be). I handed him his gift and shook his hand- just about having to prise my hand away from his-then it was all over. Time to cool down and have a beer and come back to reality.
Now, I dont care if you want to believe in Santa Claus yourself- but let me tell you- that was one of my happiest moments of my life- I still see that little boy going to the window, and I see the look on his face when Santa walked into that room- and that memory will be with me as long as I live.
As I said what an awesome experience- and guess what? In 2 weeks time I have been asked to be Santa again for the same group- I will be looking for that boy.
By the way Santa down under greets you not with just a common HO Ho Ho- we have our own way of saying it- so from this ? Santa Ho Bloody Ho and wishing you and your's all a Very Merry and Safe Christmas.