So there I was, curly white hair obscuring my eyes, curly white beard tinkling my nose, jingle-bell-bedecked hat jingle-jangling. It was my turn to be Santa Claus at the kids’ school. I had on the red suit, the big black belt, the whole works. Thinking back, I can’t help but say it was a little unreal.
Being Santa can be awfully daunting but there are a few good lessons to be learned once you step into those big black boots. They are lessons that we all knew at one point but for some reason, most have forgotten them. Perhaps it’s because an iPhone didn’t tell us so!
Maybe this is the year to build a snow fort in the front yard or try ice skating in the park. Some families make a special ornament each Christmas and mark it with the year. Try something new whether it’s a gift or an experience so you can keep the years from becoming a blur. This will always be the year that I first dressed up like Santa.
It’s about the kids
Sure, you want that new iPad (and maybe an Amazon Kindle or a nice watch), but when it comes down to it, Christmas is a kids’ holiday. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself when you are a grown-up, it’s just that the joy of the holiday comes from a kid tearing into those presents when it’s barely light outside on Christmas morning. It’s not a time to be selfish.
Whatever your religious feelings at Christmas time, Santa Claus gives you a chance to share family traditions. Always open presents on Christmas Eve or leave plate of cookies out for the big guy? Whatever they are, Christmas traditions are another way a family learns to stick together no matter what problems or clouds surround.
Appreciate the little things
As Santa, I got to pass out little gifts to the kids – jingle bells on a ribbon they could wear around their necks. They couldn’t be more thrilled. One of the best things about the holidays are that they bring out good behavior in most folks, so even small gestures mean a lot when they are thoughtful. So how about spreading around the thank yous and the favors – let the other guy into the parking space or thank someone for opening the door for you. And even little gifts can be great. Give out candies or cards.
Don’t be a cynic
If you are gagging on the last point, thinking about the pushing and shoving at the store or the meaningless merchandising of Christmas, take a moment. You can’t be a cynical Santa when kids are asking you if you are friends with Frosty the Snowman. Fight the temptation to hate it all. Focus on the good and, when in doubt, watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
When in doubt, ho, ho, ho
If you really think about it, these days are pretty ridiculous. Guy in a red suit. Trees inside the house. Egg nog?! On your way home from work, just look at the lights, turn up the radio on one of those silly songs (“Wonderful Christmastime” by McCartney is a good choice) and just laugh.