Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Santa Secrets

As I drove to visit children as Santa Claus this year, I pondered often why a man would determine to be Santa.  To understand a little of my thoughts and why I chose to portray Santa, you probably should read my post, "Why I Believe".

With that background in place, it helps to be a big kid at heart, to have never lost your imagination, to enjoy dressing up in costumes, being Peter Pan, or Superman, or even a pirate occasionally.  It doesn't hurt to have a good laugh, twinkling eyes... or at least some of the girth needed to portray Santa (one can always pad).  If you choose to be Santa, do it well.  The suit doesn't matter so much to a child.  Yep, it is great if you can have real boots, but kids don't notice.  They just see Santa.  Choosing to be Santa is an inside thing, not just a costume.

Attitude is terribly important.  No one wants to see a grumpy Santa.  Can you smile no matter what?  Can you put aside your own concerns, heartaches, hurts and headaches for a short while to make a little one Believe with a capitol B?  Can you be glad to see each and every child like they were your own child, or even better, your grandchild?  Can you listen carefully, no editorials, no rebuffs, no "tsk tsk" from Santa, just a listening ear.   That child really doesn't care about how long you have sat in the big chair, or if you had no lunch.  Its not that they are indifferent, it just doesn't occur to them that Santa has anything else on his mind but their Christmas wishes at that moment.

It is all about undivided attention for those few moments.  They need it, they deserve it, they crave love and attention from Santa, who may have a "naughty and nice" list, but who loves them and puts them on the "NICE" list no matter what orneriness they have been into.  No matter what their home life is like, regardless of their parents (or parent) or socio-economic position of their family, each child is precious to Santa - so act like they are the first and only child to sit on your lap.

You are going to cry, that is a promise (yes, more on that subject later too).  Children share their heartaches with Santa often.  You can't get around it, can't prevent it, can't fix it.  You just listen and sometimes smile sadly, sometimes hug their thin little shoulders, sometimes look away and wipe a tear with that white gloved hand.

You will laugh and grin at parents when a precocious child says something that shocks Daddy or makes Mama blush.  Oh my, think Art Linkletter heard some of the funniest things from kids?  Let Santa tell you a few incidents!  Yes, listen carefully, listen because they speak softly, sometimes whisper shyly.  Don't forget to repeat it so Mama and Daddy can hear and nod knowingly.

Never promise anything, it is not your job.  The last thing you want is to put a parent on the spot, especially if they cannot afford the dreams of their little one.  A new computer would be great for anyone... just not in the budget!

Have you noticed that not everyone can "Ho Ho Ho" well?  It takes practice to do it well, mean it, make it sound like you are laughing AND not frighten the socks off 2 year olds (yes, we will have to speak about 2 year olds soon).  The best advice you can receive is to try to add a few "ho ho"s to your regular laugh to see what it should sound like.  That is all it is, a big jolly elf laughing because he is always happy, joyful and glad to see you!
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