Last night was my first ever appearance as Santa Claus. I was visiting friends and their children; two girls, ages 5 and 7, and a boy who is about 4. I looked at this as a chance to shake out all the rookie mistakes I'd likely make in the comfort of supportive people. And there were rookie issues that popped up, even as I dressed and made ready to leave home. I had the suit on, was searching for keys, then realized I'd need an alternate way to carry my belongings, since Santa's suit (at least this one) has NO POCKETS! As I scrambled to find a suitable carrying device, all sorts of thoughts crept into my mind; what if I misplace my keys and get locked out of the car? What if I forget all my stuff when I make my exit? I found a smallish, burgundy stash bag I'd used for a camera on a hike and decided it would suffice. OK, all was about ready, but where was my assistant, who agreed to come along and hand out the little gift bags she said she'd prepare? Time was flying, I was running late waiting, but she finally showed up as I walked out the door. She had all the raw materials, but nothing yet put together. Well, she'd just have to do it in the background during the visit. So we climbed in the Santa-mobile and off we went.
I'd found some decorative bells at Big Lots that reminded me of the incense censers I've seen used in church (Lutherans don't get in to that stuff generally, though there are exceptions). I pulled up in front of a next-door house, got out, and proceeded to announce my visit with the bells and Santa's greeting, "Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas"
I walked through the door and was immediately greeted by three excited children. Little Toler, the boy, reached out for my hand as he looked up at me with excited eyes. "Santa, would you like to come see our Christmas tree? I'll show you my ornament!" The girls were in agreement, I must see their tree. So they took me by the hand and off we went to the living room. Toler took the ornament--HIS ornament--off it's branch and lifted it up. A Pirates of the Caribbean commemorative ornament. Toler is in what will later be known as his pirate phase. All of my anxieties about whether they'd believe I was Santa had gone out the window. I WAS Santa Claus. Mom invited me to take a seat in a chair next to the tree and off we went.
I'll post Part II of this experience later, including stuff I learned and stuff I need to work on. I'd sure welcome your comments.