As a relatively new Santa each experience is a new experience. One of the first of these was visiting a young family, a mother named Chris and her 5 children. I had met Chris as a clerk at a local convenient store. I knew very little about her other than she was Divorced and not doing very well financially. I had spent several days working for a photographer in a typical children visiting Santa Claus setting but I had not done any kind of home visits.
I arrived at the home early in the evening; the children were all very excited to see Santa coming through the front door. Though I was a little uneasy everything went very smooth. Pictures were taken as each child told me what they hoped for. Chris was beaming with joy as each child sat on my lap. Then as quickly as I came, I was gone. On the way home instead of feeling happy, I was overcome with a profound sadness. I had left without even leaving a candy cane. I told the kids they would have a great Christmas and they would all get something special, But would they? I made a silent promise to myself, next year things would be different.
Soon Christmas was over, and life returned to it's mundane routine. As the year progressed I often thought of Chris and her kids and I formulated my plan. As an avid hiker I belong to a hiking club. Not much really just an Internet website and a discussion forum of fellow hikers. At a fall gathering I announced my plan. Everyone already knew I was a professional Santa, I told the group I would be holding a Christmas party in Early December. Everyone could come and see Santa. They could take all the pictures they wanted, mingle and have some light refreshments. In return each guest was invited to leave a gift for a needy family. In addition I would extent my gift giving visits to as many needy families as necessary. Three other families were identified. The gift giving was overwhelming, and I filled 11 plastic trash bags full of toys.
A few days before Christmas, I returned to the home of Chris and her Children. This time not empty handed. Five of those bags were delivered to 5 very excited kids Chris was beaming with joy and this time I left with a smile on my face that has kept me smiling all year.