This morning while chatting with my friend Marge, she told me her son had taken her almost three year old granddaughter to see Santa, but it was not a good trip. Poor Faith was overwhelmed by the jolly old man, and had a total melt down. I do sympathize with her, they can be strange looking.
But I admitted too that I never had that problem with the boys. They never were afraid of any Santa, even the ones we adults were a little skeptical of. One Christmas really sticks out in my memory….
It was 1987 and our first Christmas overseas. In England they have Father Christmas, and he doesn’t look anything at all like the jolly old guy we call Santa. We were in our local town at a …get this… hardware store… and they had a Christmas grotto where you could see Father Christmas. We went upstairs to find this grotto, and found what almost looked like an old tent decorated for the season, with this poor pathetic looking skinny man dressed in a reddish robe standing outside. He greeted the boys and asked them inside his to talk… I was a little apprehensive, but they went right in.
And when they returned to us they were glowing. Now, remember this, Jonathon was all of five, and Michael hadn’t even turned three yet. Christmas was very important to them, especially the jolly old man. Jonathon had started school that year, and I know he’d heard rumors that Santa wasn’t real… but I assured him he was. That there were lots of Santa’s helpers all over the world, but somewhere the real Santa was in charge.
Jonathon came out of that grotto glowing, grinning from ear to ear. He motioned to me to lean down so he could whisper in my ear, and he and Mike came as close to me as they could… Jonathon said to me in his quiet but extremely excited voice… “That is the real Santa Mom, I know he is. He knew we were Americans and knew we lived on base too.” Mike shook his head in agreement, and they both looked back at the old man and waved, then turned around and walked away.