I don’t think it’s too much of an exageration to say that this year has been rough for some of my fellow Santa types. I have had a pretty good year, lots of great visits, television commercial work, voice over work in record amounts, and other blessings.
On the flip side my beloved friend Maisie had to be put to sleep and I’ve dealt with more than the usual number of prospective customers who have not been respectful of my proposals. I try very hard to get back to vendors if I decide not to hire them for something when they have quoted me a price. This year I’ve had very few potential customers get back to me about dates I’ve saved for them. This is a big deal in my field – the time we have to work as Santa is very limited. If I hold a date for one person, it means I can’t accept another’s offer of work for the same date. At least call me back or email me with your rejection. I’d like that much better than wondering.
A lady I know well is the secretary for a Santa group I belong to for professional reasons. She works very hard to spread the spirit of the season and keep us all busy. This year she and I have talked at length about some of the disturbing things we’ve encountered from the public and members of the Santa community. She has graciously accepted my offer to write for the blog. Her letter to me is posted below the fold. I have edited it only for readability and a bit of punctuation. I also redacted any names in the post to avoid making anyone more crazy than usual. I hope you take a moment to read her thoughts. She is a good Christian woman who loves Santa, loves kids, and loves her God. And I appreciate her writing this for me to share with you. [A personal note: I know the people involved here and can vouch for the wonderful visits Santa X does. He’s a quiet, gentle man who respects and honors children as people, not just little $ signs. Loud Santas are often bad Santas. He’s one of the good ones.]
Dear Lord, please give me back the Christmas Spirit.
This weekend was probably the most hurtful and emotional one that we have ever been through. We had booked 2 separate home day care parties for two people that are friends with each other. One party was on Thurs Evening and another Friday Evening.
Friday morning started with a phone call from a very dear Santa friend that he had been called that morning by one of those women looking for a Santa replacement for our Friday evening event. He had learned as well that she posted an SOS on Facebook because Santa X did not meet the expectations at her friend’s daycare party on Thursday evening. It was so disheartening that we both looked at each other with fear and broken hearts; we had let children down and maybe we really should not continue this journey in life….we had disappointed children.
The Daycare provider said Santa X was not loud and boisterous enough, he did not bellow HO HO HO when arriving, he was not jolly enough, he needed hand bells to ring and project his voice much louder. She went on to tell me she was not happy with the 2 previous Santas she had in other years either. She said it appears Santas just are not what they should be anymore.
Then Friday morning despair erupted with the horrid news report from Connecticut where a gunman had killed several innocent beautiful children in a school where parents expected them to be safe and have fun with their friends while learning new things every day. All I could do was cry buckets of tears as the weekend progressed with more and more stories from Connecticut.
Reading about Charlotte – a beautiful red headed 6 year old who had gotten a new pink dress and white boots to wear for Christmas and to get a picture with Santa later that afternoon after school. She had begged her mom for several days to wear that dress to school to show her teachers and friends. Her mom wanted to keep it new and special for Christmas but finally gave into her that Friday morning and put pig tails and pink bows in her hair. Mom must have been rushed that morning getting her all ready for school and didn’t get a chance to take her picture. I am sure mom thought; I will get that picture after school when Charlotte goes to see Santa.
I wonder if she told Charlotte to be careful not to get her new dress dirty…I wonder what Charlotte thought when she saw blood spatters on her pink dress & white boots, or if she did,…. I hope not. Her mom will never get that picture of her in that new Christmas dress…Charlotte didn’t get to see Santa in that new dress or tell him her wishes I was thinking. Then to read the true and most meaningful words from Charlotte’s family that only come from the deep Faith in God that Charlotte had dressed up to meet Jesus on Friday . What a beautiful thing to dwell on in the midst of all this sadness.
I hesitated to send Santa to that party on Friday night but I dug out the hand bells and he tried his best to please her. I went over every thing with Santa before he left and said a blessing prayer as he left. Santa thought it had gone okay, but alas, I got the call on Monday morning saying he had failed her expectations as well. This time she also said his personality just wasn’t what they were looking for. They both wanted the extra amount they had paid over what last years Santa had charged. I returned both their checks with a note that perhaps they could donate it to the fund started for the Sandy Hook Elementary Children.
Monday afternoon I received a call from a company that was going to have Santa X at the office from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m for parents to bring their children in to tell Santa their wishes, take pictures, and have snacks. There were too many complaints about Santa making it too “Christmasy” and offensive to some of the employees was what the lady told me. They just wanted a winter gathering.
She told me that they were going to have to cancel. She apologized profusely as she was the one who had scheduled it. She didn’t realize Santa could be offensive. She was older and had grandchildren. She had been given the okay by one of the corporate officers. I graciously accepted her apology even though it was on Wednesday night and she had booked it in October.
This is a Christmas Season we will never forget. We know in our hearts there are far more families whose lives we have given magic and happiness too. We are not perfect, no one on earth is. We will try to continue our journey of Santa…mine is behind the scenes booking the families Santa visits and getting ALL the details down and Santa X being a part of the fun family celebrations….our daughter will continue to curl his hair before each visit because my muscular dystrophy prevents it….making sure his shirts are ironed, boot cuffs & gloves washed and white…pants and suits dry cleaned and interchanged back and forth each week…boots shined….BECAUSE if we touch even just one child’s heart and bring happiness to them…it is worth it all.
I will continue to be the volunteer secretary of the Santas and make sure anyone who wants a Santa gets a Santa for their holiday celebrations because no one should not get that “last chance in life” for a picture or a visit with Santa. We know that every nationality does not celebrate Christmas or “love” Santa. It’s okay, participate if you want or excuse yourself if you don’t want to.
We just wish everyone could celebrate the way they want without the office politics or worry of offending anyone. What is most important is that we do know the real reason for the season and we do believe that Charlotte did dress up on Friday to meet Jesus. Santa X and I will continue doing what we can to bring happiness to children’s lives but only Jesus can give them the true meaning of life on his birthday.. God Bless all the Children of the World and Happy Birthday to all the children celebrating in heaven with Jesus on this Blessed Christmas Day .