Friday Was Exceptional.

My weeks between November 15th and December 26th often become a blur of activity, sleep deprivation, and lots of miles on the road. By sheer happenstance, I lucked out and enjoyed a rare day off, no Santa performance at Midtown Global Market until dinner-time. No work at the day job either.

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To make the most of it, I headed off and ate an enormous plate of eggs, sausage, hollandaise sauce, toast, etc., at T&T Galley in South Saint Paul, Mn. The place is one of the best little diners you will ever experience. I love going there, I love the food, and it got me fired up for the rest of the day.

Sam’s Club beckoned next, there was a gigantic block of soap bars with my name on it. And gas. And cherries. What can’t you find at Sam’s?

The answer is custom Christmas cookies. My friends at P.J. Murphy’s bakery do the best job I’ve ever seen. I escaped with only a dozen or two to add to my waist.

Best cookies around!

Having rounded up victuals, fed myself, and annoyed many motorists in multiple parking lots, I headed home to watch some videos and get ready for the world of children and photos.

First up tonight was a little boy from Haiti. His mom and I sat and talked about our missions there, and then did something that overjoyed me: we prayed for Haiti, the children, and the turmoil in the country. There was an instant bond with the woman and her child. God filled my heart and allowed me that connection that others may not have felt.

At that point, we were off to the races. I tried something new: I thanked everyone for making me a part of their Christmas. It’s strange when you think about it, but I get sent shares on Facebook posts where I am in the picture and the family is including me in their world. I’ve walked into homes where I am on the wall but have never met the people before: a Christmas card on a refrigerator, grandchildren, friends, it’s amazing. I do appreciate the fact that I’m allowed to cuddle infants, have dad’s and mom’s sit on my knee, and be part of a family tradition. Many people on Friday had been there to visit me several times over the last few years, others were just starting the journey of growing children. All honored me by allowing me a spot in the photograph.

Santa's secret elf

Santa’s secret elf

One especially gracious friend brought toys for me to give out to some children in need this week. Three trash bags full of top-shelf stuff. I am so blessed to have elves like this one: a heart of gold.

Not only do I get to be in lots of pictures, but I meet neat people. One of them is Shelly Boyum-Breen who has written an excellent series of books about Shelly Bean the Sports Queen. These books are for children, and revolve on the theme of girls being sports stars. Well illustrated, nice message, well written, she was fun to talk to while we waited for our various customers. Turns out we have friends in common as well. It’s a pretty small world when you really think about it.

Shelly Boyum-Breen

Shelly Boyum-Breen

Santa occasionally sings as well, and Friday was one of those times: nobody died as a result. That is largely due to the charming people from the Roe Family Singers. I’ve had the joy of sharing the venue with them before, and I heartily endorse their musical stylings as well as their family-friendly lyrics. They can get anyone to dance and sing with them: including me. I only hope that the videos are kind to an guy in a red pair of pants who blew out the microphone singing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Go hit their Facebook page for a quick like, they’ll appreciate it I’m sure.

I’m rambling. That happens when your heart is full of love and joy at the exceptional gift that God has given me in being Santa. I spent three hours tonight enjoying the company of my fellow man. I spoke to children and adults of all flavors. I drank in the love and warmth that can only come from a small child’s smile. I prayed, I felt blessed. I’ll leave it at that: I am blessed.

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