Up to this point, the stories I have shared have been fun and light hearted. In this chapter I intend to share stories of another nature. Those stories that have really touched me and stories that have brought a tear to my eye.
As a Santa, I have all heard the requests for Santa to get mom and dad back together, or have them be nice to each other. In recent years I also hear the request for Santa to bring mommy or daddy home from over seas. Of course I can not promise that I can do anything about that but sometimes with just a little help from the Guy upstairs miracles can happen. I am reminded of the mom and son that came to visit Santa just before Christmas. All he wanted was for dad to be home for Christmas. With some questioning Santa discovered that dad was in Iraq. As much as you would like to do something, there are things that are just out of your hands. Santa told the little boy that about all he could do was to offer a short prayer to keep dad safe and bring him home soon. Santa announced to the line of people waiting that this was going to take a few moments and after getting permission from mom, a prayer was said. When Santa finished he looked up to see mom crying and everyone in line bowing their heads but from the other direction Santa saw out of the corner of his eye a service man running onto the set. Yes it was dad! He had gotten a leave and after several flights had arrived home with no notice. He was able to find out from his mother that his wife and son where at the mall. Some things just work out, no matter what.
Sometimes all you can do is hope that you have had some impact on the situation. Santa had a very young gal come visit him all alone. This bothered me since you don’t want young children running around by themselves. As I was talking with her I was looking around for a parent on the outside of the set. She asked Santa for makeup for Christmas. I asked her if she meant like lip gloss or what and she said no she wanted real makeup. I chuckled and asked her if she wanted all the boys chasing her. The response that I got from her shocked me. She said the reason she wanted makeup was to make her look pretty because everyone told her she was so ugly. Here was a little gal that was so pretty and no more that 4 years old, already scared by someone older. As I talked to her and tried to reassure her how pretty she was and by no way ugly, I continued to look for someone who was with her, but to no avail. I think I was able to do some good since she was bouncing as she left. I tried to watch her as she left but lost her in the crowd.
The next story involved a family. It started with a gal about 8 coming to see me alone. She was very sweet and asked Santa to help her mom and that she didn’t want anything for Christmas. She sat for awhile and just snuggled. I sensed a real need on her part and kept her there as long as I could but off she went. A short time later I saw a mom with several children including one in a wheelchair and the little gal from before outside the set. I urged them to come and see me but they didn’t. So I went out to visit them and suggested the kids come and see me. Mom was very sad and said she didn’t have money for a picture. There was something in her eyes that I could see. I told her Santa would take care of the picture if they came, so I lead the kids onto the set as mom pushed the wheelchair in. The wheelchair gal seemed to be the oldest child and I asked mom if I could hold her. We got a lovely picture of all 4 children. After I put the gal back in her wheelchair mom gave me a big hug as she cried and told me thank you over and over. As they were leaving I asked the earlier gal to come and talk for a moment. I then understood the situation. She must have been a major caregiver to her other 3 siblings and it all weighed heavily on her. I told her I understood and that at some point things would get better for her, her siblings and her mom. She never said anything but hugged me and saw a tear in her eyes as she left. I hope I was able to help in some way.
That is all you can do. Every year I try to make visits to nursing homes in the area and it seems the ones I make the biggest impact in are the Alzheimer’s units. I would visit with the people in the common room and then the nurses would take me around to visit the bed bound ones. Here are people that may not even know their names and haven’t been out of their beds for days. When I walk in their eyes light up, they jump out of bed shouting “I know you, you’re Santa”. Visits like this I don’t know who benefits more, the patients or Santa.
Every Santa has many stories like this. Some visit hospice houses since somewhere there are children being affected by the passing of a loved one. There is an organization that does just that. It is called Santa America and has affiliated Santas in almost every state and some foreign countries.
I hope that I have touched your hearts with these stories. I know I get a tear whenever I think about some of these people and wonder if I did have an affect on them and where they might be now. Well next chapter I promise to lighten up again. So until then:
Remember to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive in your heart all year long.