Thursday, December 13, 2012
Ho Ho Ho!
I got to be part of the magic of Christmas this week. I am a bit of a humbug most years, but nevertheless I was approached to play Santa for the local playgroup’s Christmas party. I know a couple of the parents, but only one of the kids knows me, and we were pretty sure he wouldn't recognise me. (Last year one of the kids freaked out because Santa was his dad, but not his dad, and his dad was Santa, and ... waaaaaah. Hence the need to contract out the the gig.)
I am not a thespian type, and generally avoid being the centre of attention. But I actually loved being Santa! The punters were all 3 or under, in fact Isla (on the left of the pic with her mum Sally) might have been the oldest. They were so sweet, innocent and straightforward (compared to the groups of kids I usually have to wrangle, aged 8-12). I realised afterwards, that for me and all the adults there I was the guy who was playing Santa, but for the kids I really was Santa. Quite a responsibility.
Sally, who is the playgroup coordinator, dropped off the suit to me, a really good quality suit it is too. The beard took some working out, but it actually has a bit that goes over your head to minimise the dangers of beard-tugging toddlers. I put it all on at home, classical pillow-up-the-jumper and all. I felt a responsibility, shared with all Santas (and any other grown-ups called upon to be Mickey Mouse, a Banana In Pyjama etc) to not be seen getting in or out of costume. So I waddled down to the car as Santa, drove as Santa, got out of the car as Santa, changed my dainty driving shoes for serious Santa Boots as Santa, and set off across the soccer field to the appointed spot in the Darcy Street playground, ringing my bell and trying out a few Ho Ho Ho's. Or the old 3H as we call it in the caper.
Sally did a fantastic job planning it all, and making it very easy for me. I sat in the shade of a marquee, next to a small decorated tree that fell over regularly. The parents had all smuggled in gifts for me to hand out, and that went smoothly. Although one or two were very shy they all came and took their gift from me in the end, one or two shook hands and Santa scored a kiss and a couple of hugs. Once the gifts were sorted, it was time for the traditional sit on Santa's lap session. The parents seemed keen to get photos to remember it all by, so I took that as a sign it was going well. Weird to think that I am going to printed and stuck on grandparents fridges all around Australia.
Once everyone had all the photos they wanted, it was time for Santa to move on to his next port of call. Fortunately my initial line of retreat was around a corner, as I had serious pants-sag issues. Santa exited backwards, ringing his bell, ho-ing.