Being Santa Claus Isn’t Always Easy, Unless You Believe
by R.L. Briggs
Speaking from past experience, one of the best things that can happen when you are playing Santa Claus is to get those baggy pants off, the whiskers out of your mouth and those phony bootees off your shoes.
Nobody helps. Everyone else is too busy tearing open Christmas packages, strewing tissue paper and colored wrappings around the Christmas tree. Santa struggles on unaided.
He wrenches rib muscles, gets charlie horses, he spits angel hair from his beard, sweats and swears, he wrestles himself from the bright red Santa suit like Jacob and the Archangel. He is accompanied by cries of delight from the recipients of all this Christmas loot who have left him to this fate.
Believe me, I know.
If you think it is any fun to prance around like an overstuffed laundry bag, being JOLLY while giving out with the HO, HO, HO’s, with a mouth full of artificial whiskers in a home-made snow storm breathing in cedar pollen, then you have another think coming.
The thing for you to do is volunteer this Christmas, I can book you solid and write your material for you.
“Have you been a good little girl? Heh, heh, heh.” What an approach.
And yet when we get right down to it, Santa Claus is the only surviving relic of a time gone by, when we all believed that the better we were, the greater our rewards would be.
Santa Claus never needs to be modernized, Santa Claus needs to be unchanging. He needs to wear the baggy pants that are always in danger of falling down, he needs the long white beard that is always getting into his mouth, he needs to give out the jolly HO, HO, HO to every fresh faced, smiling child that he holds on his lap. Of course a bag full of presents goes without saying.
Once in years past I took over for a friend who played Santa every year for a bunch of neighborhood kids and had fallen ill just about the 24th of December.
One of the ladies had rented a Santa Claus costume that would have fit Doc Holliday, if Holliday would have went for such foolishness as dressing up as an overweight Christmas cherub and spitting out Ho, Ho, HO’s to a gang of neighborhood kids. The costume was put together with rubber bands, no buttons, no zippers, no fasteners of any kind.
I put the costume on and retreated to a bathroom. Through the halfway opened door I could hear one of the neighborhood ladies telling the children that the happiest people in the world are the ones that didn’t have anything. That bothered me because I had a whole bag of presents to give out to the children.
I had began to sweat because I had put the costume on too soon, and I had to wait many minutes while the children sang a few carols. Outside, a blizzard was blowing, but inside the central heat was going full blast.
The Santa mask didn’t fit, one of the eyeholes kept slipping down so all I could see was the bathroom floor and a view of my pseudo Santa boots.
When the lady chairperson came to summon me, I was trying to hoist the red trousers to a more respectable altitude, and the wide black patent leather belt had become entangled with the flushing mechanism on the commode. In the excitement of the moment I grabbed the wrong bag and was about to distribute a bag of dirty laundry instead of the presents.
But, like a true champion, I emerged from the bathroom emitting a series of HO, HO, HO’s and have you been a good little boy/girl, when my own personal Wranglers I was wearing under the Santa suit and which I wore for safety sake, let go and split right down the middle.
When this ordeal was over I retreated to the bathroom and clambered from the costume as best and as fast as I could. I was remembering back to the time when there was only one Santa Claus. He wasn’t on every street corner as he is today. He came to Briggs, Oklahoma and we were all glad to see him. Young and old alike, it made no difference if sometimes he left more than he did at others. he was the one and only.
And I don’t remember him bouncing around saying HO, HO, HO. Maybe that was the time when Christmas came out of the Bible, and we all believed.