BY SANTA BRETT
Why would an aging gentleman tolerate the long hair and beard year round and sit for hours with little ones on his lap risking bodily fluids appearing from multiple locations?
The answer: to see the excitement, life, and hope in a child’s and their parents’ (mostly their mom’s) faces. I try to live in a way that I can represent Santa, who, regardless of what I’m doing or the time of year, is always being watched by little eyes. How does Santa handle long lines, hot 4th of July parties, flat tires, and other regular life stuff? Little ones are watching and being Santa helps me live up to wearing the red suit.
I can’t give every child a gift, but I do give all children I see a piece of me, my heart, my love, compassion, and caring. When given the opportunity, I can talk about those things that really matter. Hearts open when they realize that they, the children, are supposed to give gifts of love and service. That’s my focus.
Santa had his beginnings in a small town in what is now Turkey on March 15, 270, when St. Nicholas was born. He grew to give away all his inheritance and traveled the countryside, helping the poor and protecting the children. So many cultures have a Santa Claus figure from Old Man Winter, in Scandinavian countries, who flew his eight-legged horse through the sky delivering gifts, to Sinterklass in Holland, Papa Noel in France, to Father Christmas in Britain, and the Santa Claus we know and love in America. They all have giving gifts in common, gifts of love, service, toys, excitement, and joy.
That’s really why I love being Santa. It’s a big responsibility to be the Santa the children need. I pray before each time in the chair that I can say and do the things the children need that day, that the children can leave our visit in a better place. After six weeks in the chair, I am full of love, fulfilled, wanting to hold just one more child, and very ready for a long winter’s nap.
If you think Christmas has become too commercial, shift your focus to the real reason for the season: faith — faith in families, faith in each other, faith in love, and faith that we can work together to create peace on earth. The Grinch said it best: “Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we.” I try to embody the true spirit of Christmas and be a part of creating the joy and mystique for children young and old through stories, songs, and love following the true Giver of Gifts.
Some of my Best Memories in the Santa Chair:
A child bringing a short list of things hoped for – for someone else.
A big sister who makes sure her little brother’s requests are really heard.
A child who brought ME a gift with a hand-drawn picture of his family.
The terrified 2-year-old who really wants to sit on Santa’s lap but the hype has undone him and so he wails.
The little girl who rushes back to give me the cookie she brought with her and forgot to give me.
On Special Needs day: the best, biggest, most sincere hugs in the world – seeing Alice 6 times that day.
On Pet Day: Holding twin girls with guinea pigs dressed as elves.
Holding a girl on my lap taking her annual picture with Santa for her mother – she was 72. Her mother was 90.
Talks with teens and ask “What are you doing for your mother for Christmas?” Love and Service. Not things. A pinky promise sealed the deal.
You can see more of Santa Brett on his Santa Brett Utah Facebook Page and catch his Stories with Santa series.