Saturday, December 6, 2008

M & M's eat Breakfast With Santa

Here he is, the Jolly Old Elf, coming to our little school to eat breakfast with the kiddies!

Normally this is an activity that I pass on attending, but this year seemed like a good time to come back. I think the last time I went to one of these events was 35 years ago. I remember it as a "not very fun" event.

I think I was in charge of entertainment that year, and I had managed to secure a 30 member singing group to perform for the event. They did the gig for a $25 donation, and the person in charge of the entire event wouldn't even give them a donut to eat for their work, because we were paying them! That did it for me, because I was so embarassed by that. I said, "Adieu, so long, see you later, alligator" and never came back. Bad memories like that die hard, so this year was the first time it seemed like I had a reason to stick my toe in the water to try "Breakfast With Santa" again.

I am the vice-president of our Ladies Club at church, and this was the sponsoring organization. The president is a young gal, full of energy, seeming to toss off planning of big events without breaking much of a sweat. Little did I know that she had planned this event for the group for what seems like many years, because it was beautifully planned, and without much fanfare on her part. She had workers, she had elves, she had Santa, she had cooks, she had it all. There was plenty for the kids to do, the breakfast was hot, (all you can eat pancakes, not the usual donuts and a carton of milk). They had it planned down to the beautiful stickers that they made to put on the pictures that they took while the kid was on Santa's lap! I was very impressed.

My part of this was to be to lead little singing groups in Christmas carols. Well, the bulk of the mass of children was not interested in that. I wasn't offended, and left my guitar in the case and stayed with my grandkids.

The M & M's are at a very good age for Santa's aura. The boy M, age 4-3/4, yelled out the window one night to Santa, hoping he was flying around practicing with the reindeer above their house, and he gave his extra secret wish to Santa that way. So he had no need to converse with Santa in the flesh. However, he was brave, and when real live Santa walked around the room today, Boy M reached over and gave him a big hug. That was it for him!

Girl M, age 3-1/2 was braver. She hugged Santa when he came to their table, and worked up the courage to go sit on his lap, get her picture taken with him, and tell him that she wanted a Princess "fing", and she wanted it in pink. We got some darling pictures of her full participation in the Santa lap sitting thing.

Boy M wanted to know how Santa got there to the church. Did he come in a car? Did the elves drive him there and then leave, only to come back to retrieve him when the event was over? Boy M couldn't make that work in his mind, without seeing some sort of conveyance parked outside or on the roof, he remained unconvinced about the whole reality of the situation.

So for all of us, it was a fun couple of hours. I think seeing Santa in the flesh lets the kids grapple with the whole idea of the reality of this story. I was a "believer" for a very long time. When I was 10 and in the 5th grade, I found out that my father was chosen to be the Santa for the entire school (he didn't need padding.) My neighbor kids knew who it was, and told me, but I was in disbelief about the whole thing, even when I sat on his lap and he gave me my candy cane. I still didn't believe it, even when I saw our car parked on the school parking lot at 2 in the afternoon. I held on to my belief of Santa in the face of unequivocal proof of the reality of things.

So, as the conductor in the "Polar Express" says, you must believe. Punch my ticket, Conductor, I want to believe again, just as I did as a child. It makes the season oh so very special.

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