November 26, 2013


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for everyone who believes in Santa


November 24, 2013


Fourteen brave souls wearing Santa Hats began the Laurel Mountain Borough Santa Hat Event with a chilly walk along seven of the Borough’s eleven roads.

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park's shelter house

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park’s shelter house

The Santa Hat Walk went as planned except for me—I couldn’t participate. The day before I slid on my stairs and pulled some stuff in my knees. Walking was out.

The walkers, including a preschooler and an octogenarian, were led by Borough homeowner Alice Grasso and her daughter Rachel, a resident.

Half way to the end...

Half way to the end…

The walk ended, as planned, at my house, necessary because we needed to be in reach of a Wi-Fi source in order to connect with the Santa Hat Challenge in Brocton, Massachusetts. The schedule called for a brief program about Santa Clause, with a welcome message, singing, and storytelling.

The Santa Hat Event was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group. It was timed simultaneously with the 5th Annual Santa Hat Challenge held in Brocton, Massachusetts. Its purpose of the challenge was to set an intercontinental record for most persons gathering and wearing Santa Hats in recognition of Brocton native James Edgar, the first department store Santa 1890. The original Brocton event was organized by John Merian, a Brocton community businessman.

At 2:00 p. m. Wi-Fi was to enable us to electronically connect with Brocton’s event. I received a call from John’s electronics person Rich, and we walked through connecting through Skype. At that point the connection worked perfectly, and we agreed to reconnect at 1:00p. m.


On Saturday the Laurel Mountain Park plan for the day was changing. The weather was bitter cold, giving us two options: having our post-walk program out in the cold front yard, or moving it into my living room. The shelter house was not an option due to the need for Wi-Fi. At this point we had no idea how many persons would attend.

At mid-morning Sunday Rich, Merian’s electronics advisor, and I connected by Skype. He walked down the street in Brocton to where John had a stage set up. John and I spoke briefly and all was well for our 2:00 p. m scheduled connection.

Brocton, Mass.

Brocton, Mass.

John Merian, initiator of the Santa Hat Challenge

John Merian, initiator of the Santa Hat Challenge

As it turned out, attendance wasn’t too large, nor was it too small. It happened that it was just right—18. The cold had caused some families not to bring their very young children.

We crowded into my living room, which had just enough space.

I had not planned beverages or snacks, but Ann Woodall brought two containers of hot decalf coffee. Out came the coffee cups and mugs, sugar, cream, hot chocolate packets and tea. It was good to have them, as the walkers definitely were chilled and had cold hands.


The following are excerpts from my welcome message…

Did you hear??? Last December 15th in a community about an hour away from Laurel Mountain Borough the manager of a well-known chain restaurant asked Santa to leave.

We are here today to show support for Santa by wearing our Santa hats. Later on today Santa will visit Laurel Mountain Borough. Will you ask him to leave? Or will you welcome him?

To make this day more interesting there are people around the world who are also showing support for Santa. Through the magic of computers we will try communicate with Brocton, Massachusetts; Mullinger, Ireland, and Melbourne, Australia. (Unfortunately, Ireland and Australia had problems connecting electronically, partially based on the time difference. However, they sent videos of their participation.) We should see Brocton residents wearing their Santa hats at the same time they see us wearing our Santa hats.

It will be a fun day because we don’t know what to expect when we try to connect with Brocton at 2:00 p. m.

… You ask Why Brocton?

James Edgar of Brocton, Massachusetts, was the very first department store Santa Claus. He was a natural for the job. He was tall and well-padded with a ruddy complexion and a snowy white beard. He had a deep, rich voice. A friend once described him as “a lusty, loud, and happy man who loved children.”

The Santa hat event was initiated by Brocton businessman John Merian. He hopes to honor James Edgar and to raise awareness of the city that claims his hometown pride.

Now I have a little story to share with you. You all know how Santa’s reindeer Rudolf had a very special nose. But there is another special reindeer on Santa’s team—BlitzenIt all started when Blitzen was a young child.

He grew up in the highest of the mountain peaks in Switzerland. They are so high, so close to the  sky that every time a storm cloud passed by it ZAPPED-POWED Blitzen on his antlers.

He was struck by lightning—ZAP-POW—so many times that he became electrically charged.

Actually, for Blitzen, this was kind of fortunate, because eventually he was able to receive radio and television stations through his antlers. 

His nose also started to point north.

One day, when Blitzen decided to follow his nose’s magnetic attraction, he found himself headed towards the North Pole. When he arrived Santa immediately saw his ability and placed him on the reindeer team.

Blitzen soon became Santa’s compass. He also became Santa’s lightning rod, protecting Santa and the other reindeer as they flew through storms. He could radio back to the North Pole at Santa’s request.

Isn’t that a neat story?

It’s time for songs and stories. We’re approaching the 2:00 hour, when we shoould be connecting with Brocton. None of us knows how this will work.


While we waited, we sang Santa songs and listened to stories read by Beanery Writers Group members Anna Beck, Mary Martin and Carolyn Holland. Ann Woodall also read an item she brought.  Things were now going as scheduled.



The 2:00 hour came. No Skype call. I tried ringing them without success.

We decided Santa would visit while we were waiting. After all, we didn’t know what was happening in Brocton. The weather had them scheduled in the midst of a nor’easter. If they should call during Santa’s visit we would stop and share conversation.

Santa came. The kids were shy, but Mrs. Claus wasn’t.

photo 3E

Santa stayed to see if we would connect with Brocton, which is a Boston suburb. I finally went to the landline and called. Rich answered.

“It’s 28 degrees here,” he said. “Add the 20-mile per hour winds and the wind chill factor makes it really cold. The computer isn’t responding well. It died.”

Although disappointed, we all understood from the start there could be connection problems. I just didn’t expect it to be from the cold.

We gathered for a group photograph to end the festivities.


“We’re in the spirit now,” I heard someone say.


IMG_2049EAnd so a day to celebrate Santa Claus, to celebrate the first department store Santa (James Edgar), and to join with other communities celebrating the same spirit, ended.




Santa Hat Walk 2013 in Laurel Mountain Borough Carolyn’s Compositions

The Laurel Mountain Borough Santa Hat Walk 2013  Laurel Mountain Borough Newsletter site

The Brocton, Massachusetts Santa Hat Challenge

A Record for the Most Santa Hats on Two Continents Simultaneously


(A NaBloPoMo post)


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