CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 24, 2013

Santa Claus Christmas


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug for Jesus

 SANTA CLAUS CHRISTMAS 2013

Snowflakes fell gently and lazily while we rang the Salvation Army bell. Occasionally the breeze would pick up, offering us a wind chill factor. One breeze was sufficiently strong to knock over the kettle support, which we caught before it fell.

Ringing the Salvation Army bell for Heritage United Methodist Church was just one of our Santa Claus gigs this 2013 Christmas season.

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Up to two inches of rainfall, causing some flooding. High winds toppling trees and power lines. Temperature varying between 72o and 60o Fahrenheit.

Typical, if not perfect, spring weather.

Except this was December 22, 2013, the day after the Winter Solstice, in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

For a complex combination of reasons the Salvation Army kettle campaign wasn’t reaching its goals this year, making their work challenging. But an additional challenge was met by the Salvation Army Mon Valley Citadel in Monessen, Pennsylvania, the rains brought added complications. In the midst of a Saturday afternoon downpour their basement experienced a flood that destroyed $3,000 worth of toys stored there, toys collected for needy children.

Lt. Joel Thwaite  and Lt. Susan Thwaite, husband-and-wife team leaders of the Citadel, were amazed when they arrived at the Citadel was again filled with toys donated, overnight, by community members, including three truckloads from the Mon Valley Leathernecks (sponsors of the Toys for Tots campaign).

“Everyone else is being Santa today. We’re just the recipients,” Joel Thwaite said.

IMG_2078EHerein lies the rub.

There is an ongoing controversy on the issue of Santa Claus versus Jesus Christ—the secular versus the Christian—and the meaning of the season.

Does—should—the Santa story be part of the Christian Christmas celebration? Should the Salvation Army, being a Christian organization, describe community members responding to their flood as “being Santa?

My husband and I have completed several gigs as Santa and Mrs. Claus this year. He is a retired United Methodist pastor. As a Christian, as a pastor, should he be dressing as Santa?

Neither he nor I expect to answer that question, which has been posed to us on occasion.

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“It is amazing how a Santa suit fosters such wonderful interaction with children and adults alike,” my husband said. “It warms your soul to see those eyes full of joy.”

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SANTA CAN BE SURPRISED TOO

And sometimes Santa gets surprised by someone’s response to seeing him as Santa. We stopped at the Laughlintown Post Office and from the moment he exited the car to get our mail car horns tooted greetings to him.

At one location Rick Kuhn walked enthusiastically up to Santa.

“Dad!!!” the gentleman who towered over Santa exclaimed, “I’m your long lost son.”

When Santa stood up Rick sat in his chair, wiping his brow, obviously emotionally overtaken by this reunion.

Then Santa plopped on Rick’s lap, as Mrs. Claus, her camera ever ready, exercised her trigger finger to record this momentous event.

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We asked young and old alike what they’d like for Christmas. “Most don’t have extravagant gift lists—they just want to share in the love,” Monte added.

Below are age-sorted gift requests, and photos of Monte and I in our subterfuge roles as Santa and Mrs. Claus.

SANTA, I NEED NOTHING

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Older persons (I have to watch this category—I now am a member and I don’t usually consider myself older) in general didn’t want anything: There’s absolutely nothing I need. My wife and I had that discussion the other day. A woman (77) said she’d been good, and doesn’t need anything. A woman (70s) told Santa she’s not really asking anything for Christmas…a doorbell, I need a doorbell…I never ask for anything but I need it. A man (40s) I can’t think of anything, a raise

SANTA, BRING ME AND MY LOVED ONES GOOD HEALTH

IMG_2144EAlong with “nothing” were health and peace related requests.

A woman (80s) told Santa she wanted Good health, I guess. A man requested a new back—he’d fallen down a couple of icy steps and hurt a couple of vertebrae…a woman wants A new body, I’m battling ovarian cancer, and have emphysema, I’m staying positive, I’m fighting, I have to for my grandchildren… another woman (80s), good health, I guess…and another just good health, tonight’s lottery number…and another woman My health, my husband’s health, make us whole, it’s serious, very serious, stage 4 cancer, PTSD.

Another woman (71), who cares for two great grandchildren, wants less stress and good health.

A woman (40s) wants Santa to help my son with his health, lots of prayers for all. I don’t need anything. I have all I need…my new husband and my children

PEACE, JOY, JUSTICE

Barry Reeger photo in the 12/19/2013 Tribune Review

Barry Reeger photo in the 12/19/2013 Tribune Review

A woman (50s) wants Peace and joy, good hearts for my family that is scattered around

Woman (60s) I pray, wish, trust that more will open themselves to being and doing what our Heavenly Father created us to be and do.

MISCELLANEOUS REQUESTS FROM ADULTS

IMG_4694EA man (60s) wants fruitcake, while a woman (80s) wants a repeal Obamacare. It’s what I really want.

And, with humor, the following response:

I can make a list,

check it twice,

I wouldn’t get half.

I ALREADY RECEIVED THE GIFT I WANT

King and Little Dog aren't too happy about getting into the act

King and Little Dog aren’t too happy about getting into the act

A man adorned with a Steelers cap said he already got what I want, a spool of heavy duty thread so I can sew buttons on my pants.

Woman (30s) I already got my Christmas bed, my mommy got it for me

CHILDREN’S REQUESTS

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Santa and Mrs. Claus were surprised at the number of children who didn’t know what they wanted for Christmas, or who asked for one thing “and nothing more.”

But poor Santa. The world is changing so fast he cannot keep up. He should have had one of his electronics-savvy elfs with him, but they are all so busy preparing items for his sleigh that none could take the time off. Fortunately the children were sufficiently awed to be in his presence that they didn’t realize he has no idea what X Box, FIFA 14, 3D5 game system, etc. are. Both he and Mrs. Claus were totally confused at many of the requests.

I saw him visibly relax when he received traditional requests:  two girls (3 and 18 months) wanted a REAL puppy; a hamster; roller skates and nothing else (8), and another, purple roller skates;

Girls requested a doll house I can fit in, girl (3) wants Hello Kitty and My Little Pony. Several girls also requested the new Rainbow Loom Kit which makes elastic bracelets. A boy (9) wants a trampoline; another (9) wants a pocket knife, yet another requested The Diary of a Whimpy Kid book series. There were requests for Lego’s people.

Finally, for a young mother the Main thing is a Hug Me Elmo for her 3-month old daughter.

THE MOST NOTABLE REQUEST

The most notable request for Santa was that of The gift of my inheritance, of the kingdom of God, the greatest gift of all!

My, we do learn a lot while portraying Santa and Mrs. Claus. ‘nough said.

REMEMBER, JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Santa Claus—Children’s Stories, Poems, & MoreChristmas—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More

Nativity Scenes—Quiz, History & Ligonier, PA, Photos

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3 Comments »

  1. Monti and you Carolyn , I suspect are Mr. and Mrs. Santa C. . During the rest of the year you pretend to be normal folk ( well somewhat normal ! ) . Greeeaaattt photos! Btw I know what I want fr Christmass 😉 .

    Comment by Dmtri — December 24, 2013 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  2. Merry Christmas, Carolyn. Thanks for sharing your Santa stories!

    Comment by merry — December 24, 2013 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  3. Your stories bring joy to our hearts. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    Comment by Gladys — December 24, 2013 @ 9:41 am | Reply


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