Christmas break from college always involved completing a few minor goals while staying at home. These goals included no studying, eating lots of free home-cooked meals, down-hill skiing, girls, washing a semester of dirty clothes and earning some money. The last goal got me into a curious situation that snowy Christmas break of 1980.
A friend that worked for the Copper Country Mall had heard that I was home for the winter break and all that I was doing was pillaging my folk’s side by side refrigerator, so she offered me a job at her shopping paradise. Despite my desperate state of funds I was still tempted to decline the rather generous proposition.
I was a skinny kid that weighed a mere 160 pounds in 1980. I went home and asked my always supportive mom to make me a fat suit to put under my new red work-clothes. My mom took old pillows and stitched them together and I was ready for the Santa gig.
In 1980 kids were asking for Caboodles, Go-bots, Baby Wet & Go, Ghost-Buster action figures, Gummi Bears, Glo-Worms, Talking ALF, Mork and Mindy Dolls, Cabbage-Patch kids, Barn-yard Commandoes, G.I. Joe action figures, Barbie’s Dream House and so much more. My pretty young female elf took the pictures and I smiled and said Santa statements, like “Ho-Ho-Ho!” “What a handsome young man or beautiful girl” “What do you want for Christmas” and “Don’t worry spit-up comes right out!”
After days of playing the part of a mall Santa I got a little relaxed in my festive role. That’s when the ill-advised side of me can take control. The problem with my sense of humor is that most of my comedy is reserved for an audience of “ONE”. I am my own best admirer and I always laugh at all my jokes.
So seeing my friends in line with their two tiny tots gave me opportunity to exercise my lack of judgment. It was fun to see amazed toddlers and the youthful parents’ astonishment as I welcomed them by name. Little Timmy and Jenny were excited to see Santa and we did get into an amusing dialogue. However, I had to push it to the next level. As a joke on their parents I told them that they were getting a beautiful white pony for Christmas! I could just see them trying to care for a pony in their two bedroom apartment.
The tiny rug-rats jumped for joy and the parents were traumatized in stunned silence. I laughed the rest of the day. The expressions on their face were a hoot.
My friends went into a Yule Tide investigation to discover the true identity of the Santa that they wanted to put in a box and mail back to the North Pole. In short time they knew that I was the malicious red-coat.
I do not want to write out the contents of the phone conversation. Yet, you have already guessed that it started with a “What were you THINKING!?!!” I learned that I was not the best representative of Santa. Santa made a personal call on two little happy campers that season and straightened out his little joke.
Many years later I think about that funny day and laugh. My friends might be able to laugh about it now. However, I still never worry about being a bad Santa representative. However, I am often overwhelmed with the thought that I have been and continue to be an awful representative of the real reason for the season. I am the face of my precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to live my life to bring glory to Jesus!