Sitting down in the Teacher’s Chair under the plastic roof, I suddenly realized I’d forgotten to bring my makeshift beard in from the car! Improvising on the spot, I tied my white scarf around my head crown to chin, like someone with an injury, then covered the top part with the hat.
So the children start to come, and I lift them one at a time onto my lap. I get a sudden thought to play a joke: Instead of asking them what THEY want for Christmas, I decide to start telling them what I want! *:) So (making it up), I tell the first child I want a new computer and a printer; I tell the second one I want to go to Curacao in the Dutch West Indies (from which exotic locale I know one of our little group has just returned). And then I tell a third child I want a new car. To pad it all out a little more, I aIso add a boat.
After three of these reverse Santa-riffs, which the kids seemed to get a kick out of just as a novelty, I think, “Well that’s enough of that!” and start to do a more conventional Santa routine with the others. One or two say, “You’re not Santa!” so I guess the whole scarf-beard thing wasn’t all that convincing, but most of them come up, I ask his or her name (if I’m Santa, I wouldn’t know) and then ask the other children, “Has so-and-so been a good girl (or boy) this year?” Then on to what they want, and at the end I shout to the “elves on the roof” (just out of sight from us), “A mermaid costume for Sarah!” or whatever.
And while I’m talking to the second child, I think it was, I notice that someone has come up and is standing quietly beside me. I turn my head and see it’s a little fellow who’s around 2½–just the sweetest guy! He’s been shyly trying to get my attention, and now that he as it, he says, “Mr. Max, here’s a boat.” And he hands me a little green plastic one from our sandbox toy bins.
Happy Holiday Season, everyone!