News / Opinion
I’ve always considered myself as somewhat of a tough guy. After all, I did grow up in a mining town, survived the army, am a biker and raised three daughters on a journalist’s salary.
However, the toughest assignment I’ve ever been tasked with, was being Santa Claus. Despite being very young at the time, scrawny and a bit rough around the edges, so to speak, I thought I was big and strong enough to don the red suit after the real Santa failed to pitch at a Christmas event.
What kind of a Santa doesn’t pitch after having been paid for performing his Christmas duty, leaving a few dozen children with shattered dreams? I decided to step in. How difficult could it be? I asked to a cacophony of laughter from my peers.
So, there I was, wrapped in pillows to bulk me up, wearing black gumboots and a red outfit made from the thickest material on planet Earth, complete with a fake cotton wool beard. Not the perfect outfit with the temperature touching 35°C.
The procedure was simple: Take a gift, call out the name, the parents bring the child to receive the gift, pose for a picture, repeat.
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Simple? Ho, ho, ho, what lies we tell ourselves!
I decided to start off slow and selected a gift for one of my own children, as a “test run”. Disaster. She screamed blue murder and clung to her mother as if her life depended on it. She was more than willing to give up her gift rather than sit on scary Santa’s lap.
The fear and panic spread like wildfire. Most of the other little ones were wide-eyed, with trembling little lips and arms wrapped around mommys’ legs.
The second gift went to a snot-covered boy who wiped his face on my shoulder. I looked as if a snail family had crawled all over me. It didn’t get any better. Without going into too much detail, I must just add that a leaking nappy and vomit was part of my ordeal.
I promised myself: never again.
To the real Santa: I take my hat, my red coat and my black gumboots off to you. You’re one tough guy.