I’d only been married four months when I had my first Santa experience. This may seem odd, you know, since I was a child once. However, this Santa experience was of a different making.
Being a newlywed, I really wanted our first Christmas to be special and memorable so I decorated our apartment with loving care, made certain all the packages for my new husband were wrapped and under the tree in plenty of time for Steve to study them and try to guess what was in each package. I even took a candy-making class so I could make some yummy treats just for him. This was also the year I bought my deluxe Santa Claus suit.
I’m not kidding! Full suit: beard, wig, boots, belt, and fur-edged red velvet suit.
We began a new tradition that first Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve with my parents and intended to spend Christmas Day with his parents. That meant midnight Christmas Eve was all ours. Steve bought a bottle of champagne and we exchanged presents. Once all the wrappings were cleared away, I stood up, kissed him on the mouth, and told him to get comfortable because I was going to slip into something more comfortable. Then I excused myself and went into our bedroom where I changed in my new Santa Claus suit.
When I came back into the living room carrying a red sack with a few presents I’d hidden in the bedroom, I found Steve stretched out on the sofa sans shirt and socks. When he noticed me in the doorway, our eyes met and I knew instantly he was NOT prepared for how I was dressed.
That story gets told at least once a year and I can still see the exchange of looks between Steve and my Dad when the story was first told at my parent’s home. But that Santa suit has brought a lot of memorable moments since that very first year. I can remember dressing up to surprise my nephews on Christmas Eve for many years until my oldest nephew, Scott sat on my lap and–in answer to my question of what he would like–he said, “Well, Aunt Valerie, I’d like …”
My jaw dropped and my eyes watered as I laughed myself hoarse.
I can recall people–complete strangers–waving to me on the road as I drove to work dressed as Santa. It’s funny how someone–anyone–dressed as Santa can bring a smile to even the crabbiest person.
The Santa suit’s been retired a couple of years now. Its elbows and knees are worn and the beard has seen better days, but the memories woven into the fabric of that old suit will live on forever. Have you ever had a Santa Experience? I’d love to hear it.
Christmas–the birth of Christ–is about incredible love. I hope all who read this got a smile, and I hope you all have a very blessed Christmastime.