Father Christmas, Noel Baba

It is that time of the year again in many parts of the world where the festive season of Christmas is celebrated.

Last year I spent many weeks in the RIXOS Premium Hotel Belek in Antalya, Southern Turkey over the Christmas and New Year period, and on Xmas Day I was honoured to be Father Christmas, or Noel Baba, for the guests at a special festive meal.
Previous years I have been taking my share of being Father Christmas for the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames at the Christmas Tree outside Bentall’s Shopping Centre, and this year has been the same.
It is such a privilege to be the Father Christmas for the young children as they are taken shopping with their parents.
Phillip Holt as Santa with the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames Phillip Holt as Father Christmas with the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames
The look in the children’s eyes as they see me, wonderment, they wave back as I wave at them, and when they come-up to Santa, and I engage them in a little conversation, memories food back to me of the time when I believed in Father Christmas.
I ask them what they want me to leave them on Christmas day, and it could be a scooter, a doll, a bicycle, and I wonder if their parents have brought their desires.
I always finish-off by asking them if they will leave me a minced pie and a carrot for Rudolph as we will be very hungry, and the children often add “and a glass of milk“. I always get a big “yes“.
We always offer the children a sweet from a little box in exchange for a donation that the children puts in our collecting bucket, the proceeds of which go to support local charities and services in the Royal Borough of Kingston.
The motto of the Rotary Club is Service above Self, and surely being Santa to the children is not a service but an honour.

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