Christmas in the UK is a very important part of the year, disregarding any religious meanings, it is a time of friendship, a time for giving and relieving, a time to be with the family, it is a special time for children, it has become highly commercialised. (see Getting the festive spirit ).
I have joined Rotary Club in Kingston upon Thames for the fellowship and also to give back to the community through service.
At this time of the year, the club erects a Christmas tree outside the Bentall’s Shopping Center, with its’ lights and Santa’s hut from which is played carols to attract the passing shoppers and to give an atmosphere.
Club members collect money for local charities, each member, where possible, taking turns to stand with a collecting bucket for any donations over just short of two weeks, devoting their time for free.
I was able to devote some of my time to this annual project, and some of this time was to be Father Christmas, Santa Claus, wearing his red cloak and having a long white beard.
It has not been the first time I have been Santa Claus, but by far this experience is proving to be the most rewarding.
Standing there being very conspicuous, many people just walk by in a dream, yet others, knowing the great work Rotary members undertake, placing a few coins into my bucket, sometimes even large bank notes.
But the best reward is to watch the children’s faces as they see me, or should I say Santa Claus.
Young children, and even old ones like me, believe that when we go to sleep on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus attach’s his reindeer to his sleigh, which is full of presents for every child in the world, and during the night he delivers each and every present to each sleeping child, often climbing down the chimney, leaving them at the foot of the bed or the base of the Christmas Tree. Santa also leaves little gifts, sweets, an orange, in a sock which should hang from the fire mantelpiece.
But, Santa needs to know what to bring, so often mommies and daddies will take the children to see Santa so he can ask what they want and then prepare the presents for delivery.
I keep my eyes open for approaching families with young children and wave to them and when the young children see Santa, their eyes light up, their faces beam, there is excitement. They often are brought up to Santa, and then they tell me what they want for Christmas.
When they have told Santa Claus, I then ask them if they will be good, to go to sleep early on Christmas Eve, and to leave Santa a mince pie, because “I will be very hungry delivering all the presents“.
Often the father will ask Santa if he would like a whiskey left too? Um, I wonder who for really?
One young boy had written a letter to Santa detailing his list of presents he wanted. He addressed it as:-
29 Reindeer Road,
He asked for a range of 15 presents and snow on Christmas Day.
Now I am getting the Christmas Spirit.
So happiness and goodwill to you all.