Danithew as Santa

If a member of the bishopbric asks you to play Santa Claus at the ward Christmas party, does that mean you’re fat?

Well, a few weeks ago I was asked if I’d be willing to do this. I was feeling amused, nervous and insulted at the request, so yes, I agreed to do it.

No one should ever try on a Santa suit until performance day and I went along with that well-established pattern.

The Santa suit consisted of:

  • one-size-fits-all red pants with elastic band to keep them up. All of us should be grateful for elastic that works.
  • a broad black belt that is purely non-functional and ornamental.
  • a red top with white trim. The top zips up and buttons around the neck, causing you to suffer heat-stroke.
  • a strap-on beard that snaps back onto your face when the precocious little girl mischievously pulls on it and says “I know who you are!”
  • a wig
  • a red Santa hat
  • bushy white adhesive eyebrows that do not stick – any future Santas out there should make sure ahead of time that the eyebrows will stick. A Santa Claus with eyebrows that don’t match his hair and beard might as well just be screaming out THE TRUTH. More on that later …
  • shoe covers that vaguely resemble black boots. These “pullover” boots have elastic stirrups that go around the bottom of each foot (warning: kids who pay attention to every Santa detail are going to see that you are wearing sneakers under these and cry foul)

Additional notes on the overall Santa experience:

a) Santa is a very popular dude. You won’t have to go around the room to say hello to the kids and give them candy canes because they will rush you en masse. If there are choices between red-and-white candy canes and colored candy canes, some children (or their parents) may come back asking if they can have the colored ones, because those ones are better.

b) Children can be divided into basically three groups: a) the youngest who apprehend Santa as a god-like figure and are consequently terrified out of their minds at the sight of large men wearing the color red; b) a slightly older group of kids who fiercely and loyally believe in and love Santa but may just recognize that danithew has a calling in the ward nursery and (how dare he) is “pretending to be Santa”; c) a fairly large contingent of kids between the ages of 5 and 9 years who know THE TRUTH and want to let the fake Santa know that HE ISN’T REAL.

c) it’s a good thing that this Santa was only handing out candy canes and reading a pop-up book although one devastated child told Santa that he had “forgotten something” and that he was supposed to listen to what he wanted for Christmas at which point Santa told him that he should tell his parents what he wanted and they, in turn, would tell Santa.

Which reminds me that the only thing worse than lying about Santa Claus is lying about Santa Claus IN CHURCH.

One last note – the next day in nursery one of my favorite kids looked at me very accusingly and said “YOU PRETENDED TO BE SANTA!”