Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Believe in Santa Claus

When someone asks me if I believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas, I tell them, "Hell yes!" I have seen the fat man in action and felt the magic first hand.

For the past 8 years, we have been involved with a local organization called Christmas Promise. They are a grassroots operation that does not seek publicity. They get referrals of 250-300 families each year from local schools and outreach organizations. Then they get people and businesses to sponsor those families by purchasing Christmas gifts and food gift certificates. On Christmas Eve, Santa goes to the house and delivers the gifts. The only person the families ever see if Santa. When they ask him where he is from he answers "The North Pole".

I have been blessed to be a sleigh driver. I have seen first hand poverty in my own community, but I have seen something much more powerful "Love".

This year I helped Santa get ready

and we headed to the North Pole to load up the sleigh. Our team consists of Santa, a driver and an Elf. Our elf was running late so I called him to check up on him. Seems our Elf got locked in at the warehouse and Santa had to make some phone calls to get someone to drive back and let him out. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus got to load the sleigh all by herself. We finally hit the road and headed to stop number one. On the way there we saw one of the funniest sets of Christmas lights

Because nothing says Christmas like a big green alien on your garage.

AT the first house, we discovered that the North Pole Elves made a mistake: there were 2 extra children at the house. Santa visited with them and then let them know he would be back in a while. We got back in the sleigh and made a quick call to the North Pole with names and ages of the children and the Elves got to work.

We headed to our second stop. The 2nd stop was at a small apartment complex that reminded me of a a motel. The apartments were a U shape around a central parking lot. When we pulled up 2 wanna-be gang bangers in droopy pants and baggy sweatshirts were on the street looking tough. We pulled in and sent the elf to scope out which apartment we needed. Once he ascertained where the apartment was Santa got out and headed to the apartment. One of the bangers headed over to the truck.
"Hey, Santa's going to my apartment?"
I turned to him and said "Oh, you must be 'R'".
"Yea, how did you know?"
"I'm from the North Pole, I know everything."
In that moment, I saw him transform from a street tough 17 year old to a little kid and he hurried to go see Santa. Of course by this time, every kid in the complex had spotted Santa and he was surrounded. Luckily, Santa always carries lots of toys in his magic Santa Bag so every kid got a present. Santa delivered his load of gifts and we headed to our third stop.

At the third stop Santa went to the door and knocked. It was opened by a very confused teen aged boy. Santa asked for "A" who had written a letter to Santa. The boy called her saying "Hey 'A' come to the door. Santa's here."
"Yea right!"
It took 3 times before a very shocked "A" came to the door to see that Santa was indeed at her front door. Once we knew Santa was at the correct house, our elf began running bags of gifts to the porch. Inside Santa was being bombarded by picture after picture from a digital camera. There were 10 children in the house ranging in age from 2 months to 19 years. At one point, one of the babies crawled up to him very curious. "Oh maybe we could get a picture with Santa holding him!" Santa obliged and as soon as he picked him up Niagra Falls started from the baby's eyes.

At this point Santa stopped and cocked his head. "What's that Dasher? Ok, just a minute."
The kids all looked at him incredulously. "You can talk to the reindeer?"
"Of course," Santa replied. "You have to know how to listen."
The room got silent while all the kids cocked their heads and tried to hear. Santa went to the door, opened it and asked, "Have you been good?"
The kids tenuously replied. "yes" and Santa started bring in bags of gifts. The house erupted with squeals and the flashes started all over again.

Santa eventually made it out although he was half blind from the flashes. We headed back to the North Pole to pick up the gifts for the first family and to make a much needed potty stop.

We headed back to the first house and they were so surprised to see us coming back. Santa handed out gifts and then headed back to the sleigh. Dad kept asking "Who sent you?" "We're from the North Pole."

Back at the North Pole, Santa wrote out a brief report on each of the families.

This is for all the behind the scenes elves so they can share in the fun.

We said farewell to our elf

and headed home for a long winters nap.

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