Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Santa's Report Card 2014

Santa’s life is not an easy one.  Oh, there is plenty of the joy and happiness and ho-ho-ho laughter, all those things that Santa stands for in the world.  But in today’s enlightened, social-media-friendly world where information can be passed seemingly faster than the speed of light, Santa faces several conundrums that are not easily dealt with.
Case in point: Santa’s 3-year old granddaughter, Linnea, whom we most affectionately call Linnie, she of the firm mind and undaunted spirit.  Linnie, along with her 12 cousins of the Santa and Mrs. Santa lineage, had observed in our Claus career last year that Grandma and Grandpa would occasionally put on the red velvet suits and go out and about as the happy couple.  The questions were inevitable, so Grandma Claus and I decided to be proactive and tell them all the truth before the questions started – that Grandma and Grandpa were only some of Santa’s ‘helpers’, because the real Santa needed lots of helpers to visit all the little boys and girls in the world.  The plan worked well – last year.
So this year, little Linnie was present when Santa emerged from his ‘dressing room’ – and Linnie’s face lit up like the star on top of the Christmas tree.
“Grandpa, you’re Santa Claus, aren’t you.”  No question – more of a declaration.
I started in with my pre-arranged explanation.  “Well, Linnie, Grandpa is not Santa, I’m only one of his . . . “
Linnie interrupted, fists on hips and with a stern look on her face which said that she wasn’t putting up with any more of Grandpa’s stories.  “NO, Grandpa!”  She said, with a look that would put any man to cringing in his fur-topped boots.  “You ARE Santa!” 
And she stormed away, having put both Grandpa and Santa Claus in their rightful place.
I guess I’ll just have to live with it.
Santa survived that encounter with a sure-minded 3-year old to enjoy something in the neighbourhood of about seven hundred children on his knee this Christmas season.  I am pleased to report that my knees survived, along with the rest of me.  (It was only due to the TLC that Mrs. Santa brings along on every visit). 
I have spent my life studying people, and the Santa believers are the most interesting people I have ever encountered.  About 75% of the under 2 crowd will NOT go anywhere near Santa, suffering from what social scientists call ‘coulrophobia’: fear of clowns.  I understand this affliction perfectly.  Whenever I look in the mirror, I wonder that anyone would want to come near.  We always reassure the parents of the coulrophobic little ones that “s/he’ll feel better about Santa next year.”
At the other end of the spectrum are the late pre-teen crowd, who have discovered the truth about Santa and who are reluctant to sit on my knee and participate in what they feel is an elaborate deception, somehow meant to make them seem silly.  Many of them will still come, reluctantly, and I try to reassure them that they are not silly, rather that they are only helping to bring some happiness into a world that desperately needs more of it.

The middle grouping, from about age 3-10, are the smiling, happy crowd for whom Santa exists fully and benevolently.  And this is my report card for 2014:  the world of my future will be in good hands, because today there are THOUSANDS of young ones who have a smile that will not stop.  From 5-year old Arrabella whose smile was so infectious I still smile to myself, filled with the love of happy child, when I think of it; to 10-year old Jake, afflicted with Down’s, whose smile told me that even with his challenges in life he was as happy a young man as he could be.
This smile phenomenon tells Santa much, without a word being spoken.  It tells me that today’s parents are in fact bringing their children up in happiness, teaching them, raising them with love and a hope for a better future.  It tells me that in a world that appears on all fronts to be going to pot, that there are still plenty of smiles out there amongst what I can only conclude to be the quiet – and happy – majority.  Yes, of course there is much to be done, much sadness to banish – but there are plenty of smiles out there with which to fight the good fight.
It tells me there is hope for the future.  And that any time now, when my daughter puts me in a seniors’ rest home as she often threatens to do when I tell groaner jokes or silly stories, that there will be plenty of smiling people around to look after me, when I need it the most.
I’m glad to have had every one of those 700-odd smiles this year.  I hereby dub 2014 the Year of the Smile!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a very merry 2015!

Keep Smiling!!

16 comments:

  1. We hear so much bad on the news - why is it that mostly bad stuff gets on the news? - and this is a wonderful antidote, a confirmation of what I believe, too, that there is far more good out there, quietly but firmly planted, than there is of the other stuff. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The good stuff just quietly goes on behind the scenes!

      Delete
  2. And may 2015 bring you as many smiles and more. There can never be too many smiles.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This post made me so happy today! Thank you for the update, Santa. There is still much good in the world! Happy New Year!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Lana! There is! And Happy New Year to you as well!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for sharing, Grant! Love how you and Mrs. Santa make your rounds each year! You rock!
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well I'll be...this post just sent me bawling. First of all I hope you have many more years of witnessing those smiles. I think what you do is fabulous. Why can't more people spread happiness like you two do. You are both the epitome of what I strive to be. I hadn't felt the Christmas magic in a long time but this year has taught me to believe in miracles again. I've been blessed so many ways. What you do means something I want you to know that. Our babies were in the NICU for 2 months and it was a nightmare but the one bright spot was the man who dressed up as Santa and took pictures standing outside each babies incubator and posing so sweetly and then the pics were presented to my daughter and SIL. I didn't get to tell him what that one little bit of magic did for us so I want you to know it meant the world. Thank you so much. (701).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, this story is so precious! Thank you for sharing it! Another reward for dressing in red and seeking out the little ones! May this year hold even more blessings for you and yours, Rena!

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  6. This post has put a smile on my face, a big smile, so there's one more to join all the others out there. Keep up the good work Santa.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Reading this was the perfect way to begin 2015. Thank you so much for “sharing the smiles.” Our world is better because of the Santas (and Mrs. Santas) like you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Susan! And yet, I feel that we are the benefactors!

      Delete
  8. That's a noble thing to do.May you continue to bring smiles to others. Have a grand 2015!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, SL! And you as well!

      Delete

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