Shaken, not stirred: Santa made a mess.

December 25, 2016
Jim Bond

Jim Bond

Shaken, not stirred: Santa made a mess.

#ShakenNotStirred.

A blog by Jim Bond.

When my oldest boys were very young, Christmas was so carefully planned it made the Invasion of Normandy appear as an impromptu event. In their mother’s family, it had long been the practice to engage someone as Santa Claus to deliver children’s gifts directly to the house during Christmas Eve dinner.

There was even a family ‘Santa Suit’ which had been passed down through the family to those parents with the youngest children.

So, while we had started the tradition the year before, the Christmas of 1994 was the first really big one for us. Thomas was to turn 3 in just over a week; Michael had turned a year a couple of months before. Even though they were of ages that they may miss a couple of flawed details, it had to be carefully executed.

We had selected our Santa, a local character actor who had vast stage experience. He had picked up the family ‘Santa Suit’ and bag a couple of days prior, with extensive, detailed instructions:

1) Make sure your car is parked around the corner so the children don’t see you leave and get into your Buick.

2) Make it a really big “Ho, Ho, Ho!” while coming up the front walk since we may be having dinner in the dining room.

3) If we don’t open the door immediately, go ahead and come through the unlocked door.

Et cetera.

The big night had arrived. The family, including grandparents, was dressed in finery, enjoying cocktails (Tom & Jerry [try them but be vewry, vewry careful!]).

…when, what to our keen ears should reach…

“HO, HO, HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

Santa had arrived a little early, bursting through the front door with his pack literally stuffed with goodies for Thomas and Michael: who, by the way, were stunned into silence at the sight of jolly ol’ St. Nicholas, standing in the hall.

It was perfect.

He walked into the living room and picked up Thomas, Michael in the arms of his mother, me on the video camera, uttering intelligent phrases such as: “Wow! It’s Santa! Look boys, Santa is here!”

Assisted by their mother and grandmother, the boys unwrapped their gifts quickly while Santa enjoyed several cookies and watched the spectacle, which lasted many, many minutes.

‘Santa’, who I mentioned earlier was a veteran local character actor, was enjoying the role and wanted it to continue. He was missing the element of magical nuance that faeries should materialize as if from mist, and then disappear in the same manner.

It was becoming a little awkward. I was considering offering him a Tom & Jerry (to go), when the boys’ mother walked up to me as I was filming, delivering a silent classic stage direction: “Get the hook!”.

Next, Santa started to play with one of the toys he had delivered, a farm set. He picked up the little plastic pig and snorted, uttered a ‘moo’ with the cow. This continued for several minutes. Then a few minutes more. Dinner was getting cold in serving dishes in the dining room.

Mom had had enough. In a voice which boomed almost as much as Santa’s she said: “WELL THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING SANTA”. Then the family started inching toward the dining room, another hint for Santa that this was to be a minimalist role, a cameo appearance.

With that started a rather lengthy goodbye as Santa had another cookie, and then picked up his empty bag. We all exchanged more shouts of ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘HO, HO, HO’.

As Santa opened the door to make his final exit, he turned around one more time to wave. He turned to his left, not noticing the wrought iron plant stand with glass shelves laden with bric-a-brac which was to his right.

His final goodbye was delivered with such gusto that he accidentally hit the plant stand which came crashing to the floor with all of the gewgaws tumbling as well. Fortunately, it hit a rug instead of the hardwood floor so there wasn’t much of a sound to be heard except one final: “HO, HO, HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

Santa hadn’t witnessed the accident he caused. After the front door shut, we all just stood there; surveying the damage. But nothing was broken. And that, perhaps, is the magic of Santa Claus.

After several seconds had elapsed, the boys’ mother broke the silence.

“Well Santa sure made a mess!”

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