I recieved an email from my mother this evening. Attached was a photograph of my father wearing a red flannel shirt, crazy measuring tape suspenders, a red elf hat, and a white beard.
Elf hat? White beard? What?
Thats right folks, you are reading the blog of the luckiest girl in the whole world. I am now living the wildest dream of every kid out there. My dad is Santa Clause. Well, not really THE Santa Clause (discontinue reading this paragraph if youre really sensitive) because Santa doesnt exist. But, my father will be one of two Santas (rotating shifts) at the Sears Mall back home in Alaska this year.
-Sniff- If I could magically get myself to Alaska while hes Santa, I'd stand in line with all the little kids and surprise my dad. The two of us have always been very close and if I did that, Sears Santa would be all soggy with tears. It would be mighty appropriate though, for when dad cries, he sorta does this pseudo laugh thing and his belly shakes just like childrens imaginings of the jovial Santa Clause.
My father is a very selfless and giving man. One of the great examples of my life. His favorite project is, ironically, OP Santa (Operation Santa Clause). My father has read this post and offered clarification on the WHO of the operation for me. (His refining appears below in quotes).
"Op Santa is a joint effort of the National Guard, Alaska Air Guard, Alaska Army Guard, National Guard Bureau, Salvation Army, Anchorage School District, many Churches, and lots of people who gather toys, clothes, and food and distributes them to various villages in the state each year according to need."
Most of my teenage years I helped with man labor to move gathered clothes and such to storage for OP Santa. I also had the opportunity to assist with choosing age appropriate books for all the school children in the villages.
Finally I had the opportunity to fly to the village of Kaltag in 2002 right after my 18th birthday, and truly witness the miracle that takes place with each trip. It was magnificent, and one of the most tremendous sights ever. There was a big feast and music and dancing and joy. The whole village fit in the gymnasium of their small school house without a lick of crowding. There was Santa (not my dad) and Mrs. Clause (I think she was the mayors wife) and the children, teenagers, and elderly ALL took their turn sitting in their laps.
You know I dont believe in Santa Clause (obviously), and Im a religious person who has oft found myself quite sickened by the extreme worldliness of holiday celebration lately. However (and this is a major breakthrough for me), as I recall that trip, and the light that was shining in faces young and old, and remember the joy my heart felt I am coming to grips with the fact that there is one thing that has nothing to do with the religious aspect of the holiday, but adds the perfect amount of charm to the season.
What is it that I type so frantically about? Why of course, its Santa Clause.
Santa Clause, an imperfect man (he's probably a stress eater like the rest of us good folk) with a heart of gold. A man who loves people and desires for their happiness. A man who wears a red suit despite the fact that we all know a black one, which might scare the children, is by far more slimming. A man who perseveres through sleet, snow, reindeer flatulence, cold wind at high speeds, and figuring the best way into a trailor (they have no fireplaces) just to spread joy around the world one night a year. A man who loves everyone, and believes in everyone.
A man who this year, my father looks like and every year, my father IS.
I love you dad.
Your Little Princess