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Cheryl Norman and Santa

When I was a twenty-something young wife, I hosted my first Christmas party for the in-laws and hadn’t a clue how to entertain. My sister-in-law, the consummate hostess, came up with the idea of borrowing a Santa Claus suit from the local mall’s Santa (one of the helpers--not the real guy, of course). She suggested I ask my dad to play Santa to the children.


As far as I’m concerned, Dad was the ideal choice. He was short, jolly, and great with kids. He had volunteered at the local Shriner’s Children’s hospital, so he had experience, too. I asked him if he’d be the Santa at my party and he agreed.


Everyone arrived at our house and Dad went down the street to my sister-in-law’s, where her husband waited with the suit. Soon Santa knocked at the door and we turned to the children and said, “Wonder who that is!”


I opened the door for Dad and he stepped inside. Immediately I realized he was nervous! I’d never seen Dad nervous, but I guess it was kind of a stage fright. After all, he was “on stage” and acting, right? I whispered, “Just be yourself.”


He came in and visited with each of the nieces and nephews. I was so proud. The kids loved him and their parents were impressed. Dad, I suspect, was filled with relief when he could leave and take off the suit, but he was the perfect Santa Claus.


Naturally. He’d always been my Santa.


Merry Christmas to all.