There’s a little Santa in every one of us

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2014

The man with the long white beard and flowing robe was not the real Santa Claus.

When my son caught a glimpse of the imposter in the crowd of parents and children, he knew something was terribly wrong. That man was not the same guy that brought him his rocket ship and Legos in Christmases past. This man didn’t have a hat and didn’t wear the same boots he saw in the mall last year.

Who was this guy and what happened to the real Santa Claus?

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You could see the questioning look in Gibson’s face as he stared at the line of parents and children waiting to get a picture.

Honestly, Santa Claus did look a little different that night. He must have just returned from the spa and obviously decided to make an impression with his more European-inspired attire.

Santa came to make a fashion statement. If he could have worn skinny jeans with a chocolate velvet Ludlow sport coat to accent his trendy plaid dress shirt, he would have. But that would have been going too far.

Instead he opted for a floor-length wine-colored velvet robe with a hood that contrasted nicely with his long curly locks of white hair.

I hadn’t expected that my son would recoil at the sight of Santa this year. He has never been hesitant to hop into the big man’s lap and launch into his wish list of toys.

That is what my wife and I had hoped he would do that evening, so we would know what Santa might bring. Once uttered in Santa’s presence, a wish is irrevocable, after all.

As much as I tried to explain Santa’s new do and duds, Gibson was having none of it. “I will just wait until I see him at the mall with our class,” Gibson said as he backed away from the scene.

When we climbed back into our car and buckled up, I could still see the wheels turning in Gibson’s head.

“Is there more than one Santa Claus?” he asked as we pulled out of the parking space.

Just five years into parenthood I hadn’t expected the Santa questions to come so soon. Gibson has really only known Santa Claus for one or two years.

As I fumbled around for an answer to Gibson’s question, my wife quickly came to the rescue.

“Yes there is more than one,” my wife responded.

I looked at her and wondered where she was headed with her explanation.

She went on to explain that there are many people in the world that help Santa, especially this time of year when there seem to be so many Santa’s around. Some even dress like him during the Christmas season, she said.

She also pointed out that our family and other families like us help Santa each year when we give toys to children who live in families less fortunate than ours.

Satisfied with her response, Gibson went on to play contently all the way home.

Leave it to my wife to use the moment to teach our son about the real meaning of Christmas.

The man in the flowing red robes may not have been the real Santa in Gibson’s eyes but as long as the spirit of generosity exists each holiday season there will always be a real Santa Claus.


Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at