Good morning to all my faithful readers and to all my new ones as well. Great day here in the Chicago land area. I have a meeting to attend with Salvation Army today. I always look forward to attending and spending time with the women there.
As to todays topic, I imagine most people would wonder what I could say about being Mrs. Claus. Well, as one of my characters, I have taken on being Mrs. Claus. It stated about 13 years ago and have blossomed through the years. I do a craft faire in Glenview at The Grove and thought it would be a wonderful addition for the ambiance there. I could sit behind my desk while I personalize ornaments. It was an instant hit. Both with any children that came through and oddly enough with the adults as well. They commented on how having Mrs. Claus there only added to the charm of the show. Great comments to hear after having invested in the material costs and getting someone to make the costume for me. I didn't want to purchase one of the cheaper models.
Now through the years, Mrs. Claus has also become one of my many characters for storytelling as well. It is quite fun to drive around in what I call the reindeer mobile with the attached red hose on the hood of my car and the antlers attached to the top at the windows. This year I purchased Solar lights to circle around a wreath to add as well.
Well, the thing that I cherish the most about being Mrs. Claus are the times and events with the children. I have so many stories that I would love to share that have actually made me almost, at times, forget that I am not really Mrs. Claus. No, I am still in reality...it is just so nice to have the effect on children...I almost wish I were actually the real thing.
One day, as the house I am in where the craft faire is held was bustling with noise from the shoppers. I had two young children who seemed to be about 5 and 6 years old standing at my desk. Their mother was in the check out line with her purchases, which gave the children time to chat with me. They were all excited, telling me their list of what they wanted for Christmas. They asked questions about the reindeers...how did I get here from the North Pole, where was Santa and what was he doing? Well, the answers were pretty automatic for me...since the show was in a National Historic Landmark with wooded areas everywhere on the 124 acres of land, I simply told them that the reindeers brought me down for the day and that they were told to hide out in the woods until it was time for us to leave for the night. I included that they should keep their eyes open because sometimes the reindeers like to watch the people and come out and show themselves....being wooded property...the reality was that you might often see deer. I told them Santa was busy preparing for Christmas and keeping the elves on track working up on the North Pole, that is why he sent me to visit and check up on the children. When children ask me how Santa knows if they have been good or bad...I have my story down pat...I tell them that Santa has this huge magic ball and when he taps it three times and says their name out loud, the appear in the ball and he sees all they do. Well, when their mother was finished checking out at the register, she told them it was time to go. They said good bye to me. I told them not forget the cookies and milk for Santa and they caught up with their mom. As they reached the exit, the boy yelled "STOP" and ran away from his mother back to my desk. His little hands were just about trembling, with a sparkle in his eyes...he looked at me and with a quiver in his voice said to me..."Can I have your autograph?" I signed a piece of paper and happily off he went. It was such a special moment that I will never forget! The innocence of children...and the unbelievable feeling I got from them.
There was another time when a young boy...I must say he was perhaps 10 years old, approached my desk and began to talk to me. I asked him if there was anything he perhaps wanted me to tell Santa when I went home that evening. He looked me straight in the face and declared that there was no Santa. "What?" I argued..of course there was a Santa and proceeded to ask him why he thought other. He told me the boys at school told him it was just your mother and father. They just pretended to be Santa. I looked at this sweet chubby little tike and said..."Hmmm..do you know why they told you that?" Puzzled, he looked at me and asked me why. My response was "Well, Santa only goes to good girls and boys, and if they hadn't been so good, Santa wouldn't have visited them, and they were so embarrassed they made up a story about there being no Santa Claus." Now he was puzzled and thought he would test me out! He said...well, then I will come and visit on the North Pole and check it out!! I turned with such excitement and said "Oh, how wonderful.....do you like ice cream? On the North Pole it snows everyday and Santa makes ice cream everyday out of the snow and comes into my kitchen and grabs my Maple syrup and adds it in the bowl with the snow. I told him that was the reason for Santa being so round and always having such HOHOHO attitude!" By now, the young man was salivating just thinking about the ice cream, when his mother called him and said it was time to leave. He graciously said goodbye and ran to the door to leave with her. As she placed her hand on the doorknob, the entire room who had heard our conversation....heard him ask her "Is she really Mrs. Claus?" The very intelligent mother just turned to her son and said, "Well what did she tell you?" And they exited the building. We all burst into laughter. I just smiled, because I thought that perhaps I gave that young man just one more year of believing in Santa Claus. It is so rewarding to see that sparkle and joy in a child's eye that it is hard to try to compare it to anything else.
Now another time, I needed to walk through the house and check on things. As I was passing though a room, there stood a young mom and her 4 year old daughter. They were facing the opposite direction and I overheard the mom speaking polish to her daughter...I walked up to them and bent over to greet the little girl and in her native tongue, which I was fortunate enough to know, told her "WESOIAT SWIANT" (Merry Christmas). Her eyes just about bugged out from her face as did her mothers. In that moment, I felt just like Santa in the movie Miracle on 34th Street.
We have a system set up that the girls that are workers on the floor in the first room. When a child comes into the house, they speak with them and tell them that Mrs. Claus is somewhere in the house and can't wait to talk to them. they get their name and then write it on a sheet of paper with the child's hair color and the color of coat they are wearing. There are so many rooms to go through before they reach where I am, that the worker has time to get the notes to me and when they walk into my room, I greet them by first name and both the child and the parent are startled and amazed. Then of course we chat a bit about whether they have been good or bad and if they are listening to their parents and picking up their toys and keeping their room clean. They tell me what they want for Christmas. It is just magical, to give them such a leap of faith and hope.
The best story though is about a young boy who was adopted. His mother shared that he was frightened of Santa, but not of me. So he thought he could perhaps tell me his list to take home to Santa. I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he then told me three things. When I asked if there was anything else...he proceeded to tell me that Jesus only got three gifts on His birthday, so why she he get more than Jesus?" Great mom! The reason for the season. They later adopted another boy, and the family has come for years. They told me that I had become their Christmas tradition. It doesn't get any more special than that! My main statement in life is that I would like to be remembered long after I am gone from this world. When telling my husband the story...he just commented "Well there you go...they will tell that story for generations to come...and you will live on!" Being Mrs. Claus is one of the most wonderful persona's that I portray. To think that a simple red dress with white fur can give so much joy in people's live. Whether is makes the children happy or puts a smile on an adult.....it's keeps the Spirit of Christmas alive, and I am so glad to be part of it.