Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa: After and Before

Part 1: Hy meets Santa (pictures to come later)
Hyrum had a good time at our ward's Christmas party. Daddy had a great time too, but that's another story. After the food [so nice to have that first and on time] and the singing and program, a Special Visitor was announced. I asked Hyrum if he would like to meet Santa Clause. He's not overly familiar with Santa yet, but he's heard the Night Before Christmas and the Grinch, and we did a family home evening about Santa ... and he did well meeting tall strangers at Disneyland ... so he might be interested.

Hyrum said yes. Great. I snapped him up and raced the big kids to get Hy back home within three hours after his bedtime. (Poor kid). As we waited our turn, I told Hy what to expect:

When you go up and sit on Santa's lap, he's going to ask you some questions. He's going to ask if you've been a good boy. Have you been a good boy, Hyrum?
Yes, you have. [It's so nice to believe that!] Then he's going to ask what you want for Christmas. What do you want for Christmas, Hyrum?

[This is the big question. In previous attempts to elicit information from him, he hasn't really gotten it. He usually asked for a toy he already owned but wasn't in his hands.]

"I want a decorated Christmas."


It was Hyrum's turn. He walked up to Santa and stood in front of the big man nervously. Santa invited him onto his lap, but Hy stepped backwards. So Santa reached into his pack and pulled out ... a Candy Cane! Aha! Hyrum knows candy canes. They decorate Christmas trees. They are crunchy (blekh). It's just what he wanted! He hopped right up on Santa's lap.

Have you been a good boy?

I couldn't tell what else Santa asked, but I could tell that Hyrum's response was silence. So Santa let him go and I took his hand and walked back to Mommy. Hyrum was very excited. He paused to tell good friend Jon that he got a candy cane. He played with the candy cane the rest of the night and much of the next day. We asked him how he liked the party the next day: "I got a candy cane."

And that's how Hyrum met Santa.
Part 2: a PSA on planning for Santa
Now that the Church has gotten rid of Activities Committees, there's no risk of me be called to one when the bishopric goes bat-guano-insane. But it's worse: now anyone can be assigned to prepare things, so having a calling is no protection.* So just in case someone ever decides I need to organize Christmas, I'd like to remind myself of a couple points about preparing for Santa:

1) Santa FIRST or DURING. Santas' voices get tired and toddlers more so. The entire experience is ever so much more enjoyable if you don't wait until an hour after the littlest would be in bed for them to greet him. This is not a criticism of anyone or anything, just something I noted from several friends' blogs in different churches about how tired, cranky, pushy, etc. the kids were during Santa's outings.

2) ORDER. Either bring them into a separate room in groups or have several adults supervising the line or set up a significantly narrow cordoned off area (see Grandin on ethical cattle walkways for ideas**) or sign up for a time slot or something. Emergent orders with toddlers are a bad idea.

2b) If you can really direct the order, get the youngest to him first so the older kids aren't standing around popping and shattering dreams. 

I hope the Santa I know best will comment on this post with his many years' experience making a great Santa experience.

* - This hyperbole brought to you in part by PAH - Pitiful Attempts at Humor.
** - This modest proposal brought to you by the makers of modest proposals everywhere

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