There#039;s a little Santa in all of us

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

My dad loved to play Santa. Each December, he’d ask Mama to lay out his &uot;Sandy Claws&uot; suit, and he’d plan a trip to town to stock up on candy canes to fill up the drawstring bag Mama had sewn for him. He’d find out who wanted a visit from the jolly old elf and put them on his special list of places to visit.

Santa Dad arrived at his destinations in an old pickup truck instead of a sleigh. He could never afford one of those super-deluxe plush velvet Santa’s helper suits with the extra-glossy white beard and wig (though I am sure he would have loved to own such an outfit).

He came with his own padding, however, and a love for making kids smile – and helping them believe.

Email newsletter signup

I believe every one of us can find a Santa inside of us. The children at Fort Dale Academy found theirs recently when they participated in the Auburn-Alabama Toy Drive for DHR. When asked who was the big winner for the day, some kids yelled out &uot;Auburn&uot; and others, &uot;Alabama&uot; – then they got quiet and someone said, &uot;The children.&uot;


The great thing is, you can discover your inner Santa no matter how old or young you are, what language you speak, what color your skin is or what you look like. You can be a Santa Kid, Santa Daddy, Santa Granny or Santa Uncle.

Last week several young men joined together to make the holidays brighter for area foster children. The local Jaycees did a fine job, too. I can imagine seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as they opened their presents made their benefactors feel good.

The truth is, it is more blessed to give than to receive and we are reminded of this fact each holiday season. And somehow, when we do more than simply write a check – when we put a little thought and effort and &uot;sweat equity&uot; into our giving – it means a lot more.

Plenty of local folks enjoyed the hands-on opportunity of putting together boxes of toys, games, school supplies and other goodies for needy children as a part of &uot;Operation Christmas Child.&uot; I enjoyed imagining what the young girl I shopped for looked like, where she was from, what her reaction would be to the items I had chosen.

That child and I will likely never meet, but there is a connection between us. We have touched one another’s lives in a positive way.

And isn’t that what Christmas is all about – God reaching down to touch our lives through His very special gift, and we, in turn, reaching out to others with love, compassion and generosity?

There have been and will be many more acts of generosity and kindness seen during this holiday season. I imagine the original Saint Nicholas, a gentle, generous and devout soul by all accounts, would heartily approve.

Bet my daddy would, too.

May you discover your own inner Santa this season. Merry Christmas!

n n n

I heard through the Greenville grapevine some folks were upset about comments I made in my recent column regarding Christmas parades past and present.

I made reference to the fact I missed seeing those cute little vehicles I recalled from my childhood, the ones driven by the Shriners, and hoped to see them again next year.

I have since learned the Shriners have to receive a special invitation to such events in time to coordinate using said vehicles in parades – it’s a condition of their insurance policy.

This year, the organization did not get that invitation in time and could not use the little scooters, et al.

I certainly understand about rules and regs, and I’m glad they were at least able to participate in this year’s parade. (By the way, the van they used in this year’s event is also the one used to

carry sick and injured children to hospltals for much-needed treatment.)

The Shriners’ motto is a most worthy one: &uot;A man never stands so tall as when he stoops down to help a child.&uot;

They helped our niece after a terrible grease fire several years ago and I haven’t forgotten that.

Let’s hope these generous gentlemen get their &uot;invite&uot; in plenty of time next year so they can bring smiles to kids of all ages with their funny vehicles at our parade!

Angie Long is the lifestyles reporter for the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 132 or via email at