I have been Santa Claus throughout the past quarter century to well over 100,000 as well as 25,000 adults, parents and party goers. So when the Board of Education decreed public schools were to use generic holiday season themes instead of a Christmas theme, I refused to go to those schools whose principals were stupid enough to obey the Board’s ridiculous order. Boy, how dumb could they get?
I refused to go to the schools that weren’t celebrating Christmas, and always made sure this Bensonhurst West End Community Council’s real Santa said “Merry Christmas” to all. To the asinine bureaucrats and supposed educators, learn this: “Christmas is not a bad word!”
It was the council’s mission and intent that the huge influx of new young Americans be treated to our American very happy custom of Santa Claus bringing joy, toys and gifts in the spirit of Christmas. And it worked. You should have seen all the mothers, whether Muslim, Asian, Pakistani or Indian. They all made sure that their child had a photo with Santa.
All the mothers, Christian and non-Christian, were happy. And if ever there was time for the need of peace on earth, it is now, at Christmas.
In my early years as District 21’s favorite Santa, I would visit two to three schools a day prior to Christmas vacation. Every year, I busted my butt to get to 25 of District 21’s 29 elementary schools.
As this Santa got older and wiser, I curtailed the visits to only the first grade, kindergarten and pre-k children. The reason was simple: some older kids waiting on line would always try to show how smart they were by attempting to expose Santa and spoil it for the innocent kids that truly believed.
Becoming the real Santa was a learning process!
“Look he is wearing shoes under the black plastic slats.”
So this jolly Santa had to find black boots to fit his chubby legs. I found them in a riding store in Manhattan, and had Frank the Harway Avenue Shoemaker put zippers in to enable me to put them on. So the council bought an authentic red velour fur-trimmed Santa outfit costing $600.00 wholesale, and long white wig, and full beard that cost the same as a $200 complete Santa outfit found in department and party stores.
I gotta tell you, this four-x Santa didn’t need any pillows or padding to fill that giant suit.
The infants whose mothers were pushing them to this massive red mountain’s arms were terrified, screaming at the top of their lungs, thinking they were being sacrificed into an erupting volcano. Poor babies. Many times I had to have the mother sit on my knee while she held the baby at arms length from me for the photo.
Since modesty is not my best trait, I also gotta tell you that I was the most authentic looking Santa in Brooklyn.
Each school visit was an adventure, and, finally, I limited the visits to pre-k and kindergarten kids. Some Jewish kids wouldn’t take the candy cane I offered, declaring “I’m Jewish!” But I managed to convince them to take it and offered them a “Happy Chanukah” instead.
I would get very upset when the smarties would try to pull my beard. I held their hand and warned them, never, ever try to pull Santa’s beard in front of other children who believe. Another time, a precocious child punched me right in the stomach thinking she was punching a pillow. Pillow. What pillow? I raised my jacket to reveal my belly button. That child still believes in Santa, and now tells the story before bringing her own kids to the real Santa.
All in all, the new American’s introductions to Santa worked out well. A lot of the kindergarten kids reinforced their belief in having met the Real Santa; although there were thousands everywhere you looked, but they were just Santa’s helpers … I was the real Santa Claus!
And I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! To be continued!
Screech at you next week!