Happy holidays everyone. If ever there was a distinguished gentleman that comes to mind this time of year, it would be Santa Claus. Recently, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with him. There were so many things I wanted to ask and learn:
SG: Why do you wear a red suit? Why come down the chimney? Is your name Kris Kringle or Santa Claus? A lot of why, why, why… We have photographed the main man often but never had a conversation with him. So now, let’s do this: Straight from his own mouth - all the answers!
Santa: I receive a LOT of letters every day. Some asking for toys, others asking questions.
I, too, was a child once...a very long time ago. I was orphaned and raised by a loving, caring family, the Kringles. They named me Kris. They took me to heart and taught me all the important things: How to read, write and talk, of course, but more so, they taught me to be polite, mind my manners, say yes sir and no ma’am. Most of all, they taught me how to love. Oh yeah, and they taught me how to make toys. The Kringles were world-renowned toy makers. I also learned the importance of working hard and being the best I could be at whatever I was doing. I also learned how to have fun. Being in the far North, away from other children, I also played with the animals. Strangely enough, the seals taught me how to laugh. Real laugh with meaning… HO HO HO!
Growing up, there was no way to get all the toys we made to all the children. So I made Mama Kringle a promise that when I was older, I would find a way to make it happen. I became a young man and was ready to fulfill my promise. As I was loading up to make my first pilgrimage from the far North to the nearest city, Mama Kringle gave me my first red (OFFICIAL KRINGLE) suit. I have worn one ever since. Yes, it may be, now, my trademark, but I try and look my best. I love the cheery colors - it matches my personality - and to carry on a family tradition gives me great pride.
Upon making it to the first city, I discovered a lot of doom and gloom, all work and no play, even with the children. Here I wanted to bring joy, giving gifts and toys, but so many seemed blue. I told the children, you better watch out, you better not cry and told them why. I was there to bring toys, compliments of The Kringle Toy Makers. I found immediately that kindness, a warm smile and gifts could melt even hearts of ice. Everyone’s outlook changed from bad to good. I wondered…would it last? There was still a lot of ‘Bah humbug.’
On that journey, I met two very important people that would change my life. The first was a beautiful lady who was a school teacher, and she could see all the happiness I brought the children but, also, she was a child at heart… Loving, trusting, caring and believing in good. That lady, Jessica, later would become my wife, and without her, the rest of my story most certainly would never have happened. The second was a man, a magician, who initially seemed mad at the world. But, by showing him kindness and friendship, he shared magical powers with me that I could never have been able to do all I set out to do without them.
After returning home, I began getting tons of letters from children everywhere. I replied there would be plenty of toys if they behaved. With my new magical powers, I could check on them and tell them to be good, for goodness’ sake. Yes, I have always kept a list of each child and what they wanted. The Naughty or Nice thing…well they are all pretty nice.
A short while later, I was planning my wedding, and Mama Kringle sat with me and told me how I was brought to her as an abandoned baby and how much she loved me. The entire family loved me but wanted me to know that my birth name was Claus. When Jessica and I married, we kept my birth name, Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Our wedding was glorious. It was on Christmas Eve in the outdoors of the Kringle Home. We were showered with gifts placed under the trees, and at the moment of the ‘I DO’s,’ the trees lit up magically.
Now, every year on Christmas Eve, the holiest night of the year, it is my lifelong passion to share the joy with children of all ages worldwide. I have had an incredible life and looking forward to many more Christmases.
SG: What a gentleman. I see as I get older that we all have so many things to be thankful for. A family that loves us and prepares us for adulthood. The by-chance meeting of an individual or individuals that “magically” change our lives and help us on our journey to our destiny and that “very special someone” who becomes our lifelong partner and makes life worth sharing and enjoying together.
Yes, there are still today some naysayers that are negative around Christmas. But, they are missing the point. Doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that away? Doesn’t a little bit of happiness on Christmas morning bring joy, a smile and laughter, and remind us of all the good in the world?
“Once you stop believing in Santa Claus, the whole world goes downhill” – Tom Clancy.
What would happen if we all tried to be like Santa – learn to give of ourselves, talents and hearts? Maybe then there would be good will toward men.
Remember, Santa still has his “magic” and can see what you are up to.
- YOUR Southern Gentleman
Your Southern Gentleman
Johnny Birdsong, Publisher at YOUR Williamson Magazine, is a Kentucky native and Williamson County convert but above all, a Southern Gentleman. In upcoming issues, this column will feature Johnny to offer time-honored advice in the area of manners, hospitality, and what being a gentleman means as he chats and visits with such gentlemen from all over our county. You never know who he may be sitting down with next!