Playing Santa is a gift

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

P̶l̶a̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶S̶a̶n̶t̶a̶ Being Santa this past weekend was more than I could have ever expected it to be.

I knew I’d enjoy the kids—and I did. But I make it a regular part of who I am to chat with little kids and look to find ways to help them smile and push them to ignite that sense of wonder always ready to pop out of their little brains and souls.

What I hadn’t pondered ahead of time is the reaction of adults.

Standing on the street waving to passing cars, a full 80% waved back. 20% honked.

In most of our lives, even long after the expectation that he leaves us something under the tree is gone, there’s something about Santa that touches a place in our hearts that melts away the old and grouchy, and puts us back in touch with the sense of awe and wonderment that spends most of our adult lives walled in and cordoned off.

Seeing the grown-up smiles, hearing the horn honks, and feeling the warmth and love melt the ice from hardened hearts was invigorating.

Even the three 9-year-old girls, who were clearly far too cool for some guy wearing an obviously fake beard in a tiny North Buffalo coffee shop– even they were hoping that the answers to the gotcha questions they asked would conjure up a swirl of enchanted sparkles to squash their fears about the big man.

Those girls suspect part of the truth—the part about who puts what in whose stockings. But they are also starting to learn the bigger truth… the better truth.

The truth of Santa is… it’s not even a matter of believing—Santa is real. Like actually real.

It wasn’t $33.02’s worth of red felt and synthetic polyester hair that conjured up so much joy… It was Santa Claus. The big man himself did all that.

And if any of this even remotely makes you want to smile, good ol’Santa has struck again.

It’s just about impossible to ignore the magic and miracle that is Santa Claus.

May Santa live in your heart this Christmas and always.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.