The Year I Played Santa by Pepper Phillips


I am a licensed Nursing Home Administrator.  Yearly, we have an open house for our residents and their families during the Christmas Season.  There is music, singing, tomfoolery, and Santa appears with a bag full of candy canes that he passes out to the people who attend this festive event.

We were lucky enough to have a gentleman volunteer his services to play Santa, except this year, he was down with the flu.  At the last minute.

There was only one recourse.  I had to play Santa.  I’m around five foot ten, more or less, as with age I’m shrinking.  Also, I don’t need a pillow to look like a healthy Santa should.  And to top it off, my hair has been white since I turned forty.  The added touch is I do wear those small glasses at the end of my nose in order to read, or see anything an arm’s length away.

I stuffed myself into the Santa suit, fake boots, beard and mustache and I was ready to go, with candy bag in hand.

I believe I fooled a lot of the residents with my appearance.  They are a curious lot and wanted to know who Santa was this year.  I made the round of the room, handing out candy and ho-h0-hoing until I was almost hoarse.

Nearing the finish line, I went down the last row of residents, and there she stood.  On a table, no less.

A little girl, around age three, was staring at me aka Santa.  The look in her face was unbelievable…she actually believed that Santa was coming her way!

Me.  Sweating in the suit, my glasses kept getting steamed up from the beard, so it was hard to see.  Terrified that I might mess it up when I came to the little girl.  I wanted to be Santa for her.  I needed to be Santa for her.

I ho-ho-ho’ed in her direction, gave her a hug, a candy, and asked her what she wanted for Christmas.  That’s what all Santa’s do.  “What do you want for Christmas?”  She clapped her hands, too excited to tell me anything.  Her mother was standing by her side, so I suggested a doll.  What little girl doesn’t get a doll for Christmas?

Then I gave her another hug, and escaped, hoping that I did justice to the Santa myth.

I’ve never had to play Santa again, but I’ll always remember the day I did.  A little girls face lit up with joy when she set eyes on me…Santa.  It was a beautiful experience.

My book, “The Christmas Gift” is free through Sunday the 23th.  If you haven’t picked up your copy, I’d love to have you read my story.  Just click on the book cover on the right hand side of the blog.



7 Comments on “The Year I Played Santa by Pepper Phillips”

  1. C. K. Crouch says:

    How wonderful that you made that little girl’s day by being Santa for her. Hope you have many more happy memories of Christmas and that you have a Merry Chrismas with your family. :-)

  2. katsheridan says:

    My dad played Santa for many, many years for all sorts of organizations, from Big Brothers/Sisters, to nursing homes for the elderly. For a few years in my teens I dressed as an elf and went along. There’s really something special about the experience. I found that folks at both ends of the age spectrum were the most thrilled and gobsmacked by the whole Santa experience. I bet you truly made that little girl’s day!

  3. I kind of messed up that reply!

    Off to cook for tonight…we open presents on the 24th. There will be around twenty-five more or less. Usually more. LOL

  4. Brit says:

    I wish you would have had a picture, although your words painted one for me! Way to go, Santa Pepper!

  5. Mary LeJune says:

    Sounds like a good story to me. Single Dad brings daughter to see Grandma and Santa at nursing home.

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