The curse of the red suit

Published 8:04 pm Friday, December 26, 2008

The funny thing about missing meetings is the stuff you get signed up for in your absence. This year, the paper wanted to revive a community service that was skipped last year. Since I have only been here for a little more than a year, I was not aware of this service. But, in an effort to raise more money for the Cheer Fund, the Suffolk News-Herald becomes a host for jolly old St. Nick. Long story short, I was delightfully suckered into playing the part of Santa Claus for the local kids.

First of all, for a character of such mythical and robust proportions, finding a Santa costume for a person of my even more mythical and robust proportions was a bit difficult. Maybe it was the tardiness of the search, but there was only one place to buy, not rent, a Santa suit. Novelties Unlimited in Norfolk, bless them, had a few suits that they believed would fit a leviathan such as myself.

After several moments of searching and awkward changing into and out of Santa suits right on the sales floor, we finally found a suit to squeeze me into. And as I was completing the purchase, a lady in line behind me offered me a warning.


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“Be careful when playing Santa,” she said. Naturally I thought she meant be wary of the children with colds. Their sneezes can be like laser beams of bacteria. But that was not what she meant.

“Sometimes,” she continued, “those who play Santa get very involved with the role and want to do it all the time. The look on the kids’ faces really gets to someone playing Santa.”

I shrugged off the comment and exited Novelties without a thought.

Now, I’m not sure what this particular Santa suit is made of, but I’d venture to guess it’s an innovative blend of red velvet and lit pieces of charcoal. I have never perspired more in my life. The temperature in Santa’s makeshift workshop had to kept to 66 degrees to keep Santa from fainting.

After a stream of roughly 30 little tykes, my good deed was done. And it occurred to me that the photos that were taken with the kids would be a Christmas memory most of them would carry well into their lives. The looks of wonder on their faces were admittedly touching, if only for a moment.

So, I’m not saying I’ve been bitten by the bug of playing Santa Claus. But I felt a little nibble. I won’t ditch the red suit just yet.