It was a first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
A local school had been let down by their regular Santa after all the grotto tickets had been sold and they were frantically looking round for someone to rescue the day. I was asked to step in and immediately said, "Ho Ho Ho! ~ I would love to, provided you have a Santa outfit because I have left mine in Lapland! . . . but it is a little short notice for me to grow a beard, have you got one of those too?" . . lol
I tried on the outfit at my daughter's house, quite near the school, and little Rosa, my two year old granddaughter, was amused and not frightened at Grampa, dressed in this apparel.
She seemed quite entertained by it but we think whenever she sees a Santa she will think it is Grampa.
The young lady who asked me to do it was so over the moon she gave me a kiss and a hug and came with me to the school to introduce me to the PTA who organised the event. Now that alone was worth it . . . lol
Thank goodness the outfit fitted but the beard was a little tricky and it was rather difficult to find my mouth to eat a mince pie.
The children came into the grotto in groups of 8-10 for a 15 minute slot and I was busy for about 3 hours. I asked them all the usual Santa questions like naming all my reindeer which some managed to do, and whether they had all written their Christmas present letters to me.
The elves said there was a sack full of letters, written by the children that morning. I asked them what they wanted and hands shot up and one by one they told me. I asked the elves whether their presents were ready at the elf factory and the kids were relieved to hear they were or were being made.
I suppose I was a rather unusual Santa because I asked them whether on Christmas Eve they would cut carrots for the reindeer in 9 pieces so Rudolph does not hog them all, like he usually does. Also I asked them to leave only half a glass of sherry for me because that night I would be driving a sleigh.
I asked the boys and girls if they had been good and do you know what? They all said yes ~ fancy that! . . lol
I saw a present addressed to Eddie and pretended it was mine, which got a laugh before I handed it to the correct recipient.
One of the boys asked me why Rudolph's nose was red and the others were black and I said it was because he is the lead reindeer and we travel so fast his nose gets very hot but the others are shielded so theirs' stay black.
At times the boys and girls were in hysterics, along with the parents and elves, and I invited the kids to have their photos taken with me. I asked them to say, "Ho Ho Ho!" with me as their Mums and Dads took the photos, remarking that it was much better than saying, "Cheese!"
I handed them their presents and remarked that I had never seen presents being unwrapped so quickly and are they as quick wrapping them!
A good time was had by all and they have invited me back again next year. The young lady saw me later and said there had been loads of favourable comments about this year's Santa and he is the best they had ever had. Something to put on my CV I suppose.
Since then my daughter informs me that two other schools may approach me to be their Santa. Gosh, what have I started?
I wonder if the real Santa got the job so easily . . . ha ha ha . . . or should I say ho ho ho.