David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 6 - Santa Claus

Ah, Santa Claus. Was there ever anyone that inspired more excitement and terror at the same time?  I think there are many kids that have a kind of love/hate relationship with the "jolly old elf".  I don't remember ever going to visit Santa at Christmas.  The only real memory I have is being in the toy department of a store and hearing Santa and his elves walking around in the next aisle.  I just "froze" and hope he didn't come down the aisle in which I was standing!
When my kids were born, I didn't want them to be afraid of Santa because I think he is one of the truly fun things about Christmas.  My oldest son, Daniel, was born in October, so he was just an infant for his first Christmas.  We took him to the mall and stood in line for about 15 minutes so he could have his picture taken with Santa.  Originally, it was just so we and his grandparents would have a cute picture for Christmas, but it actually came in handy the following year when we started planning Daniel's next visit with Santa.

 Since he now had a "record" of visiting Santa and he could see pictures of himself being held lovingly in Santa's arms, Daniel was less reluctant to talk to him.  After the second year, he not only had a picture of himself with Santa, he now had a real memory of the visit.  By the third year, Daniel was an "old pro" at this Santa stuff and he was able to prepare his brothers for their first visits.

 It was at about this time that we stopped just visiting Santa at the mall and we began to attend the annual "Breakfast with Santa" that was presented by one of our local department stores here in town.  This was an event that you had to purchase tickets for, so the amount of children was limited to how many you could fit into the restaurant booths, making it a much more intimate experience.  We were escorted into our places by Santa's elves and we were served a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, juice, and milk.  After a few minutes, we would be told to say "Merry Christmas, Santa" and in the big man would walk, carrying jingle bells and giving us all a jolly "Ho, Ho, Ho".  He would then go to each table and greet each child by name; (with the help of the name tags each one wore!).

 Afterward, he would take his place at a large red and white chair in front of the room and the children were welcomed to come up and sit on the floor all around him as one of the elves read "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  Following the story, each child was given a gift.  Twice they were given mugs that read "I Had Breakfast with Santa Claus" and a couple of times they received small stuffed animals.  Then, Santa would leave the restaurant and take his place downstairs to greet each child individually and hear their Christmas wish lists.  It was a precious time for our family and I carry those memories in my heart.  That department store closed it's restaurants a few years ago and the breakfasts with Santa and those with the Easter Bunny came to a sad end. The branch of the store where we attended our breakfast will soon be closed as well.  It certainly is the end of an era. I'm happy that my children were part of a generation that were able to see the magic of Santa Claus up close.


  1. I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  2. I love the pictures and how it is so obvious that Daniel is completely comfortable with Santa.