seniors and santa

Posted: December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Today at work was our annual “photos with Santa” event.  We’ve been doing it for three years.  It’s a nice opportunity for our staff – they can bring in their kids, grandkids, whatever, for pictures with Santa, absolutely free.  My boss is the kind of guy who notices that people working the front lines might not be able to afford to pay the price for pics with the Santa at the mall, and he does something about it, literally by suiting up and showing up.  Over the years, the event has grown in scope – some generous donations make it possible to give a gift to every child who comes for a picture.  I get to be “Santa’s helper,” passing out presents and keeping track of what order the kids come in, so we can hopefully get the right pictures back to the right parents later in the week.  It is great fun and kind of total chaos.

One of the coolest parts, in my mind, is something that was initially totally unexpected to me:  the delight of our senior residents.  We don’t promote the event to them, but as they wander through the very public area where the pictures are happening, they light up.  They grin with delight at seeing Santa.  They get all goofy and almost embarrassed when asked if they want a photo with Santa.  Invariably, he invites them to sit on his lap, and they giggle and shake their heads, protesting that they are “too heavy.”  But most are talked pretty easily into taking the spot on his knee, and they beam so big it looks like their cheeks must hurt.  They are little kids all over again.  Some of the ladies kiss him on the cheek.  Some declare their love aloud.  Some go get a friend to pose with them, with Santa.  The photos afterward are just plain happy. 

I have grown to really look forward to watching the amazing transformation that happens, even amongst some of our most solemn residents, as they perch carefully on Santa’s knee.  (A funny note:  as will happen, a lot of the smaller kids today cried at the spectacle of Santa.  It cracks me up that he is so much better received by the 90 and over crowd than the 9 and under folks!)

No big point here today.  Just the joy of watching old folks be young.  I’m awfully glad to work where I do. 

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