By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
I have a confession to make.
Growing up, I didn’t believe in Santa Claus. I know, I know, how could I not? Well, I had a good reason.
See, when I was a kid — long before the time of Black Friday deals that cause shoppers to camp outside of stores for days before Thanksgiving — my dad worked at the Kmart not too far from our house. And every holiday season as my mom transformed the house by putting up a Christmas tree, twinkling lights and glittering strands of garland, another transformation would take place. From some hidden corner of the house dad would bring out a bright red suit, a red cap and a fluffy white beard. It was a Santa costume, of course.
For a few days every December my dad would don the suit. Always a trim man, dad didn’t quite have the jovial plumpness of Santa, so mom would help complete the look by stuffing a pillow inside the suit jacket, which dad would then cinch closed with a large black belt. Once dressed, he would go to Kmart to walk around the store and pass out candy while posing for photographs with the kids.
But that wasn’t all he did, and mom did more than just help dad with his jacket. She would also dress up as Mrs. Claus and together she and my dad would go to one of the local hospitals to bring a little Christmas cheer to the children who were sick during the holidays. It wasn’t just children, either. One year the family of a woman in coma asked if Mr. and Mrs. Claus would visit with her and share in a prayer. My parents obliged; dad later said the woman had opened her eyes during the visit.
I saw other little kids’ eyes light up with excitement when Mr. and Mrs. Claus would walk in the room, but I knew the ‘real’ secret because I had seen them dress up. The secret was that Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were my mom and dad. What I didn’t know at the time was that they were really just Santa’s helpers.
Right now it’s the busy season in Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. He still has many preparations to make before he and the reindeer make the Big Trip around the world on Christmas Eve to deliver toys. The elves are busy making toys and Santa is doing last minute checks on the sleigh. He’s also making several trips a day to his mailbox because it’s starting to overflow with letters.
He’s definitely got his work cut out for him and he depends on people like my mom and dad to help get the word out. We here at the Press and Parade are Santa’s helpers, too. Our job is to help the Christmas letters written by the kids of the Laguna Madre reach their destination at the North Pole. We do that by publishing them in the paper, so keep an eye out and you might see yours in the coming weeks!
Have a wish for Santa? Let us know online at www.portisabelsouthpadre.com.
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