Archive for the ‘santa clause’ Tag

12/16/2021 Santa Ben Laden   Leave a comment

As a young child my parents made every attempt to make Christmas as memorable as possible for my sister and for me. I was almost 6 years old when this incident took place back when I still firmly believed the tales of Santa and his elves and all that good stuff. But in the back of my young mind, I secretly was beginning to have doubts. A lot of what I was being told by the family wasn’t what I was hearing on the playground. My friends had almost convinced me there was no Santa and that my parents were actually the real gift givers.

My parents apparently began to suspect that was wavering and that their propaganda was falling on deaf ears. In a conspiracy involving my mother’s sister, Annamae, they decided drastic action was going to be needed. I’d been acting out and being a little disrespectful so it was time for Santa to straighten me out.

It was about a week before Christmas and we were visiting my grandparents. I was being a huge pain in the butt like a lot of six-year-olds can be. It was just after dark and I was walking through the house to the kitchen. As I passed by a window I glanced over and almost crapped my pants. There was Santa standing there staring at me and smiling. I was terrified and quickly ran upstairs and hid under the bed and refused to come out until the coast was clear. My parents let me know in no uncertain terms that Santa was out looking for those children who were being good and visiting those that weren’t.

For the next day or so I was a perfect little angel but after dark I was afraid to look out the windows or to enter a dark room. Santa the terrorist had accomplished his mission. I saw him on two or three other occasions during the next few years, once at our home, and again in the cellar of my grandparents’ house. Unfortunately, I was already a nonbeliever by that time but went along with the charade to keep peace in the family and not to scare my little sister. By then I knew my parents were the ones I needed to suck up to and I did it in grand fashion.

Many years later while I was digging through a trunk in my aunt’s bedroom I discovered where Santa had been hiding. His retirement consisted of being hidden under a pile of sheets and pillowcases in an old trunk. My aunt laughed like crazy when I confronted her, and we both enjoyed the moment very much while I modeled the hat and beard. It was a real Hallmark moment for both of us.

What I never told her or my parents was that there was some lingering collateral damage from their actions. To this day during the Christmas season, I’m careful in dark rooms and try never look out the windows. In the malls or stores where Santas is holding court, I walk on by without making eye contact. The guy still scares the bejesus out of me. LOL

HO, HO, HO – It’s Santa Ben Laden

8 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

10-09-2014 (Sarcasm On) Merry Christmas!   Leave a comment

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We’ve reached mid-October and I’m starting to see indications of that holiday freight train that is rumbling full speed towards us. I was tasked with an errand last night that required me to pickup my better-half who was attending a wedding of a co-worked in a town north of here.  Darkness had fallen and our trip home took us through a number of neighborhoods and small towns. We were within a quarter mile of home when I spotted something that sent a cold shiver down my spine . . .  a lighted Christmas tree in front of a neighbor’s home. These neighbors are the newest members of our little community and are folks who love to celebrate each and every holiday with decorations of all sorts hanging from trees, shrubs, and anything else that doesn’t move too much.  It can be cute but also it’s also more than a little annoying just like that tree was last night.

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During some of my shopping  forays in recent weeks I’ve observed the expected Halloween and Thanksgiving craziness but Christmas rearing it’s ugly head this early in October is ridiculous. Having worked for many rears for retail companies I understand the management mentality in getting the jump on competitors.  It just seems they’ve all picked up some of the more bothersome bad habits of the king of all retailers, Walmart.  They seem to think that anything that Walmart does automatically become the final word in making money.  Having spent six months in a Walmart management training program allows me to proclaim that Walmart is just as screwed up as any other company.  Their saving grace secret is their size.  When you’re as big as Walmart it’s much easier to  hide your screw ups and bad decisions.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that Sam Walton is probably spinning in his grave after watching what has gone on with his company.  On my first day at Sam’s Club I was handed a paperback book on the life and times of their founder Sam Walton.  I was ordered to read that book immediately and was questioned heavily on it’s contents throughout the training period.  Almost all of the training tapes that were in use were tapes made by Walton himself who at the time had been dead for more than ten years.  I was being trained by a dead guy in Walmart’s lame attempt to brainwash me into their world of retail. Just before my graduation from that training program I was on my way to work and wishing I wasn’t. Ten minutes after I arrived I walked into the General Manger’s office and resigned. I walked away and never looked back. They only succeeded in making me unhappy, miserable, and just a little crazy. I’ve never regretted my decision.

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This isn’t a rant just about Walmart but a general disappointment with the cynical approach taken by almost every retailer. I think we can thank Wall Street and the Harvard Business School for a lot of these issues. The stock market virtually requires companies to meet expectations regardless of the methods used.  The Harvard MBA’s that I’ve been involved with over the years were all young bean-counters of the worst sort.  They’d gut a company, fire any number of employees, cut benefits, just about anything to help meet those Wall Street projections.  People are just numbers to them and are treated accordingly.  Is it any wonder things are the way they are.

So after saying all of that I hope you’re prepared for the avalanche of Christmas nonsense headed your way.  Ten glorious weeks of Santa Clause, presents, endless TV commercials, and a hit to your wallet that will be larger than ever before.  Oh yeah, I recently heard a nasty rumor that once upon a time Christmas had something to do with religion.  How stupid am I?

12-08-2013 Christmas Journal Entry   Leave a comment

As we slowly approach Christmas Day I find a need to continue with my blogging of all things Christmas.  After the last few days of watching my better-half bake enough cookies and breads to feed an army I’m ready to scream.  Even with this broken leg my weight loss program continues and all these goodies in the house with their fantastic smells is driving me crazy.  So I decided to hide out in the man-cave and work on a few postings.  Anything to stay away from the kitchen.  I’ve lost almost thirty pounds so far and the last thing I need is a Christmas holiday season full of candies and cookies.

The first thing I’d like to pass on today are a few thoughts from past and present celebrities.  I know how most of you hang on their every word and I hope you enjoy this short look into their thought processes.

  • ‘I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.’ Bernard Manning
  • ‘I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six.  Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.’ Shirley Temple
  • ‘A Christmas shopper’s complaint is one of long-standing.’ Anonymous
  • ‘Santa Claus wears a Red Suit, he must be a communist. And a beard and long hair, must be a pacifist.  What’s in that pipe that he’s smoking?’
    Arlo Guthrie
  • Why is Christmas just like a day at the office?
    You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit.
    Anonymous
  • ‘Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.’  Victor Borge
  • ‘The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C.  This wasn’t for any religious reasons. T hey couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.’ Jay Leno
  • ‘Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody!’ Ogden Nash
  • Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present. Anonymous

Next I offer you a few Christmas movie quotes.  I live in a family obsessed with remembering movie quotes.  Having a conversation with them and not being a movie expert makes communicating difficult at times.  These quotes are for them and anyone else who’s interested.

  • Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas?
    You know… the birth of Santa.
    Bart Simpson
  • Snowman: Did you hear about the church that burned down?
    Statler, Waldorf: Holy smoke!  Muppet Movie
  • Doris: Would you please tell her that you’re not really Santa Claus, that there actually is no such person?
    Kris Kringle: Well, I hate to disagree with you, but not only is there such a person, but here I am to prove it.
    ‘Miracle on 34th Street’
  • Look, Daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.  It’s A Wonderful Life
  • Charlie, stay away from those things. They’re reindeer, you don’t know where they’ve been. They all look like they’ve got key lime disease.
    The Santa Clause Movie
  • Rats. Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren’t a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it? A Charlie Brown Christmas

I’m not a fan of watching Christmas movies which puts me immediately in the minority.  It seems everyone’s Christmas memories include one or two “special” movies that they enjoyed as kids.  I stumbled on a website recently that listed the following movies as the Ten Best Christmas Movies ever.  I can honestly say I haven’t seen more than three of the movies on their list.  They may be right but I’m not the guy to make that call.  It does seem a little odd that there are no mentions made of any recent movies like “Home Alone” or “Christmas Vacation” with Chevy Chase.  Just a thought from a non-Christmas movie person.

Christmas In Connecticut (1945) – Barbara Stanwyck
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – Frank Capra [Best Christmas Movie]
Miracle On 34th Street (1947) – Kris Kringle
Scrooge (1951) – Alistair Sim
White Christmas (1954) – Bing Crosby Classic
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol
A Christmas Story (1883) – Bob Clark
Joyeux Noel (2005) – WW1 Football Game in the Trenches
Olive the Other Reindeer

I think that’ll do it for today.  If you have any suggestions on improving that movie list feel free to say so and I’ll post your changes.

16 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

12-05-2013 Christmas Letters to Santa   Leave a comment

I decided that continuing my Christmas theme this month is important.  I spent a few minutes yesterday just reading nothing but the headlines from the Drudge Report and if that doesn’t depress you, you’re a better and stronger person than I.  I’ve been reading that site for years and I have to admit it’s a real downer most of the time.

In recent days I’ve slowly been developing a little of the good old kind of Christmas spirit I had as a kid.  The tree has been decorated and the lights strung and my better-half has covered every surface of every piece of furniture in the house with Santa statues and assorted Christmas knick-knacks.  We’re shopping hard, wrapping presents, and preparing packages for shipment to various family members located around the country.  It takes a while for me to get with the Christmas program but eventually I do.

It’s meant to be a happy time so with that in mind here’s a little Santa humor to start your day.

* * *

It was coming up to Christmas and Sammy asked his mother if he could have a new bike. She told him that the best idea would be to write to Santa Claus. But Sam, having just played a vital role in the school nativity play, said he would prefer to write to the baby Jesus. So his mother told him that would be fine.

Sam went to his room and wrote, ‘Dear Jesus, I have been a very good boy and would like to have a bike for Christmas.’

But he wasn’t very happy when he read it over. So he decided to try again and this time he wrote: ‘Dear Jesus, I’m a good boy most of the time and would like a bike for Christmas.’

He read it back and wasn’t happy with that one either. He tried a third version: ‘Dear Jesus, I could be a good boy if I tried hard and especially if I had a new bike.’

He read that one too, but he still wasn’t satisfied.So, he decided to go out for a walk while he thought about a better approach. After a short time he passed a house with a small statue of the Virgin Mary in the front garden. He crept in, stuffed the statue under his coat, hurried home and hid it under the bed. Then he wrote this letter.

‘Dear Jesus, If you want to see your mother again, you’d better send me a new bike.’

* * *

Are you smiling?  Good!  Now I’ll pass along a selection of kid’s letters to Santa that should keep that smile on your face for the rest of the day. I have to admit I have no memories of writing letters to Santa as a kid but I wish I had. Being able to read them after so many years would have been great fun. Here we go.

  • Dear Santa,
    Please give me a doll this year. I would like her to eat, walk, do my homework, and help me clean my room.
    Thank you, Jenny
  • Dear Santa,
    Thanks for the race car last year. Can I have another one, only this time one that is faster than my best friend’s race car?
    Ricky
  • Dear Father Christmas,
    I wish you could leave a puzzle under the tree for me. And a toy for my sister. Then she won’t want to play with mine and I can have it to myself.
    Merry Christmas, Cassie
  • Dear Santa,
    You can send me one of everything from the boys’ section of the Sears catalogue. But nothing from the girls’ section. I can’t wait for Christmas to come.
    Kent
  • Dear Pere Noel,
    Could you come early this year? I’ve been really super good, but I don’t know if I can last much longer. Please hurry.
    Love, Jordan
  • Dear Santa,
    I lost my list of toys, so please just send me the stuff that you forgot from last year.
    Todd
  • Dear Father Christmas,
    What should I leave for your reindeer to eat? Do they like cookies, too? My mom won’t let me bring hay into the living room.
    Your friend, Sandy
  • Dear Santa,
    I need a new skateboard for Christmas. The one I got now crashes too much. Band-aids would be OK too.
    David
  • Dear Santa,
    Would you rather I leave you cookies and milk or pizza? Dad says you’d probably like the pizza. Write back right away to let me know.
    Love, Lisa
  • Dear Kris Kringle,
    Please give me a tank, a jet fighter, 20 green soldiers, and a bazooka gun. I’m planning a surprise attack on my brother. So don’t tell anyone.
    Thanks, Danny
  • Dear Santa,
    How will you get into our house this year? We don’t have a chimney and my father just installed a very expensive security system.
    Julie
  • Dear Santa,
    Mommy says that you only bring presents for the good little boys. That isn’t fair.
    Brian
  • Dear Santa,
    How old are you? How did you meet Mrs. Claus? Is your first name really Santa? Can I be an elf next year? Who is your favorite kid? How do you fit all those toys in your sleigh? I have more questions for later.
    Your pal, Pauline
  • Dear Father Christmas,
    My mother told me to write to you and say thanks for the train set. My dad plays with it all the time.
    Mike

I’m not sure when or where the tradition of writing these Santa letters began. The following article was released to the public  in 2011 after being written in 1910. The list of items reveals the age of the letter and I’m still not totally sure what some of these items actually are.

* * *

Hannah Howard’s Christmas letter was hidden and lost in a chimney for years. The ghost of Christmas 100 years past arrived early for a County Down, Northern Ireland man when he discovered the “Santa letter” his late mother wrote when she was a girl.

The scorched letter was dated Christmas Eve 1911 and had been up a chimney in a Dublin house for decades. Victor Bartlem’s mother, Hannah Howard, had written her Christmas wish list when she was just 10 years old.

It was first discovered in 1992 when the current house owner John Byrne installed central heating. He came upon Hannah’s letter in the chimney and decided to keep it as a memento of times past. He made it public in 2011 in the Irish Times and it was there that Victor – living more than 100 miles away in Bangor, County Down, read about it.

Here is  that list written over a hundred years ago.

A baby doll.
A waterproof with a hood.
A pair of gloves and a toffee apple.
A gold penny and a silver sixpence.
A long toffee.

Hannah was born on Christmas Day 1900 and she died in 1978.

* * *

The items requested then appear to be very basic and far less demanding than our modern day equivalents.  If you have young children or grandchildren, take a few minutes and let them write a letter to Santa.  Then hide them away for twenty or more years.  What better gift could you give the authors than a look back to their childhoods.  They’ll love it.

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