Reflections Holiday Issue | Volume 17, Number 5 - Page 73

Today , the real Santa Claus and his Mrs . still live at the North Pole with his prancing reindeer and several dozen toy-making elves . But he has other Helpers as well , scattered throughout America — thousands of them . They are known simply as Santa ' s Helpers . These older patriarchal men painstakingly model themselves in Santa ' s image , his persona , his deportment , and most importantly in the depth of his character . These are not one-day-a-year strap-on-a-beard impersonators . They are real Santa personas who embody the Spirit of Christmas year ‘ round . Over 90 % of Santa ’ s Helpers have made the commitment to growing and maintaining their own full white beards — and more .
Almost to a man , this brand of Santa ' s Helpers believes themselves to be the embodiment of jolly Ol ' Saint Nick himself . Over these many years , the Helpers have come to be a fraternal order — a brotherhood . Small children who can see the truth more readily than the rest of us , look upon Santa ’ s Helpers as Santa himself . They believe . Bigger kids and most adults , if they are honest , believe in Santa too , only in a different way .
There are two core mottos for this brotherhood of Santa ’ s Helpers : 1 . The universal acceptance of ALL people , and 2 . “ You don ' t find the suit – the suit finds you .”
There are even Santa Helper schools in different regions of the country catering to emulating the original . One Santa ’ s Helper school in Midland , Michigan was started in 1937 and has graduated over 4,500 Santa ' s Helpers since it opened with several hundred new attendees arriving annually .
Most Santa ’ s Helper ’ s today live the life of a Helper each and every day . They grow and prim their own beards , they carry themselves in public like they ' re the real deal , and they always have to be quick on their feet . By comparison , being a Santa ’ s Helper today is not much different than being a nun in a habit or a priest in a vestment . Their personal commitment is constantly tested , and they are constantly on duty — 24 / 7 / 365 .
In interviewing many Santa ’ s Helpers for an accompanying article , each has relayed some universal truths about the job . First , it ' s not a job at all , it ' s a calling . Second , it ' s about building trust because all kids , big or small , inherently want to trust . Santa ' s Helpers are taught to earn trust with calmness , care , and honesty . And finally , having a “ Santa ’ s heart ” is a Helper ’ s greatest asset . Done well , each of these men becomes the real Santa in their own heart . And that comes across clearly every twenty-fifth of December in the wide-eyed acceptance of reindeer and small children . •
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