Ho, ho, ho or No, no, no


David Hubbard

The Santa Claus

Christmas has traditionally been the time of year when my mother’s side of the family gets together to celebrate the birth of Christ. Ever since I could remember, Santa Claus has been part of our celebration. One of my Santa’s was my Uncle Ray. As my Godfather, Ray brought me a gift every year. I loved his presents because he never bought me something practical or something I needed; Ray’s presents were some of the best gifts I ever received.

While the majority of my relatives are Lutherans, not all of them are “religious”. The few Christmas holidays we spent with my father’s family in Kentucky and we never attended church. I am not sure if this was because my family wanted to spend every second we could spare together or if the Hubbard’s simply were not all that religious. Regardless, whether we were in South Dakota, Kentucky or Texas, Santa always found a way to give me at least one present that made the holiday memorable.

One year, during a bus-ride home from elementary school, I had a heated debate over the validity of Santa Claus. I vehemently stated Santa was real, while several second-grade class-mates assured me he was not. When I arrived home I informed my mother, “kids on the bus said Santa isn’t real!” My mother sat me down and told me the truth … I was devastated. Despite the contrary, I continued receiving presents from Santa every year until I left home to start a family of my own.

I have had the opportunity to play Santa on many occasions over the years. One year I drove from Rapid City to Kimball dressed as Santa to pick up my children from my ex-wife for Christmas. Every year since my daughter has asked if I will be Santa for Christmas. Now that I have grand children she still asks me again, to be Santa.

This year my beard is almost completely white, and – oddly enough – my body type has become decidedly “Santa-esque”. So, I will be Santa once again. However this time for my adorable grand children.

I understand for some Santa is an affront to the “true reason for the season.” But I heartily disagree. Not everyone shares the same faith. Santa is a way to demonstrate generosity and selflessness without religious overtones. Santa may not be a real person, but he is an ideal we could all aspire to. With nearly seven billion people in the world, no real Santa could do all the work by himself. I am happy to take on the role as one of “Santa’s helpers” in order to make Christmas a little more magical for those who still believe. Once again, “I am Santa Claus!”