I've been Santa at a country park near Portsmouth for 6 years now and some stories are well-worth repeating.
This year I had let my beard grow from January instead of June so it was quite magnificent and one Mum was overheard saying - "He's much more realistic than the one they had last year"(??)
I had a wee 4-years-old girl a couple of years ago who gave me a small parcel wrapped in Christmas paper - It contained her 'dummy' (soother) and a note saying "I am a big girl now and no longer need this - Can you find a little girl who needs one" This is only one of many 'tear-jerk' stories I could tell
I get an amazing amount of people who say "Tell Santa where you're going next week - To Lapland to see the REAL Santa" (Eh??)
I also have the Rock-Chicks as my elves and they have now got an entire 'history' for the three of us - right down to which two reindeer come to the park with us (you don't need the full sleigh with only three of you on a day-trip) and they choose which two reindeer names to use - it's a bit scary because they never choose the same two on consecutive days
I was in Southampton one day a couple of Christmasses ago and a shop (one of these 'hire by the day and sell Christmas tacky stuff) had a big sign in the window saying "FATHER CHRISTMAS WANTED - Apply within"
So in I went - They took one look and said I'd be ideal so I started to negotiate - They had no idea what hours they wanted or anything. So I said that I had the beard, the suit, the boots, and all they had to do was get the Police Authorisation - Their reaction? "What Police Authorisation?" They really expected to take in someone off the street and have kids climbing all over him - I'm afraid the H&S guidelines are VERY clear about how you deal with children in that environment.
In Summer 2003 I was MC'ing at the Eastleigh Summer festival and had just announced Rolf Harris on stage when a family of three came and stood beside me at the side of the stage - I assumed they were friends of one of the band members as they had managed to get backstage - The little girl (about 4 years old) looked at me and asked "Are you father Christmas?" I said "Yes but it's a BIG secret and no one is to know becqause this is what I like to do in the Summer" - A little later the security guys asked them to move into the main area as they weren't allowed backstage and this little voice rang out (during a space between Rolf's songs) "But Father christmas said it was OK and he's a mate of Rolf's"
I have decided to let the beard continue to grow and dye it in the summer to do any 'Green Man' type functions - It's amazing what you can achieve with these wash-in/out hair dyes
Anybody around Southampton want a Santa next year - Or if you fancy doing a spot yourself let me know