Because my 9-5 job is as the editor of the local newspaper, that means my volunteering opportunities are somewhat limited. In order not to show any bias to any group or organization, I don’t get involved in a lot of things. However, there is one thing I do annually.

Years ago, I befriended a gentleman who, in the winter months, goes by the name “Santa Claus”. This fellow never goes out of character, either. My kids think this is fantastic. Their mother personally knows, and works with Santa Claus. Santa Claus has BBQ’s at the beach with us and comes to our house for dinner.

Eventually, Santa Claus asked me to help with some of the holiday events. Certainly, volunteering my time to be Santa’s Elf doesn’t break any of the News Editor rules. So each year, I don my striped hat, my elf ears, and whatever other kinds of elf-like things I can put together and I become Santa’s Elf.

Mind you, being Santa’s Elf is a pretty serious job. It’s not easy work. Most kids have the same reaction upon seeing Santa for the first time… that reaction is FEAR. I’ve found my “magic jingle bell” necklace helps with this. I let them hold the “magic jingle bell” and while they clutch it like their lives depend on it, they are somehow able to tell Santa just what it is they want. Babies like to watch the “magic jingle bell” and give smiles for the camera. Still, some kids are too terrified of Santa to ever end up telling him what they want. More than a couple of times, I (the elf) have had to take over Santa’s “throne” and have the child tell me what they want because they’d rather do that than talk to Santa, and then Santa sneaks his way into the picture for the parents.

It can be hectic, and it can be exhausting, and I have great admiration for those portly, bearded men that don the hot, stuffy suit and spend their evenings and weekends in malls surrounded by lots of noisy and rambunctious children all in the name of helping make Christmas… well… Christmas. As long as there are Santa’s out there to bring cheer to the holiday, and as long as I’m asked, I’ll keep donning my ridiculous elf suit (much to the amusement of my adult relatives) and putting on my happy face during the holiday season.

And on a side note, I think this year, since I’ve had the same costume for a number of years, I’m going to have to work out something a little more fabulous…. Halloween draws near, so lots of bright green wigs and striped stockings are to be found!