Laurel’s Santa is a busy man this time of ​year

By: 
DAVID KEYES
Outlook publisher

The following story deals with the existence of Kris Kringle. Every effort has been made to keep the secret intact.

 

There is more to Laurel’s Santa Claus than meets the eye.

For seven seasons, the jolly elf and his alter ego, Lumpy, have brought joy to Laurel youngsters with a classroom visit that mixes a visit to Santa’s lap, candy and a talk about fire safety.

By this time next week, Santa will have visited every local classroom in Laurel that is inhabited by fourth graders and younger.

Kids will receive candy donated by local merchants and a firefighter will discuss home fire safety tips. They will also get a little lap time with the guy who can help make their Christmas wishes come true.

Santa is also known to stop by local businesses, day care centers, nursing homes and almost anywhere else his presence is requested between now and Christmas. 

A quick glance at his Iphone reveals at least 11 appointments between now and Christmas and more coming in all the time.

“It is the best feeling in the world when the kids first get a glimpse of me,” he said with a few ho-ho-hos thrown in for good measure. There was a twinkle in his eyes as well.

Nobody seems to remember how long ago Santa hitched his sleigh with the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department but it’s clear to see they get along.

All doubt was erased when a handful of firefighters pulled Santa and his sleigh through the Christmas to Remember parade and landed him safely at Fireman’s Park in front of a hundred or so kids.

“They are a little bit slower than my reindeer, eat more and smell worse but they had to do when Rudolph got a flat,” he joked.  

“The truth is the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department believes in Santa and without those heroes we wouldn’t have Santa here,” he said. “We also wouldn’t have fireworks. Firefighters love Santa and blowing things up.”

Santa also has a soft spot for older kids.

In fact, memories of a recent visit to Evergreen Nursing Home still bring a tint of red to his already rosy cheeks when he recalls when one of the female residents sauntered up beside him and asked what she would have to do to get on his naughty list.

Even Santa’s junior high helper/daughter gasped.

Being Laurel’s Santa Claus isn’t for the faint of heart.

Santa’s outfit is heavy and would make anyone sweat while wearing it inside classrooms. On cold winter days, however, it has proven to be a lifesaver. Little known fact, Laurel’s Santa doesn’t have to add padding to his suit to fill it out. He comes pre-stuffed.

Santa’s training as a wrestling coach also prepared him for the non-stop assault on his beard, hair, hat, etc.

“I have learned to be ready when a kid is about ready to go for the beard,” he said. “I meet him or her halfway so they can’t tug.” 

A little double-stick toupee tape also keeps everything in place.

As far as Santa’s suit, it is also an all-Laurel product. The suit was sewn by an anonymous local woman and is mended by her and others as well. Orchid Cleaners cleans the suit at the end of the season at no charge. There are other Santa’s helpers who make sure his boots, belt and hat are up to snuff as well.

 

What do the good kids 

want this Christmas?

The popular toys so far this year are: Legos, Pokemon, Hot Wheels, unicorns, gaming systems and iPhones.

“I can’t believe a six year old wants an iphone,” said Santa. “ I was 53 before I got my first one and I still can’t figure it out.”

Fart guns were big last year and seem to be making a comeback. 

Santa always sucks on a candycane prior to meeting anyone. He doesn’t want anyone to say that Santa has bad breath. 

Kids always ask what his elf’s name is thanks to the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon.

“I kind of fake it by making up names,” he said.

Every once in awhile, a kid might recognize the face and eyes behind the Santa suit and whisper his name.

“Most play it cool because they know that if they believe, Santa keeps coming,” he said.

And for all of the numerous times the talk with Santa goes according to script, every once in awhile he is reminded that what he does has deeper significance for some.

“One little girl asked me to get her mom out of jail … and for an EZ Bake Oven,” he said. “Wow. That got me.”

Santa hurried down to Walmart and bought the oven and said a little prayer for a little girl and her family.

“Puts things into perspective, that’s for sure,” he said.

Santa’s wife, Sarah, and daughter, Colleen, act as Santa’s helpers and drivers when he make is trips around town when he isn’t being transported by a firetruck.

“It’s great to see the look on children’s faces when a firetruck pulls up next to them in traffic and they see Santa Claus onboard,” he said.

It is also fun to watch the reaction when he is being driven around town in his personal vehicle. That one is easy to spot, it says Lumpy on the side.

“People stare, point and give us the thumb’s up,” he said. 

Santa also wanted to thank his boss, Diane Dell. She makes it easy for him to meet with kids.

“She is definitely on my good list,” Santa said.

Santa recognizes his role in reminding people about the spirit of community in Laurel. 

“We have a special town full of volunteers and people who want the world to be a better place,” Santa said. “That is the best part of my job(s), community.

Santa wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas as he left the Outlook office and hoped the holiday season would be the best ever for everyone.

Category:

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Monday, June 3, 2019
• Corinthian Lodge No. 72, AF&AM, first & third Monday, 7:30 p.m., Masonic Temple, Laurel Masonic Temple, 9900 Airport Road (except July-August)
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.

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