It's 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 25 and the sun is barely dusting the morning sky with ambient light. Of course, Santa Claus has magically delivered those most prized wishes, laid out for immediate recognition, covering the living room floor, at the base of the most beautiful Christmas tree ever. The fireplace cradles the burning logs, which set the mood with warm, golden light. Last night's flat stockings are now bulging with candy, trinkets and treasures of little significance but delightful fun just the same. The coffee is brewing and emits the delicious smell of caffeine while the breakfast casserole bakes in the oven, set to be finished in exactly 45 minutes. Everything is absolutely perfect -- the stuff of which magazine covers are made. And, Santa did it all, magically, while the sleeping household dreamed of sugarplums and ...
Did anyone notice the faces of the Behind the Scenes Santas? Death is certain if anyone focuses the Nikon on them. Mom and Dad look like they have been run over by a Mac Truck Sleigh and trampled by 12 Sasquatch Reindeer. Sleep was only a fleeting memory 48 hours ago. No Revlon cover-up can camouflage the dark circles under their eyes and two full cucumbers cannot reduce the puffy bags and splotches under their skin. Their hair has not been washed in three days and the shower stall has been on a dry vacation for the same. Yet they muster a triumphant laugh from the only energy remaining, as their precious children tumble down the steps. And they manage a half smile as the freshly bathed grandmas and grandpas stroll in, wearing their fluffy slippers and cozy Polar Fleece robes, while seeming to smirk with satisfied revenge.
Newly pregnant couples do not realize that they must accept this job requirement of Behind the Scenes Santas for at least eight to 10 years. They think it is only an annual event and will be fun. Fun? A madcap, frantic, exhausting, expensive, unpaid rush job is more like it!
But, there is no price on the faces of their little darlings as they first step into this early morning magical extravaganza. However, these memories of joy do have a lifetime guarantee. Yes, it is all worth it.
Merry Christmas to all those Behind the Scenes Santas. And, when the set of 300 life size cardboard Brick Blocks arrive on Christmas Eve in a flat container, just laugh with pure glee knowing that they have to be punched out, folded on the perforated lines and assembled under the Christmas tree by 6:30 tomorrow morning. Your work begins behind the scenes, after midnight. Ho, Ho, Ho.