I am usually not a person that’s easily entertained by strangers, but a few days ago I saw something I’ll never forget.

The kids and I met some friends for coffee and pastries.  As we’re settling into our *normal* seat at Starbucks there is a gentleman seated at the next table alone.  He’s a slightly sizable man with a big white beard and wearing work attire.  He seems rather harmless, probably because I don’t typically pay mind to others unless there’s a reason.  To my surprise he began speaking to the three kids at our table.  Asking questions like “what would they like for Christmas?”, “have they been good?”, etc.  Two of the three kids were completely speechless as they soaked-in the man’s appearance.  Our friend’s daughter leaned into brixton and whispered “that’s Santa!”.

My friend and I played along, for the amusement of the kids.  But as this man went on, the excitement grew in the kid’s eyes.  He told them that he was out to buy reindeer food and that he’d make sure they were on his Nice List.  He even “called” his elves to advise them if the kids were having a moment of not behaving well.

At the time I thought this was pretty cute.  For a grown man to pretend to be Santa Clause for the sake of keeping our kid’s spirits alive..pretty awesome!
As the day went on and I told my husband about our encounter earlier that day, I thought.. Wow!  This stranger just made an impression on me that may have surpassed my son’s.  He not only entertained the idea of Santa for kids he doesn’t know, but he was so gentle and warm to us, as strangers.
That is holiday spirit.

Sure the red suit, white beard, and herd of reindeer are what kids think of at Christmas time.  But as adults the meaning is so much more.  It’s not the gifts that keep us coming back for more.. it’s the tradition, the compassion, and tenderness held in our hearts.

I wonder if that man has a family to share his holidays with; people who get to enjoy his spirit all year long.  I’ll probably never see him again.  And our kids may not remember this after that day, but his exuding cheer left an impression on me.  I wish him a wonderful holiday and hope he can bring joy to others as he did us.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

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