The big guy is everywhere this year


Christmas is a time of songs and poems, stories and tales.
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We hear about the holiday bringing families together, the kindness of strangers and a general mystical aura in the air that is best quantified as “The Christmas Spirit.” Oh, we get run down by all the preparations and demands that come with the holiday, and we are all feeling a bit of a financial pinch for months following the big day, but there’s something that’s just so ... hmmm ... let’s just roll with “The Christmas Spirit.”

A big part of the holiday obviously orbits the comings and goings of one St. Nick, a.k.a. Santa Claus. The jolly fellow in the red suit has captured the imagination of children for generations, and seemingly embodies the over-commercialized celebration of the birth of Christ more than any other.

And, yes, I’m amongst the crowd that believes the religious significance of the holiday has been all-too-often lost in modern celebrations of Christmas, but I also see the argument that Santa is part of the celebration for that blessed event, and that we should cherish the fact that the more attention Santa gets, the more exposure the holiday attracts in general.

Besides, I also get excited to look under that tree every Christmas morning to see what the big guy left me. I’ll never forget the one year I was sick as a dog and found my cherished Coleco football game waiting for me and I disappeared into a 9-volt battery-fueled ecstacy of clicking away madly with my fingers while my digital ball carrier consistently ...

But I digress. Ho ho ho.

Regardless your take on the holiday, it’s hard to argue the significance of Santa Claus. The big guy is everywhere these days, and his impact continues to grow.

For instance, NBCmiami.com reported earlier this week that a grandmother in South Florida found herself involved in a small situation with Santa at a mall. The woman stood in line with her granddaughter so the little one could pass along her Christmas wish list to St. Nick, just as millions of children do each year. However, as the little girl was sitting on Santa’s lap, the grandmother took a photo of the two.

Oops.

See, the mall sets up these opportunities so they can make a little money — $22.99 for a photo shot by Santa’s little helpers, to be precise. They took umbrage with the free photo op by the scofflaw grandmother and had her escorted out of the mall by three security guards.

Ho ho ho.

Sometimes, however, Santa gets over the commercialism of the holiday and just lends a helping hand.

For instance, Jenny Hoang took a friend’s child to a mall in California last weekend for the aformentioned treasured photo and was summoned back to Santa’s side as she was leaving following the photo. The Orange County Register reported that Hoang’s boyfriend then appeared from hiding, dropped to a knee and proposed to his girlfriend by Santa’s side. Hoang excitedly accepted the proposal, and was showered with applause, including a clapping Santa Claus.

Ho ho ho.

Santa’s a busy guy right now. He’s making final preparations for the trip, monitoring the Weather Channel for his traffic patterns and taking one last look at the infamous naughty-and-nice list. So others have picked up the slack.

A man dressed as Santa, dubbed “Secret Santa II” in an Associated Press story, has taken to the streets of Kansas City handing out $100 bills to people in thrift stores, food pantries and shelters. The man said he’ll end up handing out about $40,000 this December, going strong on his charitable mission “till the money runs out.”

Ho ho ho.