Dianne Reeves captured the reason I love the holiday season when she wrote the line “it’s that time of year when the world falls in love.” That lyric from “The Christmas Waltz” resonates with me, particularly as I get older. I still marvel at the lights and revel in the magic of a beautiful snowfall, but as I age, those moments are woven together with the memories of happy Christmases past, and the bittersweet reminders of those who are no longer with us. The knowledge that all of this is fleeting causes me to love these moments more deeply and feel the happiness of the season a bit more with each passing year.
It is in the spirit of spreading my holiday joy that I put on an elf costume and became a Pfister elf for the first Breakfast with Santa of the season. My bells were jingling and my cap jauntily askew when I arrived for my shift, eager to put smiles on the faces of our guests.
Waves of families began to arrive shortly before 8:00 AM, all happily anticipating a special morning. Little ones were in dressed in holiday finery, filling the room with tartan ties and sparkly dresses. Escorting the wee merry-makers were parents and grandparents, beaming with the particular joy that accompanies these memorable events. Velvet clad children nestled on their mothers’ laps, their wide eyes taking in the magnificent Imperial Ballroom, the room made even lovelier with its seasonal trimmings. Lots of hugs were given, bows were straightened, hair was smoothed and photo after photo was taken. The only thing that interrupted the whirl of camera clicks was the arrival of breakfast.
Before the pancakes had been cut or a bite of quiche savored, Santa and Mrs. Claus entered the room. The famous couple’s arrival was met by clapping, and shrieks of delight from their most ardent fans. Accompanied by longtime elves, Bubbles and Jingles, the room became measurably merrier as the North Pole’s most celebrated entourage greeted the crowd.
Shortly, tiny tykes, their tanks filled with syrup and Santa-mania, began joyfully dancing. They danced to the banquet tables filled with holiday sweets. They danced towards the craft tables and coloring stations. They danced en route Santa’s mailbox to send their wish lists. They danced with the crew of elves there to help Santa. They danced and wiggled while waiting their turn to meet the man of the hour, and then they leapt off his lap and danced into their arms of their waiting families. The buzz of joy was in the air as the room vibrated with movement of little ones.
With full tummies, hands filled with craft projects and a special present from Santa, children and their families began to move to the exits. Evidence of the fun that was had could be found on each sticky face and revealed in each untucked shirt and knotted sash. It was a true joy for me to be part of this event, not just as an observer, but as someone who helped make the event special for our guests. My tenure as a Pfister elf was short, but memorable, and one that I hope made others as happy as it made me.