Santa in the Time of Covid

Covid-19 is the worst.

As I look back on what this epidemic did to my world, the Santa world, and the world at large, I am amazed. The social implications alone have transformed our lives. Add to that the incalculable effects financially, emotionally, and spiritually to each one of us, individually, and it’s an understatement to say that Covid was a game-changer.

I sat down to write a post similar to this almost a year ago. Christmas 2020 was an amazing ride for the Santa Claus community. We completely changed the way we did business. Most of us spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars (and innumerable hours on Google and YouTube) setting up in-home, virtual, North Poles. Several companies were born out of the need for children to greet Santa safely. Plexiglass and huge air-globes protected Santa from the public. And some kids just missed out on verbally sharing their hopes and dreams with the Man in Red.

There were empty laps across the globe…

And the empty lap may be one of the worst effects of Covid. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the complexities that surround children seeking to sit in the lap of and embrace an old man they don’t know. Stranger danger! In fact, there are many who are of the opinion that this wonderful tradition should be bagged back into Santa’s sack! (most of those folks are on the naughty list anyway!) And we’re not going to get into this side of the discussion–there are too many slippery slopes on that mountain!

I love the introduction to an article written by Paul Kennedy entitled “Santa’s lap crisis”, a couple years ago:

Consider the word lap – noun, verb, friend. It’s no coincidence that lap spelled backwards is pal. Think about it. Lap is one of the most helpful and versatile words in the English language.

Good fortune smiling upon you? Then you can live in the lap of luxury. Getting a bit flabby? Head to the pool and swim some laps. Feeling jubilant? Take a victory lap.

Maybe you’ve had a tough day. Forget about it. Kick back and watch the ocean waves lap against the white-sand beach of Maui’s Kapalua Bay. Virus who?

Or maybe you simply have too many problems to count? No problem! Just dump all those worries into someone else’s lap and call it a day.

Yes indeed, our friend lap is here to save the day.

-Paul Kennedy

The embrace of sitting on a lap carries with it not only comfort, but anticipation, anxiety, and sheer exhilaration. Think of the feelings a young child is feeling when faced with the very one who they know has been checking in regularly, and holds the key to their holiday wishes. The guy who Ralphie referred to as “The big man. The head honcho. The connection.” And like Ralphie, that child’s heart is pounding, their feet are dancing, they’ve waited all week for this. And no able-bodied adult is going to keep them from crawling up into that lap!

Look at the logistics of the situation. Whispering your greatest wishes into Santa’s ear is a tricky proposition, even though, and especially when, he’s sitting! You gotta get up past the boots, the belly, and the beard. And the only way to do that is through the lap! Another logistical consideration is that not all children who greet Santa are walking yet. They need to sit. And the lap is the perfect place.

There’s no consensus about when sitting on Santa’s lap became a tradition. I believe that’s because it’s just organic. It couldn’t have been long after Santa made it into the department stores sometime in the latter 1800’s. Because it’s just what a kid would do! Right?

As I try to put myself in their position, and see the whole transaction the way these children would, I replace Santa with Someone I am eager to see, to talk to, to embrace. And that’s Jesus. And the first image that comes to mind is when He suffered the children to come to Him. And where were they? On his lap. Of course they were.

Covid with all it’s trappings was rough. But we’re back, and in a big way. All my brothers in red agree that this season is shaping up to be one of the busiest we have seen in a long time. People are hungry for normalcy, human interaction, and a great big lap to climb onto.

BRING IT!

Published by Jonny Kigin

Jonny is tall, dark, handsome, flowing locks, six-pack abs, loves cats and...wait, what is this for?

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