Being a local Santa’s helper can be a very demanding job. We may have to put up with frigid cold temperatures, a very abused lap, and may even catch a cold. I experienced this event once a year at the Harpster Community Christmas Show when I lived there years ago. There is nothing like an old-fashioned Christmas with the crackling fire in the woodstove, the warmth of the old schoolhouse building and the joyful sound of children young and old singing Christmas carols, playing holiday music and anticipating the arrival of Santa.

When the Christmas show program was about three-fourths over with the talent and pageantry, I would get dressed in the storage room next to the kitchen. I would go out the back door of the building, down the icy, snow covered questionable steps. I’d make my way through the weeds around to the front door of the building with bells in hand, and with a “Ho, ho, ho” I made my grand entrance. There were burdocks stuck to my suit, so people would pick them off as I walked by. Any remaining hitchhikers were plucked off before I sat down in my big chair. It looked like I'd been out feeding the reindeer out in the field! I talked to a lot of children when I noticed this little handicapped girl who was always with two other lovely young ladies who had been in the program. She had this glow about her that I couldn't ignore. I thought I was all done with the children when she jumped on my lap! I asked her if she had been good, helping Mom with the dishes, and cleaning the house. She said that her sisters help a lot too. It was then I asked what she wanted most for Christmas? She looked up at me with her wide starlit eyes and said, "I want to be beautiful like my sisters." Santa choked; I lost my voice for a few seconds. All I could say was "next." She did not realize that she was just as beautiful as her sisters, just in a different way. 

This is the closest I will ever come to a little Christmas angel! I'll cherish this memory forever. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Christopher Hertel


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