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Happy-Gourmand

COVID won't stop Santa

So many things have gone by the wayside this year. Let’s not go through the list.

We jumped into the spirit of Christmas with vigour, hoping to carry on with traditions. But now, some of those are not possible this year. Well, I have some good news amidst all this pandemic pessimism…

Santa is carrying on. The Man in Red will not be thwarted.

This news is likely not a surprise for older folks. Santa has endured through the ages, and he has adapted. He customizes his visits in different countries, and even his outfit. Why, then, would he not figure out how to keep in touch amidst a global pandemic?

I remember my biggest worry as a kid was, “How would Santa fill our stockings when we didn’t have a chimney?” Everybody knows that Santa never comes through the front door. 

My parents did not hesitate for a second when they told me, of course, Santa would come through the balcony door, and that was where the stockings were hung.

Chimneys are an old tradition for Christmas stockings – they were used by Odin, the Viking god, on the winter solstice; also by La Befana, the Italian witch who delivers gifts on Epiphany.

Santa’s red suit is said to come in part from the real St. Nicholas, an archbishop in the Fourth century, in what is now Turkey. St. Nick also had a white beard. This look was re-inforced in Holland in the Middle Ages with Sinterklass, who rode a white horse across the night  sky.

In England, though, Father Christmas wears a forest green robe (perhaps a nod to the Druids?)

In North America, the modern version of Santa Claus began in earnest in 1823, when a story appeared called A Visit from St. Nicholas. It would later be much better known as The Night Before Christmas.

This was when it became common knowledge that Santa had a sleigh pulled by reindeer that would land on our roofs. 

Snacks for Santa vary around the world, but there are a few common threads. Here, we may leave carrots for the reindeer, but in some parts of Europe Santa has horses. (Apparently, his horses like carrots, too.)

Cookies and milk are Santa’s supposed favourite in Canada and America, but in Britain he likes a tot of sherry, in Ireland and Australia, he enjoys a beer. It is always a thoughtful treat.

In Denmark and Iceland, children focus more on feeding the elves. Danish children leave out rice pudding. Icelandic children have 13 days to feed their “Lads” (Christmas celebrations last 26 days there – these guys know how to have fun.) 

Fortunately for Santa, he doesn’t have to eat something at every house. In some countries, children leave letters or good wishes. Everything seems to be equally appreciated, as everyone knows when Santa has visited by the goodies he left behind.

This year, many opportunities to connect with Santa and his helpers have been more challenging. A zoo in Denmark that usually allows photos for children on Santa’s lap adapted by putting him in a snow globe. And letter-writing skills may have improved for many children with fewer in-person visits. 

The giving nature of Santa must be key to his ability to persevere. He is be a problem solver, with a positive demeanour in any situation (even screaming infants). Who else would combine the high intensity of scaling chimneys and filling stockings with a cookie-eating marathon?

Here in Kelowna, we have our own Santa that has persevered for our community. Many of the regular places could not offer visits with The Man in Red. He has not been able to attend the regular events in our area. But he is doing virtual visits and recorded messages. 

Imagine a fellow who is used to Old World technology (e.g. reindeers steering a sleigh, managing elves) learning to Zoom in a 21st century way. Our local Santa Tom and many of his colleagues all over the globe are doing just that, keeping the spirit alive and focusing on the positive side of things.

I was thinking, nowhere does it say big kids can’t sign up for a chat with Santa. It might just be the thing to make this Christmas memorable in the best way.



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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