Santa Phil looks back.
"The Inaugural Santa Phil Christmas Tour '13" has come to an end this weekend, and the experience more than exceeded my expectations. I met children from all walks of life and situations. They all had one thing in common. Love. Unconditional love. It was apparent in the child who shouted, "Santa!" - and ran to greet the Jolly Old Elf with a hug. It showed on the face of the ones who were so over-whelmed, that they didn't know what to say. But the look in their eyes said it for them. I was in Tuscaloosa on Friday, where it was a wintery 70 degrees. But that didn't put a damper on the fun I had with the kids and their parents. Along with posing for pictures, we had story time at 5 and 7pm, and sang Christmas carols. When it was over with, a little boy that was about 2-3 years old walked over to me and sat on the footstool in front of my chair. We started chatting, and I asked him if he'd seen the reindeer yet. (They had real reindeer there!) He said yes, and then I asked him who his favorite reindeer is. He said, Rudolph. Very softly I sang the first few words of the Rudolph song. What occurred next was perhaps the sweetest thing I experienced as Santa this year: Santa Phil (singing softly): Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer... Boy (singing softly): Had a vewy shiny nose. Both of us: And if you ever saw it, you would even... Boy: ...say it gwows. All of the other weindeer... Both of us: ...used to laugh and call him names. This went on until we finished the song. Just the two of us, with our faces barely a foot away from each other. We weren't aware of anyone else that was watching. He then told me, "Mewwy Chwismas, Santa.", hugged me and went over to his parents...where mom was weeping. The photo I've included is of presents that I received from three kids on Saturday. The decorated stirring stick was given to me by a little girl who told me that she made it just for me. The cookies were given to me by two different boys who both whispered to me, "I got this cookie for you to eat on the way back to the North Pole." My day ended with a very sweet girl of around 7 years old walking up to me and asked if she could sing me a song. Of course I said yes! She then sang the sweetest version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" I've ever heard. I miss being Santa already. I think I received more joy out of doing this than the kids did, and I can't wait for next year.