On Christmas Day, in the blessed year of 1980, Santa Claus came to town. Well, not to town exactly, but to our trailer in the country. We didn’t have a chimney (I’m still not sure how Santa managed to get into our home without one) and I was under the impression that the jolly old fat man delivered gifts at night. Anyway, let’s get to the story.
As you can see, I was a bit leery of this Santa character. He and I had met, briefly, a year earlier at the local mall. I stood in line for what seemed like an eternity just to sit on his fuzzy red lap and force the Claus to listen to my very specific toy
demands requests. Alas, by the time I got my moment to shine, I was so hungry that all I asked for was a Snickers candy bar. It was like that scene from A Christmas Story, it had all gone wrong. I don’t know if I ever got the Snickers, but I did get some good toys that year, so maybe my parents spoke to Santa later on my behalf.
So, this Santa fella comes making house calls and I’m all like, what’s he doing in my house, why’s he wearing aviators indoors, and where the heck is his hat? I now have a better understanding of these things. Santa was behind schedule that year—I guess it’s not easy keeping up with the changing toy trends that come with a new decade. I now see this as a plus for me, because how many people can say they have pictures of Santa Claus visiting them at home?
I now realize that Santa was most likely wearing the aviators because he’s a cool dude and that’s what cool dudes do—at least that’s what cool dudes did in 1980.
As for the hat, my dad has since revealed that he actually asked Santa about it. My dad said that Santa gave out one of his big cheery chuckles and said, “Well, Rudolph with his nose so bright, still seems to get a cold head in all this snow. So, I let him wear my hat when I make house calls.” Man, that Santa guy sure is nice. I wish I could hang out with him every year.
So, back to the photo above. Santa being the calm cool cat that he is, he knew it would take more than a Snickers to win me over. So, he did the thing that every kid needs an adult for the most, he started putting batteries in my toys.
I have to admit, I was impressed, but I was still acting aloof. However, Santa didn’t stop there. He actually started playing with the toy—it was a Stomper, for those who are curious. I couldn’t believe it. Who would have guessed that Santa still enjoyed playing with toys. Maybe it’s true that you never really have to grow up.
I felt bad that I had shunned him at first. I don’t remember what I said here, but I bet I didn’t ask him for a Snickers.
My mom snapped this photo as Santa was heading back to his sleigh. Unfortunately, she didn’t get a picture of the sleigh or reindeer (I bet Rudolph looked awfully funny wearing that hat). Anyway, I’ll never forget that time that Santa was running late and put batteries in my Stomper.
Soon after Santa left, Dad showed up. I told him how he’d just missed Santa and what a good time we had together. I actually don’t remember if that’s what I told Dad, because I was three years old, but that sounds like something I would say. Turns out he knew the jolly old fat man and had some kind words of his own to say about our red suited visitor. Dad was also glad to hear that Santa put the batteries in my Stomper for me.
After Santa’s visit, I continued opening toys—I have no idea why I have wardrobe changes every Christmas, I’ve chosen to accept the mystery. This loader was one of my favorite toys. It saw hours of playtime in my sandbox over the years.
These are toys I got at the Smith Family Christmas. I don’t remember who got that goat for me, but I loved it. You could put things in its mouth and work the tail til they came out of the other end. Toys were great in the 1980s.