Saturday, December 17, 2005

santa's little helper

When children start questioning the reality of Santa Claus, their parents usually make up one of several excuses: the Santa Claus at the mall is actually one of Santa’s elves, one of the parents is actually one of Santa’s elves, the men with fake beards have been specially chosen by Santa’s elves to help out… In any case, Santa seems to have a lot of helpers.

This morning, I became one of them. I performed my first official duty as Amabassador of American Christmas Traditions to Japan at a Christmas party for three english schools in southern Kyoto. We sang Christmas carols, learned Christmas words, and played Christmas bingo. The children listened while I told them about how my family celebrates Christmas; I showed them pictures from America at Christmas time (courtesty of Jason, thanks!), told them about my grandmother’s Christmas cookies, and assured them that candy canes were indeed tasty treats. I acted the role of Santa Claus, handing out presents with the obligatory “Here you are,” and adding a cheery, “Merry Christmas!”

Of course, I can pretty confidently say that there was an average of less than 10% comprehension of my speech, but that didn’t matter. I was being payed to be a native speaker who smiled and was enthusiastic about Christmas. The children had a good time, I had a good time, and the teachers looked like they were satisfied. That makes one down and three to go. So I’m off to practice my “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

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