By stern on Dec 18, 2007
Then again, I get unique pleasure out of dressing up as Saint Nick. It's seeing a kids' eyes get a little bit bigger when I call them by their last name, or when they open a toy that (not surprisingly) has arrived in their favorite color or character style. It's being able to "sell" Santa Claus, by asking for a plate of cookies (chocolate chip), or talk about how "my" reindeer are grazing at the North Pole, or even reminding the 11-year old who is too Web 2.0 oriented for Santa Claus that she used to be terrified of me, in the same suit, just a few years ago, but I won't tell anyone in public. Secrets involving Santa are bi-directional.
The question I'm asked most frequently (after "Aren't you hot in that suit?") is "How does a Jewish guy get to play Santa Claus"? The simple answer, and somewhat obvious, is that it's because I can -- not just physically filling out the red, white and black (my beloved NJ Devils color combinations, slightly scrambled), but being able to enjoy religious freedom, diversity in the workplace, and an emphasis on fun in our corporate culture. I'm quick to remind people that Hanukah celebrates a miracle of faith and belief, and I'm delighted to celebrate the season by sharing in any mythology of the season. The very right to do so is the fabric of the Declaration of Independence and was the whole point of the revolt against Hellenistic persecution that led to the miracle of Hanukah.
To borrow Elvis Costello out of context, there's nothing funny about Peace, Love and Understanding, because they are causally related. It's up to us to figure out which one to teach our kids first, such that the others follow. I'm happy to try doing that looking like the love child of Elmo and Bigfoot.