Santa Claus just might be the hardest working person on the planet. For all that, he loves his work, and Bruce Templeton knows exactly why.
Financial advisor and author Bruce Templeton knows Santa better than any of us likely ever will - through the close friendship that’s bound them for 33 years. That’s a long time to know someone. And when that someone is also the world’s most popular and anticipated person, you gain a few insights; on life, and on the inner workings of Santa’s mind.
In the new book ‘The Man in the Red Suit,’ Bruce Templeton shares what he’s learned; about Santa’s strong but gentle beliefs, the abiding magic of Christmas, and what it is to see the world through a child’s eyes. Because if there’s one population group in whom Santa takes a strong interest, it’s children.
Children — from the well-to-do to the poor; the healthy and the sick; the happy ones and the sullen ones; the children fortunate enough to enjoy the love and security of a comfortable home, and those children in our midst who endure the stress of poverty and family troubles — all have been Santa’s profoundest influence. As Mr. Templeton’s book makes clear, all of these children, in their particular way, have taught Santa Claus important lessons. He’s the person he is because of them.
‘The Man in the Red Suit’ is a beautiful and gracious book that honors children. Because, you see, it might look as though Santa is the one giving all the gifts — when all that gift-giving is actually Santa’s gesture of thanks for the privilege of knowing them.
While reading Templeton’s accounts of working with Santa, accompanying him on his visits, there were times when I had to fight back tears: the little girl who asked Santa whether the spirit of her recently-deceased mother would be with him in his sleigh on Christmas Eve; the terminally ill six-year-old boy who couldn’t stay awake long enough to meet Santa, but whose grandmother took a photo of Santa laying his head down to share a space on the boy’s pillow — as proof to the boy that Santa himself had left him that new teddy bear.
But there are happy moments, too. And Templeton’s candid book shares many moments when Santa was caught off-guard by a child’s particularly pointed question — such as “Do your feet smell when you take off your boots?” Or, “How do you pick up after your reindeer?” Yes, even Santa can get a little tongue-tied.
Even with the help of his elves, Santa can’t do all the things he does without a lot of support, and Templeton’s book is also a tribute to all the people who help him during special visits at Christmastime and throughout the year. Santa has a lot of children to thank, and he is assisted in this monumental task by community groups and professional organizations of every kind.
Read ‘The Man in the Red Suit’ during quiet moments this Christmas, or give it as a gift.
Darrell Squires is assistant manager of Public Information and Library Resources Board, West Newfoundland-Labrador division. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 634-7333. His column appears every other week.