Here comes Santa Bum, Here comes Santa Bum, Right down Santa Bum Lane.

Last weekend, MP, Grammy and I went downtown to participate in the annual Christmas Stroll, a tradition that’s been around for decades. At 4:30 Santa emerges from one of the town’s historic brick buildings, and, followed by throngs of children, makes his way two blocks to the end of Main Street. Once there, he hops on the back of a flatbed and, leading a chorus of Christmas carols, is driven eight blocks or so, ceremoniously lighting ancient holiday lights strung across each intersection.


Grammy excitedly led the push to get us close to Old St. Nick, hoisting MP on her shoulders and racing ahead. I kind of hoped we didn’t get too close.

This year’s Santa was frightening. In hindsight, I’m actually a little cheesed with the Downtown Association’s choice. Where was the full white fake beard? The big fat belly that shook like a bowlful of jelly? Until I learned who he REALLY was — turns out, it was Santa DJ, who I’ve met before — I would’ve sworn Santa was an underweight homeless dude who hadn’t bathed in weeks. The gray of his thin, scruffy beard looked downright dirty. Like even the fleas were jumping ship.

I couldn’t read MP’s reaction. She SEEMED excited. But skeptical. We headed to one of the Stroll activities — the very animated telling of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I hoped she’d forget about Santa Bum.


It wasn’t until we got home she spoke up.

MP: Santa looked DIFFERENT this year.

ME: How did he look different?

MP: His beard …

ME: Well, he still has awhile before Christmas. I bet it starts getting really white and fluffy in the next few days.

GRAMMY: Maybe Mrs. Claus gave him a haircut and cut it too short …

ME: Yeah. He still needs to fatten up too. By Christmas, he’ll be nice and round.

Excellent. THIS is why I don’t take her to the mall to sit on Santa’s knee. Okay, I don’t take her to the mall to sit on Santa’s knee mostly because he skeeves me out, BUT, it goes without saying — fake Santa’s are never as good as the ones that live in the imagination. Never as good as Norman Rockwell’s version. Or the Mickey Rooney clamation classic.

I’m thinkin’ we’ll skip Santa Bum next year.


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10 responses to “Here comes Santa Bum, Here comes Santa Bum, Right down Santa Bum Lane.

  1. Nappy

    Thank you for not tarnishing MP’s mind with an educational moment at Santa’s expense.

    You know, “Santa looks this way because of ………” Filled in with a social ill that everyone needs to be saved from and that can range from eating habits to social life styles.

    As you said, imagination is very strong and ALWAYS picks just the proper story variation for a person. It might be interesting later on to find out what MPs imagination ended up with for Santa’s appearance.

    I’m betting – Mrs.Clause put Mr.Clause on a low-carb diet because the doctor said it was either that or high blood pressure medicine. Or some similar variation that seen on TV 50 times a days.

    Speaking of imagination….any thoughts of what Santa should bring you for Christmas?

  2. Finn

    Santa visited Hank’s daycare last Thursday, and he said, “That’s wasn’t the real Santa. He was just in a costume.” Which led to the whole conversation about Santa is really busy this time of year and needs helpers blah, blah, blah. With his ten year old brother mumbling in the back seat something about “Santa, aka the parents”…….. the kid will be lucky to believe when he is five!!!!

    Can’t the Chamber give the city a big check designated for Chrismas decorations? Those things have been flying above Main Street since at least 1978. Awesome!

  3. We went to a Christmas musical community theater production yesterday (one of 9 people in the audience, it was excruciating) and the Santa had that skeevy look on his face when a youngish cast member sat on his lap and it was most un-Christmasy and disturbing. I mean, the whole experience could have been an SNL skit or a Jamie Kennedy experiment and I would have been most unsurprised.

  4. Hahaha that grinch is scary!

  5. Cat

    Don’t blame you. I was just looking through all the photos of me as a child, sitting on Santa’s knee, and all I kept thinking was, “Couldn’t they have found dudes that DON’T look like crack whores?”

  6. You crack me up. Santa bum? Oh my. Perhaps you might get away with skipping the tradition next year. And the Grinch looked kinda scary too!

  7. underthebigbluesky

    “I bet it starts getting really white and fluffy in the next few days.”, just cracks me up.

    The girls never saw Santa when they were little. I think it’s all a little too frightening to little ones.

    Here let me hand you to this complete stranger who doesn’t look like anyone you’ve ever seen before.
    Yes, really, it’s ok.

    I think it’s more magical if they never see him, but the faux Santas seem to be everwhere, malls, schools, parades, daycare, churches, VFW’s, the Christmas Tree farm.

    I have always told the girls that the REAL Santa is much too busy to be everywhere at once, especially right before Christmas, so he has “helpers” that go out to visit the children.

    Seems to work so far.

  8. thx, now i have “here comes santa claus” in my head and i can’t make it stop…

    i liked nappy’s comment, it made me lol.

    also? when asked if santa is real by our 5yr old the other day, my asshole husband had the nerve to say “santa is just pretend.” i could have killed him right then and there. thankfully, we set him straight.

    also x 2? my kids are 5 and 2 and they have never say on santa’s lap for a photo op. however, i have a picture of my brother and i on a santa’s lap every year from toddlerhood. ack.

  9. Nappy – If Santa wants to bring me an extra hour or two each day, I’d be a happy girl.

    Finn – Luckily we haven’t had to deal with Santa up close and THAT personal yet. Ugh — not sure I EVER want to go down that road. And can you BELIEVE those raggedy decorations are STILL around?!?

    SDM – Ew. Just ew.

    Hanna – And it turns out I KNEW HER too!!

    Cat – Thankfully, I was never subjected to the Santa lap.

    Renee – Yep. Think we’ll be arriving to the Stroll LATE next year.

    underthebigbluesky – “Here let me hand you to this complete stranger who doesn’t look like anyone you’ve ever seen before.” You’re SO RIGHT – crazytown.

    MOFM – O.M.G. I would seriously strangle the husband.

  10. Santa's Helper

    Was that a couple hours of day light or twilight?

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