My wife and I arrived back in Denver, Colorado on October 1, 2010 from Kiev, Ukraine to begin another new adventure in marketing our small growing company. This was our third trip to Denver in the last 3 years. This year because of Christkindl Market cancellation we decided to roll the dice and open a kiosk in an upscale mall in Denver.
The mall during the Christmas season transformed itself into a magical winter wonderland complete with a 30 foot Ice Palace with artificial snow to attract shoppers to see highlights from the film, The Chronicles of Narnia: the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
There is an old cliché about location being everything. Our kiosk was strategically located near the entrance to the Ice Palace where parents lined up with their children to visit and have their picture taking with Santa.
During my three months at the mall, I was blessed to have met and talked with many interesting people from around the world, who accepted me as if I were a true Ukrainian. However, there was one particular uncommon Soul with whom I had the great pleasure to get reacquainted was Santa Claus.
Santa is an Icon to young and old alike, no matter their race, color, or creed. He is important because he one of the keepers of the spirit of Christmas. Christmas is Christmas. It is about family, love, hope, peace and goodwill to all.
Being an American, who lives in the Eastern European country of Ukraine, a place many Americans are not familiar, I am sadden when I come back to America to sell Ukrainian Christmas gifts and see how political correctness is robbing America of its traditions and moral compass. It appears that many Americans now have difficulty in saying, “Merry Christmas” out loud in public. This is not the case in Ukraine where Christmas was once banned under the communists. They are more than happy to say, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
While the final touches were being made to Ice Place, my wife and I met Santa. Even in his civilian clothes I sensed there was something special about him. His white flowing beard and hair gave him away. Even his red jacket said Santa on it!
When I shook his hand I felt warmth and sincerity that he was Santa and not someone playing a part. He took great interest in our ornaments and found one he liked and asked if it could be personalized. My wife smiling said, ‘Yes!” I then asked if we might have our picture taken with him. With a big glowing smile on his face he replied, “I would be delighted!”
While we were taking pictures, a crowd of people had gathered to see Santa. The children crowded around him and I could feel the energy and love in this man when he spoke with the children. There was one parent who asked him about a present he wanted as a boy, but didn’t get. “Do you remember what I told you when you asked me?” “Yes!” he replied with a smile. “My answer is still the same when you asked as a boy!”
He was the most remarkable Santa I have ever met! He had charisma. He always looked as fresh at the end of day as when he started. I would ask parents what they thought of Santa and many would share with me the photos of their child sitting on his lap. I didn’t ever see him take a bad photo. There was always a special glow that surrounded him. He truly loved being one of the keepers of the spirit of Christmas!