I knew in a moment, he must be St. Nick

Santa delights, inspires in Fairhope

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The note was heartbreaking.

The words were etched in crayon, misspelled and scraggly. They said, “Santa is not real.”

The end of the paper was punctuated with a drawing of a large face wearing an even larger frown. The paper was crumpled and then smoothed, as if the artist had doubted their own words and then reconsidered.

It was the beginning of the holiday season in Fairhope and one little girl decided that she was no longer a believer.

But Christmastime is full of magic and in Fairhope that magic brings Santa to town each year. Well, it brings Santa out of hiding, you might say.

Santa will tell you, the love, the joy of Christmas can be found every single day of the year. It’s a place where non-believers, even the recently anointed, can find joy again.

In the back office of a local store, the tiny artists’ mother showed the drawing to the man in red, though he was hardly recognizable in his button down, summer weight shirt.

He could fix this, he said. He would fix this, he added.

And over the next two weeks, he did.

For in Fairhope, Santa is real. In the town that has been named one of America’s most enchanting holiday locations by the website, Only in your state.com, he can be seen all year, working behind the counter at Old Tyme Feed, attending school board meetings and announcing Pirate touchdowns with glee.

In December his calendar turns as crimson as his jolly suit as he tracks, in red ink, each appearance to be made.

Christmastime here kicks off before the leftover turkey is barely cold. At the Rotary Youth Club Pre-K program Santa arrived the first week of December to personally check on every tot.

When he sat down the gaggle of 5-and 6-year-olds jostled for a spot near his shiny black boots. They reached out to touch the velvety red of his coat. They were mesmerized.

When it was each child’s turn to for a moment alone with the jolly elf, some hesitated, moving slowly and steadily toward the legendary figure.

One girl tangled her tiny, chubby fingers in his white beard. Another wouldn’t come any closer than five paces. A boy in the front row called out the names of various toys he wished for, each more grand than the last.

When the visit was over one tiny girl followed him out. Santa swooped her up in his arms and they embraced.

Outside in the parking lot, a man taller and maybe even older than Santa jumped out of his vehicle for a hug and a photo. After the quick visit, with a wink, Santa climbed into his Dodge Ram and was gone.

Reindeer are too conspicuous in the sunlight, it seems.

The next day he appears at a Cub Scout event, and later a neighborhood barbecue and the next day a retirement village. But first he anoints the town in magic, as he walks under the white lights of Fairhope’s thoroughfares, and climbs a top a fire truck to officiate over the holiday splendor.

There is much more to do. In the countdown to Christmas Santa checks on progress at the North Pole, returns every now and then to his civilian responsibilities in town and seems to appear out of nowhere at county board of education meetings, early morning walks to school with the Walking School Bus and scheduled breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners.

 He moves as fast as his favorite old truck can carry him. And on one of the last days before the school doors shut for vacation, he descends via helicopter in front of a crowd of adoring elementary students.

Still, some of his most important work is done without an audience, without that famous red coat in fact.

At Theatre 98 ole Kris Kringle plays himself in the production of “Miracle on 34th Street.”

During a final dress rehearsal, in the back of the theatre, in the last row of seats, sits the tiny, second grade non-believer. She is adamant. There is no Santa Claus.

Santa climbs the stairs and approaches softly. He doesn’t say a word and you can see the doubt in her eyes and then, excitement.

He pulls a tiny red hat from his pocket.

“Can you give this to Carvel for me,” he asks the little girl. “He forgot this back at the North Pole when he left

for your house.”

And there it is. Magic.

Carvel is the elf that sits on the little girl’s shelf at home. He arrived this year sans hat. Only Santa would know that. Only, Santa.

She hugs the jolly old elf. And plays and giggles after he returns to the stage to recite his lines.

He occasionally looks up from his script and winks. She smiles. All is well again.

 

 

 

 

The note was heartbreaking.

The words were etched in crayon, misspelled and scraggly. They said, “Santa is not real.”

The end of the paper was punctuated with a drawing of a large face wearing an even larger frown. The paper was crumpled and then smoothed, as if the artist had doubted their own words and then reconsidered.

It was the beginning of the holiday season in Fairhope and one little girl decided that she was no longer a believer.

But Christmastime is full of magic and in Fairhope that magic brings Santa to town each year. Well, it brings Santa out of hiding, you might say.

Santa will tell you, the love, the joy of Christmas can be found every single day of the year. It’s a place where non-believers, even the recently anointed, can find joy again.

In the back office of a local store, the tiny artists’ mother showed the drawing to the man in red, though he was hardly recognizable in his button down, summer weight shirt.

He could fix this, he said. He would fix this, he added.

And over the next two weeks, he did.

For in Fairhope, Santa is real. In the town that has been named one of America’s most enchanting holiday locations by the website, Only in your state.com, he can be seen all year, working behind the counter at Old Tyme Feed, attending school board meetings and announcing Pirate touchdowns with glee.

In December his calendar turns as crimson as his jolly suit as he tracks, in red ink, each appearance to be made.

Christmastime here kicks off before the leftover turkey is barely cold. At the Rotary Youth Club Pre-K program Santa arrived the first week of December to personally check on every tot.

When he sat down the gaggle of 5-and 6-year-olds jostled for a spot near his shiny black boots. They reached out to touch the velvety red of his coat. They were mesmerized.

When it was each child’s turn to for a moment alone with the jolly elf, some hesitated, moving slowly and steadily toward the legendary figure.

One girl tangled her tiny, chubby fingers in his white beard. Another wouldn’t come any closer than five paces. A boy in the front row called out the names of various toys he wished for, each more grand than the last.

When the visit was over one tiny girl followed him out. Santa swooped her up in his arms and they embraced.

Outside in the parking lot, a man taller and maybe even older than Santa jumped out of his vehicle for a hug and a photo. After the quick visit, with a wink, Santa climbed into his Dodge Ram and was gone.

Reindeer are too conspicuous in the sunlight, it seems.

The next day he appears at a Cub Scout event, and later a neighborhood barbecue and the next day a retirement village. But first he anoints the town in magic, as he walks under the white lights of Fairhope’s thoroughfares, and climbs a top a fire truck to officiate over the holiday splendor.

There is much more to do. In the countdown to Christmas Santa checks on progress at the North Pole, returns every now and then to his civilian responsibilities in town and seems to appear out of nowhere at county board of education meetings, early morning walks to school with the Walking School Bus and scheduled breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners.

 He moves as fast as his favorite old truck can carry him. And on one of the last days before the school doors shut for vacation, he descends via helicopter in front of a crowd of adoring elementary students.

Still, some of his most important work is done without an audience, without that famous red coat in fact.

At Theatre 98 ole Kris Kringle plays himself in the production of “Miracle on 34th Street.”

During a final dress rehearsal, in the back of the theatre, in the last row of seats, sits the tiny, second grade non-believer. She is adamant. There is no Santa Claus.

Santa climbs the stairs and approaches softly. He doesn’t say a word and you can see the doubt in her eyes and then, excitement.

He pulls a tiny red hat from his pocket.

“Can you give this to Carvel for me,” he asks the little girl. “He forgot this back at the North Pole when he left

for your house.”

And there it is. Magic.

Carvel is the elf that sits on the little girl’s shelf at home. He arrived this year sans hat. Only Santa would know that. Only, Santa.

She hugs the jolly old elf. And plays and giggles after he returns to the stage to recite his lines.

He occasionally looks up from his script and winks. She smiles. All is well again.