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I believe in Santa…

Of course I do, because he comes to see me each year at the start of December. He’s been coming for more than thirty years now, and every year the memories seem to be a little more precious as I see the children of people who were children the first time they saw this discovering the magic.

It is, of course, as ever so slightly odd as so much is in my beloved home county of Dorset and home town of Poole. The Rotary Club of Poole Bay use a long estate car and a trailer, on which is a train, with Santa standing tall in the cab. This goes all around the local area raising money for gifts for local children and people in need and every single penny goes to them because the train is sponsored by our community-minded traders.

Its first trip of the year is always around the narrow streets that were built in the Victorian era, and were definitely not built to take a long vehicle so I can only admire the driver’s skill and the good humour of the people who are heading for home. That brings back happy memories too of nights when my husband apologised for being late for tea because he got stuck behind Santa. Which is not an excuse you hear very often…

First you hear the carols and Christmas songs and then you see the lights in the distance and we wrap up warmly and head out to stalk Santa. We follow him from street to street and I enjoy chatting with people I know, both on the elf team and amongst my neighbours. This year’s highlight was the little girl who was utterly determined to find a puddle that would be so deep that it went over the top of her wellies. Her teenage brother told her that she’d be sorry. Her dad told her not to be daft. Her mother said she’d have to learn the hard way and she did not get a lot of sympathy when she found the puddle of her dreams and let out a yelp of horror as she found that puddle water is cold, and, strange as if may seem to a three year old, very wet! But she was giggling to herself as she squelched her way around the rest of the trip and it was raining so hard that she wasn’t all that much wetter than the rest of us.

Eventually, I put my coins in the collecting bucket and headed inside to wash my hair and have a hot shower to try to warm me up, although I didn’t need to wet my hair first. Then it was hot chocolate with cream on the top, German Christmas biscuits and a big grin on my face because Christmas is coming in the way that matters most to me. Not in the presents or the glitz and the glitter but in people, many of whom aren’t young, who give up their evenings for weeks to delight children and bring presents to old and young who otherwise wouldn’t have very much.

Faced with that, how can I not believe in our Santa? After all, he waved to me and told me to be a good girl - or at least not get caught too often. That proves that he knows me very well, and I promise I’ll try to stay on the nice list.


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