Last weekend we had our church Christmas party where Santa made an appearance...

But looked strangely familiar...

Yes, that's The KingofHearts playing Santa Claus.

For many years in our ward, it was almost a tradition that The KoH play Santa Claus at the Christmas party. At first it worked fine for us. We didn't have kids back then and, not to brag or anything, but The KoH is an awesome Santa. Unlike many adults, he is really tuned into the kids in our church and knows all of their names, remembers what they like, can understand them when they speak, you know... stuff to which most forty year old men don't pay much attention.

The first year after we'd moved into this house was also the first year he was asked to play Santa Claus at the party and I sat off to the side watching him. We'd only been there a few months, but almost every single kid hopped down off Santa's lap and walked over to his or her parents and said in awe and wonderment, "Momma Santa KNEW MY NAME!" I sure as heck didn't know any of their names. I remember thinking for the first time that this might just be more than a practice marriage. (Of course then he came home, farted, threw his clothes on the floor and ruined the moment, but at least it was a moment.)

The Dormouse's first Christmas... and also her first Daddy Claus Santa Claus.

In recent years as The Dormouse has become more sentient, he hasn't been asked to play Santa, mainly because it kinda cramps the style of any Dad who tells his kids about Santa only to have those same kids sit on Santa's lap and look into the eyes of the right jolly old elf and realize, "Dude, Santa's just MY DAD."

This year, however, when we showed up to the party, they were short one Santa. The party planning person had expected that one of the missionaries would do it and then promptly forgot to tell him about it, I think. (Which, coincidentally, also happened with the request to have the Primary children perform a musical number at the party -- the only reason I was even there in the first place.) When the missionaries showed up and she told the one she expected to do it about her plans, he told her, "Um... it's against the mission rules for us to even pick up kids... I'm pretty sure putting them all on my lap is a no-no." So she begged The KoH to pinch hit and he agreed. For the kids.

We knew, however, that The Dormouse wouldn't be fooled by the Daddy-as-Santa costume. So I did the only thing I could do: make up some lame, cockamamie story about how Santa doesn't really have the time to show up for everyone's church Christmas party because that would just be too much time away from ordering his elves back to their sweatshop after a smoke break to pound out more dollies for Susy and skates for Johnny. So Daddy was going to play Santa, but she shouldn't tell any of the other kids because it would ruin the surprise. The Santa at the mall, however, THAT Santa is totally the real guy. Get it?

She managed to accomplish her task well, save it be for the mock surprise when she got to her turn to talk to Santa and she exclaimed, "Oh my! It's SANTA!" in the most manifestly counterfeit voice possible and then JUMPED into his lap. Whatever. The other kids were too hopped up on sugar to even notice.

I still can't figure if The Caterpillar was on to him or not. But all she cared about was getting a "tiny candy cane" so I'm not sure it made a difference one way or another.

She was happy.

Then the next morning, we went to see the really real Santa.

See? This is totally the real guy.

(It's a darn good thing this one had a real beard.)

Yes, they are cute pictures. For the record, I love them. But what I was secretly hoping for is something more along the lines
of this.

These will have to do though: