The Christmas lights were up, day care was festooned and glittering. Lunch with its crackers, silly jokes and paper hats and delightful trifle or Christmas pudding had been served. The members assembled on the semi-circle of comfy chairs. The boss and the chaplain were there. The pianist had arrived and was busy-ing herself at the piano which had been pulled around to help create a circle. There was the clatter of dishes being cleared and piled on to the trolley. The manager came in, still wearing her tutu. Other staff members, dressed as elves, were chatting to the members. ‘Is everyone here?’ asked the manager. ‘Not yet,’ said an elf, ‘but everything is in order.’
The piano struck up and the chaplain led familiar carols. Members shouted out their favourites and everyone would then sing along to the music. The manager got to her feet and invited the members to say thank you to the chaplain in the familiar way. ‘We have a special guest today,’ said the manager as some of the members looked round at the boss. ‘Not him,’ she laughed,’ he keeps turning up like a bad penny!’ The staff giggled and members laughed. ‘He isn’t here yet,’ said the manager. ‘We need to sing to make him welcome.’ Soon Jingle Bells could be heard in every corner of day-care. Everyone joined in and the special guest arrived.
Now this year’s Santa was an especially skinny man. With elven help he had been padded out with cushions brought in especially for the purpose. Black sack over his shoulder he entered the circle with waving hands and a Ho! Ho! Ho!. The applause was sincere especially as the sack began to be emptied one present at a time. Jean wanted a kiss with her present as did Helen. All was going well, photos were being taken and the jollity was unfeigned.
It was at this point that the cushions providing Santa with a copious tummy began to slip. They didn’t slip out but down both of Santa’s legs. Eventually, members noticed and started to laugh as his trouser legs got wider and wider. This affected his ability to walk properly but Santa carried on, the elves being too shy to retrieve and fix the cushions. The weight of the cushions began to pull down the elasticated trousers.
‘Look, Santa’s lost his breeks,’ one of the members shouted. Hoots of laughter followed. ‘Laughter is the best medicine said the chaplain with tears streaming down her face.’ ‘Yes,’ said a member, ‘ Santa’s been a real tonic!’
Written by Bob Rendall, Chairman Faith in Older People