(Some Christmas humor: ho! ho! ho!)
When someone talks about holidays and costumes, it’s natural to assume they’re talking about Halloween. Few consider that Christmas is really the costume “time of year.” But I’ve had several personal experiences with Christmas costumes. I’ve worn a white sheet and been an angel (a totally different look for me). I’ve also dressed up as Santa’s reindeer (until my antlers slid forward and turned me into Santa’s bull). And then there was the time I attempted holiday glamour. The toy soldier earrings and glittery blouse that shed like a North Pole husky, sort of dampened the effect.
I’ve seen others wear interesting Christmas costumes too. One Christmas, the little country church near our farm staged a children’s nativity. The lead characters were my 3-year-old twin, niece and nephew. They wore bathrobes and scarves tied around their little heads. Tucker played Joseph and Macy was Mary. Baby Jesus was a doll placed in a wooden box with some straw peeking out the edges to simulate a manger.
For a while all went as planned. Up on the stage, Macy and Tucker made a miniature still-life of the holy family. Off to the side, the pastor wearing a cowboy hat (a Christmas costume known only to males living out West) held a mike as he narrated the Christmas story. Everyone in the audience was enchanted until Macy and Tucker got into a fight (twins do that from time to time). After a little shoving, Macy’s budding acting career came to a crying halt.
Somewhere in the narration, maybe the part about the Prince of Peace coming as a babe, Macy, tear-streaked and angry, reached in the box and grabbed baby Jesus by the arm.
Then she walloped Tucker with the holy child, and stomped off the stage, tripping on her too-big bathrobe. Moments later she was in her mother’s arms, a nativity pose of another sort.
Each year though, probably the most ubiquitous Christmas costume is the Santa Claus costume. This is the only outfit I know of guaranteed to look great on plus-size figures. Some would say Santa comes in all sizes and shapes. I’ve seen garden gnomes dressed up as Santa, and dogs dressed up as Santa, and Santas on surfboards in Hawaii. Naturally drawn to costumes and cover-ups, bank robbers make the most ironic Santas. Most are too skinny though. Still, my husband, though not a bank robber but definitely skinny, played Santa Clause for our children one Christmas—and they were completely fooled.
At the time, we lived in a little farm house with a wood stove planted in the center of the kitchen. I’d have preferred a grand home with a fireplace, but at that economic juncture of our young marriage, we were more hillbilly than nobility.
Leading up to Christmas, I’d read to my children Clement Clarke Moore’s The Night Before Christmas several times, so they knew the way Santa’s visit was supposed to go down—and that was literally through the chimney.
Without a fireplace, I told the kids to gather around the wood stove. The narrow pipe leading from the stove through the roof was technically a chimney. I opened the stove door and we all peered into the cold, blackened wood of a dead fire. Then we heard a muffled, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!”
Annie’s eyes grew wide and Aubrey jumped up and down begging, “I want to see Santa! Can we go outside and look on the roof?”
With a lot of coaxing I managed to steer my children toward bed. My best argument was Moore’s poem. Santa couldn’t come until, “The children were nestled all snug in their beds.” Also, I knew my kids would be disappointed to see Santa straddling the peak of the roof wearing Levi’s and a worn-out farm jacket. If there ever was a time where clothes made (or unmade) the man—this was the time.
Image Credit: Diana Hooley’s son Sammy as reindeer Santa
Image Credit: Diana Hooley’s son John, center as sheep at nativity scene
Image Credit: Diana Hooley’s daughter Annie and Son John with cat in front of wood stove