I spent part of my time in the US Army Veterinary Corps stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. While I was stationed there, one of my best friends from veterinary school was stationed at Brooks Air Force Base, which is also in San Antonio. Christmas time was approaching and Shawn asked me if I would like to volunteer with her; her husband,Yves; and her daughter, Jessi to deliver Christmas presents as part of a big charity event that occurs in San Antonio every year. I told her that it sounded like fun and to count me in.
The day arrived for us to go deliver the presents. It was December; and it was unseasonably warm. If I remember correctly, it was in the 80's. As we are pulling into the warehouse where we were supposed to pick up the presents, my friend says to me, "Oh, by the way, you are going to have to dress up like Santa Claus."
I am about 5 feet tall, red-headed, and female. So, naturally, I just laughed at her.
She said, "Seriously, they require the person handing out the presents to dress and act like Santa Claus. Yves can't do it, because no one will understand him and I'm going to be your helper. I'm going to have to dress like an elf." Her husband, Yves, was a French Canadian and had a very heavy accent.
"I'm going to make a ridiculous looking Santa Claus," I grumbled. Knowing that she had me cornered. I also knew that she had waited until we were there, because she knew that I would have backed out, if I had known in advance.
I was still hoping that she was pulling my leg, when we walked into the warehouse. We were greeted by someone who asked, "Who is going to be Santa?" Shawn, Yves, and Jessi all pointed at me.
I was hustled off into a back area, where I was promptly turned into one of the most unconvincing Santas of all time. They put me in the red suit, a hat, black boots, a pillow for the belly, and the beard. Then, they proceeded to paint my cheeks rosy and my eyebrows grey. My only consolation was that at least Shawn was having to put on the elf suit.
When I walked out of the dressing area, Shawn, Yves, and Jessi all busted out laughing. "Where's your elf suit?" I asked.
"Sorry, I lied," laughed Shawn. "You're the only one that has to dress up."
They sent us into a primarily hispanic neighborhood. Most of the kids could speak English, but many of the parents could not. The kids didn't know whether or not to call me "Mrs. Claus" or "Santa". I could tell that the parents were torn between hilarity at how I looked and thanfulness for delivering the presents.
The suit was excrutiatinly hot; I was totally embarassed; but I had a wonderful time. I will never forget the Christmas I was "Duped Into Playing Santa."