It was probably age 4 or 5 when reality set in that Mommy Kissing Santa Claus was dear old dad and the mall Santa was not a representative from the North Pole but a super patient man who endured hearing present lists and dealing with screaming munchkins. But I will always believe in the Spirit of Christmas. Each season, I look for it everywhere. For those moments when something special happens and true magic from the heart is expressed. It happened early this year during a family photo session in Ybor.
For the past 3 years since I’ve known April, Wes and Kurt we have planned a themed photo session for their family Christmas photo.
Year 2011 -- 8 months
Year 2012 -- 2 Years
And this year, despite me pushing for a Pirate Christmas theme at Fort Desoto (someone has to do it eventually), April’s creative genius led us to Ybor with her boys in fedoras, suspenders and her in a glamorous black gown.
Earlier in the day, Ybor had a Santa Speedo Run where the runners all dress up in their red felt and fuzzy white fur outfits or speedos to benefit the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, an HIV/AIDS organization supporting members in the Tampa Bay area. December 1 is World Aids Day.
As we were finishing up and walking back, Wes requested a photo with the bronze of a man reading a paper. And that’s when the magic happened. Our unassuming Santa Claus strolled by unaware that he was being idolized by a child who has wishes and hopes to share with his hero. He whispered breathlessly in admiration, "SANTA CLAUS" and hearts melted.
This was a moment of a child’s acceptance of a Santa in trunks, with no shirt or big white beard. You can see the look on his face which captures the moment. Our stranger immediately stopped and took on the role. He gave Kurt advice on being nice and as Kurt opened his arms, our Santa offered a hug.
The Spirit of Christmas was alive. You could see it In the eyes of a boy who believed and the heart of a man who allowed himself a moment to be a jolly soul. It was a beautiful moment that brings me to a few tears. Maybe you had to be there to understand the wonder and joy. Maybe you can see it on Kurt's face.
Merry Christmas Ybor Santa where ever you are and THANK YOU for fulfilling the wishes of child who just wanted to connect with his hero. THANK YOU from this photog for an early Christmas present and a memory of a moment that represents the true Spirit of Christmas sharing the gifts of love, acceptance and kindness.