santa1  santa2

Tamara signed us up for the family Christmas party. There are two dozen foreign families in Gwangju, it’s nice to mingle with them.

Christmas is not a big holiday in Korea; it is not overtly/obviously Christmas as it is back home. There aren’t city decorations, and no holiday cheer.

The Christmas meal was horrible. Too much Asian food, ONE kind of wine, a Merlot; no white wine. ONE kind of beer, the local brew; no Heineken, Becks or Guinness. The only thing I ate from the vast buffet was a “hot dog”; a sausage in a “bun” (bread roll).  I had two and a beer, which was nice. Tamara enjoyed a variety of dishes and Kyz had a burger and a Coke (a rare treat for him). Oh, and no dessert. None. Jeeez.

But we were all here for our kids. Parents brought gifts for Santa to give to their kids. Tamara special ordered Richard Scarry’s “What do People do all Day?”. We love Richard Scarry’s books. Kyz loves the “Busy Town” cartoons. This is good stuff for kids. Kaiser was the only kid who got a book, all the other boys got action toys, but he didn’t mind. Although he did notice that the boy next to him got a toy jeep and trailer; Kyz liked that too(!). He doesn’t know that I already got him one for Christmas. Santa Daddy knows.

Tamara and I never really talked about if we would let Kyz believe in Santa. But he does now, a little. He seemed a bit nervous that all the other kids were getting gifts and meeting Santa. He was the last kid to be called up to meet the Big Man. He was so surprised that Santa knew his name and had a gift for him. The look on his face, a big smile and the pure light of joy, made the whole crowd say “Aww, how cute!” as Kaiser walked up to Santa.

Santa 2012 (47)

I was glad that Kaiser didn’t bow to Santa, as is the custom here. Kaiser knows to bow to elderly people and give a polite greeting. Very important. (Very.) All the other kids bowed, but Kyz just walked up and looked him in the eye, received his gift, and walked excitedly back to Mom.

It’s hard to see in the picture, but Kyz is wearing his bow tie. He wanted to wear it with his dress shoes. He wore the tie and shoes at Uncle Wes’ wedding last June.

I gotta say that whoever played Santa did a great job. I love adults who aren’t afraid to look (completely) ridiculous just to make a few kids smile. And giggle.

Our Santa is British. He teased all the kids, hugged them and called their names. He pretended like he couldn’t find the gifts, tried to give girl-gifts to boys, and that he knew who was naughty and nice. He determined each child had been good all year and will get a few more gifts on Christmas Day.

All the while, the real Santa was in the back ground watching her little boy beam with joy. Good job Santa Mom, you filled his heart with genuine love. And it shows.