Santa himself has little about him to do with Christmas except that the joy he brings dates back to when most of the residents at Lieberman, Jewish and non-Jewish, were children and/or celebrating the holidays with their children and grand-children.
Next, why shouldn't Lieberman honor those of other religions while retaining the Jewish heritage. And they did that today.
I do have to admit that when I arrived at 10:10, ringing my bell, in full Santa costume and began my "schtick," it was like playing to an audience at a Catskills Resort with the wrong set of jokes and bombing ... yet having to continue performing for an hour.
Being quite old and functioning at a lower level than many assisted living facilities, the energy and volume of Christmas Carole singing was fairly low. Friends Jan and Cheryl and God Son Isaac helped bring up the pace and level of participation.
After my opening comments, I spent time with each resident: holding their hand, asking questions, smiling, clowning around. People enjoyed my antics and posed for photos that were taken by Jan.
Several of the residents knew me from the Sunday Entertainments and gave kisses. At the end of the show everyone received a bag of silver coin chocolate. One resident prior to my passing them out was brazen enough to ask, "Did you bring gifts?"
Besides cheering up approximately 12 residents and 6 or 8 helpers, many of the staff wanted to take a photo with Santa to send it to their children, nieces, or nephews.
Three highlights: two positive, one negative, in all wonderful!
A fairly old and fairly ill black woman was in bed, unable to come to the party. Her helper asked me to come into the room to greet her. Frail, thin, bent over. Yet so excited that Santa had come to visit that she could barely contain herself, repeating, "Santa, Santa, Santa." I kneeled down next to her bed so we could pose for a photo and I asked her, "Have you been a good girl?" Her reply was, "Yes I have been very good so far this morning!"
One woman took my hand sincerely and said, "Bless you Father Christmas!" Wow!
The son of one resident, himself quite old, asked me if I was Jewish. I told him I was. In an aggravated tone he asked me why was I doing this then since Lieberman is a Jewish place. I told him it was for those people at Lieberman who were not Jewish. He replied that 90% of the residents are Jewish. I finished by saying, "Then I did it for those 10% who are not and who are entitled to celebrate their religion!" He looked away with disgust.