Every neighborhood has a Clark W. Griswold. Just down the block and off in a cul-de-sac within walking distance of my house lives ours. I don’t know his name or really anything about him, but after dark you can’t help but see his house.

Santa’s HouseFrom the individual circles of snowflakes across his roof to the cartoon slide show of images projected on his garage door to the automated deer bending to sip water out of a blue pond, the amount of forethought and work that goes into his annual decoration is just staggering. You need sunglasses at night to take it all in, but it is certainly a welcome visual distraction for our little neck of the woods.

On Saturday night, my wife, son and I were driving home from her parent’s house when Grant, who is two and a half, said, “Daddy, can we go see the big house with the lights?” I’m certainly not one to deny the boy such a simple request during the week of Christmas.

As we pulled into the cul-de-sac, I noticed a car parked in front of the house of lights. The family had gotten out to see the lights up close. Then, as I pulled up next to their car, I realized they had gotten out to visit with a man standing in front of the house. Maybe the owner was out in the yard and they wanted to talk to him.

“IT’S SANTA CLAUS!” Grant yelled from the back seat.

Grant and SantaSure enough, Mr. Electric Bill stood, red suit, white beard, velvet sack and all, at the edge of his hard dressed as Santa. He reached into his sack and gave out candy canes to the children who stopped to look at the lights.

We chatted for a few minutes, expressed our appreciation for his display and kindness, snapped a picture of Grant with Santa and headed home. When we got in the car my wife said, “Now that’s the Christmas spirit.”

Agreed.

Sunday night on the same return trip from the in-law’s Grant asked to go see the lights again. He wanted to see if Santa was there. He was. It was 20 degrees with a biting wind. He waived and strolled over to the edge of the lawn to hand Grant another candy cane. If the guy doesn’t have pneumonia at the end of the week, I’ll be shocked.

So, let’s review the circumstances:

  • He doesn’t appear to have children of his own and I would surmise he’s not old enough to have grandchildren.
  • He painstakingly installs thousands of strands of light all over his property which, by my amateur estimation, takes a minimum of the entire month of November to pull off with such intricate detail.
  • He either bought or rents a Santa suit and forks over a couple hundred bucks each year for candy canes.
  • My guess is that his electric bill for the month of December will be approximately $45,678.43.
  • And he stands out in the cold, even if just for a few nights, to put a smile on the faces of passersby, earning literally nothing in return but the warm and fuzzies.

You can spend a lifetime searching for the true meaning of Christmas. Look in a church, go to Jerusalem, trek to the North Pole or browse through every shelf and corner of the big department store on 34th Street. All the searching may be a waste, though. Sometimes an example of the true meaning of the season is right around the corner.

[tags]Christmas, Santa Claus, inspiration, holiday spirit[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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