Sad Trombone Santa –
While unpacking my 7,000 boxes of Christmas things, I came across this photo of my sons Keith (6) and Adam (4), dated 1978, with The Man in Red…
The traditional, time-honored, classic and customary photo with Santa.
You know the ones.
The wonderful, wintry, folksy and funny keepsakes of Christmas and childhood itself.
And baseline torture.
Trying to get the kids to stop crying. Squirming. Wiggling. Jiggling all over Santa’s-helper costume like the “bowl full of belly” on real Santa.
Hoping to get that treasured “Dreaming of a White Christmas” tradition put to bed like visions of sugarplums dancing – for just one more year.
Sing-songing to your kids from the sidelines, “SMILE!”
While 100 other parents wait in line, ready to perform the same ritual, to sing out the same word – “SMILE!”
But what about the Sad Trombone Santa who’s dreaming of babes in bikinis in Bermuda, not white Christmases. The “when is my shift over?” kind of Santa.
Like our guy here.
Is that “594179” at the bottom of the photo a county jail identification number, or the number of kids who sat on his lap that day?
Sad trombone Santa.
This is the ultimate challenge for parents.
Do we break into I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus or go full-on Eartha Kitt Santa Baby to hurry this guy down our chimney?
“I really do believe in you/Let’s see if you believe in me,” rolling from our lips like sweet candy kisses?
“I’ll wait up for you, Santa cutie,” breathless, pepperminty Marilyn Monroe-ish?
“Santa Baby, come and trim my Christmas tree,” ah, ah, ho, ho, ho, walla, walla, bing bang.
“And Santa, Baby, I forgot to mention one little thing”… PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FRICKIN’ FACE FOR MY KIDS BEFORE I TAKE ONE OF THOSE DEAD WHITE TWIG PROPS BEHIND YOU AND TRIM WHERE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE DON’T SHINE. AND DITCH THAT SAD TROMBONE AND START JINGLING YOUR BELLS.
But truth be told, vintage photos with Santa are like great Christmas stories that may otherwise never be remembered.
They get better and better with time.
38 years for this particular one.
Priceless, ageless treasures.