As a kid I used to ponder the logistics of Santa’s task. One man and over 6 billion people to deliver to all over the planet. How did he manage to get all around the world in one night? During my following years as a nurse I also used to listen to many people review their lives. Watching “A Christmas Carol” brought on a particularly contemplative mood for me this year and I decided to review my past, present and future around London on my own Christmas Carol.
I was always told that Santa was magic and that anything was possible for him. With so many chimneys, mince pies and various drinks to consume it is no wonder that his Body Mass Index is on the high side. He consumes more calories in one night than most people do in a lifetime. On Christmas Eve I decided to dress up as Santa again and make a few people smile around London. So, I called a couple of like-minded friends, Nicholas and Hitesh, and off we went with a free hugs sign and a few smiles.
Eighteen years ago I left my job in the city – an experience that saw fun and happiness drain from my life. I worked in a monotonous job in the documentary credits department of a Japanese Merchant bank. We decided to walk through the city at the beginning of our walk. This would be our walk into Christmas past. Our Christmas Carol had begun.
As we handed out our first hugs of the day in the city we were approached by a very stern security guard. He informed us that we had no permission to dress up and would have to leave the premises. We did almost manage to make him smile as we offered him a hug, though he did warn us that he may not respond too nicely if we did. We smiled and walked on through the streets of the city, with most people ignoring us. However, there were several who managed a smile and a group of tourists who did call us across the road to claim some free hugs. For me it was a reminder of how soul-less I felt in my city-job years.
We then ventured towards Bond Street and a livelier atmosphere. Here we were stopped more frequently as people queued for hugs and photos. This represented our walk of Christmas present. It felt good and we had a lot of fun in the process. During just a few hours we were stopped and hugged by people from all over the world.
People from Scotland, Ireland and Wales stopped, as did those from France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Russia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. Others stopped from China, Taiwan, Thailand, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Pakistan. Representatives hugged us from Mexico, USA, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, The Soloman Islands, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria and Mauritius.
We truly experienced the magic of connecting with people all over the world in one night. As we walked through the streets of London we sang songs, hugged people, had children run up to hug us and spread the magic of Christmas to us. We were given free chocolate by a homeless guy, free mince pies from a lady in a restaurant, offered a free ride by a chap on a bike-taxi and given a free gift by one lady. The feeling of connecting with people from all over the world is my walk of Christmas future.
Nothing beats the feeling of smiling, feeling good, singing and making people laugh. I managed to miss the last train home to St Albans. Normally, this would be a semi-traumatic experience, but not as Santa. Tubes were still running on the Northern line, so I went to High Barnet instead. On the way I was stopped and asked for more photos and I had a sing-a-long with a group of high-spirited friends returning home.
As it turned midnight I found a social gathering of friends in Barnet, who I hadn’t seen for a while. I spent the next few hours with good friends, feeling great and was given a place to stay for the night.
On Christmas morning I was picked up by my sister and taken off for a great day with my family. I am feeling very grateful for being alive today.
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