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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 24, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta The LetKbtidge Herald Second Section Lethbrldge, Alberta, Tuesday, December 24, 1974 Pages 15-28 Santa's 6Ho-ho-hos' suspiciously soprano T'was a few days before Christmas and the Santa Claus at Centre Village Mall was a somewhat peculiar looking chap He wasn't wearing regulation black buckle boots, his red velvet suit was miles too big in the shoulders and his eyebrows were sparse brown, not bushy white His moustache and beard jiggled around suspiciously and he tugged at his whiskers a lot Santa was nervous as a cat and blushed steadily, though a heavy coating of rouge on his face disguised that emotion His lop-sided stomach had a way of shifting alarmingly from side to side and he was deathly afraid to stand up, lest his paunch fall down Nose like a cherry, belly like jelly hah To top it all off, instead of a jovial bass he beckoned boys and girls with a meek "C'mere and see spoken in a definite contralto soprano Hardly your usual "joly old elf Secret mission He was me, on a secret undercover mission to determine what three hours in the life of St Nicholas are really like Incidentally, I wanted to see if a female presence beneath the whiskers made any difference to children reciting Christmas longings Despite the fact that I didn't look and sounded even a conventional San- ta, a steady stream of tots trotted across the platform to perch upon my knee and confess their hearts' desires And if inflation has rocked the nation, it certainly hasn't under- minded childish confidence in the resouices of the good old bewhiskered gent Only one petitioner, a little girl with an ob- vious economic bent, acknowledged the spectre at all, asking for "Anything you can afford There were a few unselfish requests "a putter for my daddy" "skates for my dad cause he ain't got any Two sisters chorus of "anything you can find' was obviously a scheme to cover all eventualities and not appear overly fussy One young Miss of eight was not at all im pressed and tartly informed me that she'd "already talked to Santa at school this mor ning" and therefore "had nothing more to say She apparently did not suffer fools, repeats or dubious looking Santas gladly There were a number of youngsters for whom contemplation of the array of gadgets, toys and games was just too much After an Two Young cynics aged about 12 stood behind my chair tor 15 minutes and repeatedly asked each other, "I wonder where Mr. Santa Is agonizingly long silence, during which he stared penetratingly at my left eyebrow, one 10 year old blushingly admitted he didn't know dunno" were his exact words) what he wanted and beat a hasty reatreat Ralph a dark haired boy of 10, had the op- posite problem He confessed to a state relatively rare in the annals in youth He had, he said, just about everything he needed and really didn't want anything He'd only come along under duress because his mother wanted a picture of himself and his three siblings, posing with Santa "Inflation, seemed to be the attitude of a few knee sitters who threw all restraint to the winds and asked for German Shepherd puppies, 110-speed bicycles, real live ponies and stereos By Lynne Van Luven Herald Family Editor Strangely enough, not one of the children commented on my falsetto voice or strange shape unless you count those infants who screamed piercingly when they glimpsed my woolly face My matronly assurances failed to soothe them They all squirmed vigorously while presenting a contorted, tear streaked face to the camera However, my sex did not go totally un noticed two young cynics aged about 12 stood behind my chair for. 15 minutes and repeatedly asked each other, "I wonder where Mr Santa is today9" followed by snickers and whispers Santa (being a trifle hard of hearing) stayed coo! Hedging their bets Still, I couldn't help but wonder did those children those under six especially real- ly believe I was Santa, or had they taken a page from an adult primer' Were they pretending to 'believe', hedging their bets, just in case I had some connection with the real St Nick9 Did passers-by stare at me? Mercifully, without my glasses on, I was spared that awareness I have myopia of magnificent proportions There's comforting anonymity in not being able to see more than 12 inches before your face I am pleased to report only one child resorted to pulling my beard, although many of them became entagled in it while thrashing about or clambering off my kneecaps One last word to the wise If you're thinking of buying stock in a toy company, pick the manufacturers of GI Joe, Jungle Jim and Pedal Pretty I have it on the best authority everybody who's anybody and stands under four feet tall wants them A brace of child consumers can't be wrong WALTER KERBER photo SANTA TALKS TO STEVEN HEALY, 3, LEFT, AND BROTHER DANNY, 6. Here's to the veterans of Santa-hood I feel like Scrooge in triplicate, but I'm going to do it anyway I'm going to strip away all that glamor surrounding dear old St Nick Beneath that jovial, jiggling exterior is a sweaty, squirming individual who can't wait to get out of that blasted velvet suit At least, during my three hours of Santa-hood there was But the heat rash suffered within the costume is nothing compared to the trauma of the beard and moustache It's the whiskers, you see, they keep straying into your mouth And how would it look if Santa spit between ho- bo's' Then there your shoulders they ache Lifting onto your lap all those small bodies clad in mufflers, mittens and snow suits is tiring After a while your knees feel numb Your mouth get dry Is it acceptable for Santa to carry a hip flask9 For lemonade, of course If the traffic in tots is especially heavy, you may begin to see double from exploding flashbulbs, as you're captured on immortal celuloid Visions of freckled, pug-nosed countenances dance in your head You probably will be overpowered by the scent of vanilla, breathed upon you moistly by kiddies who've just downed a sticky sweet ice cream cone Hence, if you're an imposter, a dilet- tante on the Santa-throne of life, as I was, you step down from the red and green dias with relif, but an altered human being You have renewed faith for the boundless trust of small children And have nothing but respect for genuinely jolly fellows like Mas Kurze of 334 12th St B N who has been enacting in earnest the role of Santa Claus at com- munuy functions for ihe i5 years "Lost 10 pounds last recalls Mr Kurze cheerfully And I ho-ho it up quite a bit, so by Christmas, I'd completely lost my voice Sounded squeaky, just like a youngster myself He knows there's no glamour, but he wouldn't give up that red suit for all the elves in toyland he's having too good a time By MICHAEL ROGERS Herald Staff Writer Inflation tired of hearing about it9 There is good news at local grocery store this year Your Christmas dinner with all the trimmings should be cheaper this year by maybe 57 cents That's not an awful lot, but possibly enough to put a few more smiles around the dinner table tomorrow Christmas dinner should cost you less this year The Herald put together a good spread Your beverages, pounds, with stuffing, 1 llff ci rt 4imt sirtl tin na Vvo nviwQ OT'Qrtliarr'ir o me? _ .._ __ _ __ ___ ___ ___. ___.__ The Herald put together a list of food stuffs for a typical Christmas dinner for four priced the ingredients as or Dec 19 and compared them with prices advertised on Dec 1973 In 1973, if you shopped around for your festive fare, the total bill would have come to about 78 This year the total would be about 44 Those two figures cover what could be called a pretty good spread Your beverages, possibly wine, would be extra The 1974 dinner and the 1973 dinner include the same ingredients, from vegetable plate to main course and dessert The vegetable plate consists of carrot sticks, celery, dill pickles and olives Of course, there is also a bowl of mixed nuts The mam course includes, naturally a turkey, 22 pounds, with stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, corn, peas, potatoes, set salad and dinner Tolls The dessert includes ice cream and mincemeat pie, and mandarin oranges The Herald checked prices advertised in six Lethbrldge stores and found prices up this year on at least 11 of the 16 items, prices were down on three and two items with the same price VEGETABLE PLATE 1974 1973 3 Ibs fresh carrots 65 .65 1 Ib celery stalks 19 .19 48 oz. jar of dills 1 23 .99 12 oz jar of olives .89 .79 1 Ib mixed nuts 79 1.45 MAIN COURSE 22 Ib turkey 1496 1738 Bread stuffing 102 .85 14 oz of cranberry sauce 58 37 2 Ibs of yams 2 12 oz tins corn 3 14 oz tins peas 15 Ibs potatoes 12 dinner rolls 2 6 oz packs of gelatine DESSERT 6 pints ice cream 24 oz mincemeat Total 46 79 100 1 19 59 1 73 99 49 59 75 103 45 50 139 65 ;