{Big Girl Panties} On Seeing Santa At A Funeral

Everyone in my area knows that the REAL Santa can only be found at the Yankee Candle Flagship store, where he works all year. Except for his days off. Then Mrs. Claus flies in, of course.

I’ve taken Malone to see him on numerous occasions. In the summer months Santa spends his time sitting in his workshop, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and folding origami. As it moves closer to fall, he changes into a lumberjack type outfit complete with suspenders. And for winter, well you know he wears his dress suit! And in case you’re wondering, Santa’s workshop is filled with toys…that you can buy. Yankee Candle is no fool.

See.. here is sweet baby Malone and Santa circa 2009.


So, fast forward to last Friday morning. I and several of my friends are sitting in a funeral, listening to and honoring the wonderful legacy our friend Eric’s dad left. The man in the front row of the choir behind the pastor looks very familiar to me, but I can’t put my thumb on it.

Somewhere between “Amazing Grace” and “I Did It My Way”, it dawns on me. THAT is the REAL Santa. And he’s AT my friend’s dad’s funeral.  A Celebrity sighting!

What happened next is something I am quite ashamed of. I basically PUNCHED the person I was sitting next and yell whispered (yeah, like YOU’VE never done that before.. don’t even try to say haven’t), “Oh my goodness! Look! That guy in the choir it is SANTA!!!!!!!!!!!! THE REAL  YANKEE CANDLE SANTA IS HERE!!!”

Because, obviously I’m six years old when it comes to Santa sightings.

And then I reached for my phone. To take a picture of Santa at a funeral. Because, of course it would have been the most epic of all epic Instagrams. I would have been Twitter Famous.

Then I took a really deep breath, put phone away, and remembered.


Not only that, I was there to support my friend who had just lost his dad. This wasn’t a wedding I crashed, I came here on purpose. I rearranged my day because I wanted to be near my friend. To sit in silence. To mourn with him. To give him a hug and tell him I know just how hard it is to lose a parent.

And then I felt like a huge oversharing jerk. I know I DIDN’T do it. But I thought about doing it, which is basically kind of the same.

Santa Big Girl Panties

I spent my drive home reflecting on what social media means to me and what is okay and what isn’t.

I realized that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are stealing too much of my time. Time that I never seem to have enough of to WIN against my to do list. Time that I could be using to play or read with Malone instead of reading the SAME status update I read from a friend when I looked at Facebook an hour ago.

I went to bed that night with new limits for myself and social media. Both how much I consume and how much I put out. I am working towards finding a balance in all of it.

Disclaimer- I spoke to my friend about this before writing this post to make sure he was okay with it. He said yes, and that Santa has been going to his church since he was a little boy. Also, I know that this person has a real life and a real name, but I don’t know it. So Santa it is. 

Do you struggle with your social media consumption? If you saw Santa in an unusual place, would you try to capture a picture too?  Let me know in the comments below.

This post is part of a 31 day series about Big Girl Panties. Click here to read the rest of the series. 


23 Responses to {Big Girl Panties} On Seeing Santa At A Funeral

  1. I’ve had to remind myself at various times that not everything is something that needs to be shared on social media.
    Shell recently posted..Whatever You Need to Believe to Be Able to Sleep at Night: Pour Your Heart OutMy Profile

  2. Social media is an all-consuming beast. I’m more caught up in the whole arm-punching thing..quick thinking at its’ finest!
    Sarah Knepper recently posted..31Days {Proving That I Can} Hearing God’s VoiceMy Profile

  3. I’m not the biggest on “instant” messaging my life. I always tend to post things after the fact. I would have not been able to stop my elbow to side knudging when I realized SANTA is up in the choir. I think Santa is even more awesome when you see him outside of when you most expect it. :)
    great post.
    stopping in from PYHO

    • What is it about seeing Santa outside of his normal workzone? It feels like some sort of holy grail experience or something! I wish that I wasn’t an “instant” message social media person, but I live 1000 miles away from my family and childhood friends. My grandmother specifically got on facebook to keep up with us so I feel an obligation to over share my life. Thanks for the visit! I <3 PHYO.

  4. I think I’ve thought “this’d make a great picture…” I usually snap. I’m terrible, though, when it comes to sharing.
    No harm in wanting that magic at moment when clearly, you and all there, are uncomfortable and sad.
    Rachelle recently posted..Need Anything, Mom?My Profile

  5. I don’t Instagram–shocking I know! But I’ve found myself wasting too much time on social media and online. Sometimes I have to take a step back & remember that balance is key.
    Robbie recently posted..One minuteMy Profile

    • I actually kind of love Instagram the best at this exact second. I think, because I’m able to connect with some people on a bigger level than twitter (no character count) and facebook (no weird metric where I only see 1/4 of their posts). I know zero about G+ but hope to learn it more in November (I’m at max capacity right now..). I have since become much more intentional with my social media time. And it seems to be working really well for me.

  6. Girl – you crack me up! (I so would have thought of snapping an Instagram shot… I am hoping I would have rethought it like you… hoping…)

    Yes – limits and boundaries are good things… (but they all sort of fly out the window when it comes to Santa, right? I mean – isn’t that like a thing? Like – you know – everyone knows…?)

    Still… you made the better choice!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted..Encounters God in Parenthood – Pt 2My Profile

  7. christie elkins

    One time we were at a funeral, up front in the receiving line, when a friend from high school came into the back of the building. Husband grabbed my arm and “yell-hissed” Look! There’s (insert name here). HE IS HUUUUGEE!

    We talk about that all the time. And to be honest, it was really funny and lightened the mood of at least the first 5 pews who heard him ;)
    christie elkins recently posted..31 Days of Encouragement Unexpected, Day 9: doing a little trash talk.My Profile

  8. Maureen@Scoops of Joy

    What a great post, I so love your sense of humor!
    I would probably take several pictures but I might hesitate to share if it’s not appropriate like you wrote here.
    Maureen@Scoops of Joy recently posted..Why Second Chance Can Be The Best Thing EverMy Profile

    • Oh Maureen thank you so much for your kind words. I really did want to snap a photograph. Now instead I’m on a Santa hunting mission. Maybe I’ll see him at the supermarket or pumping gas! Then…. WATCH OUT.

  9. oh Lordy! I think I would have reacted like a 6 year old to seeing Santa at a funeral too!! I am trying to find the balance between real life and social media because let’s be honest social media is a far cry from real life. I have even contemplated giving up my smart phone for an old school flip phone just to relieve the pressure and temptation of always needing to be connected.
    anneliese recently posted..slowing downMy Profile

  10. The Dose of Reality

    I am *so* impressed at the restraint you showed. I mean THE SANTA was RIGHT THERE. Even if I didn’t put it on Twitter (which I totally would have) I would *need* that photo because you don’t just see a celebrity of that stature out in the wild every day!! You are a better woman than I! (And a good, good friend) Oh, I’d totally be switching churches too because….SANTA!!!! –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #281: The Therapeutic Fire FacialMy Profile

  11. Rabia @TheLiebers

    I have had that inclination to snap a picture at an inappropriate time as well. It’s a good reminder that the real life in front of us is more important than the virtual life we interact with. Good for you for not taking that pictures!
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..Five Minute Friday: OrdinaryMy Profile

    • Rabia, I’m so glad to hear that I”m not the only one who has wanted to snap a photo at the “wrong” time. It makes me real a little bit more normal about things. And you’re right, real life is WAY more important than my virtual life (although there are some times where both are colliding a bit!)

  12. I think we as a society share too much on social media. Sometimes we just need to be more aware of not only what, but as you pointed out when we are sharing. Great post NJ…I think it will make us all think a little more about this! Glad you linked it up with LOBS!
    Michelle recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with Jodi from The Noise of BoysMy Profile

    • You’re right, Michelle. I think hiding behind a screen makes it really easy to over share. There is a time and a place for everything!

  13. I’m really glad you didn’t take the photo, but it’s a funny story :) And that is a super cool Santa!
    Nicole recently posted..Let’s Get Real #8My Profile

    • It is a story to tell, that is for sure! My friend (that I was there to support) read this over the weekend and told me the real Santa is also super cool in real life.

  14. That TOTALLY is the real Santa. Obviously. Glad you rethought your social media moment there. Balance is such an important thing to have and would’ve made a great Instagram but yes, not funeral appropriate.

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