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Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Jimmy Stewart Chistmas!




A week ago tomorrow...I participated in one of the rewarding things I have done so far in my life. When the family first asked me to be Santa...I thought I would show up...do my thing and be on my way. Things were so hectic around the holidays that I didn't give it much thought other than review the information she had given me about the children and read through the Christmas story that I was going to present to the children.

Once I was at the door, ringing the sleigh bells and seeing the children looking through the window...we were all transported back to an earlier time when we were those children and for a few brief moments...the children along with the adults and myself were kids again.

I had forgotten the look in a child's eye transfixed on Santa Claus. The best way I can describe the day is that it truly was a Jimmy Stewart Christmas...a Christmas of the 50's when Christmas morning was the most important event of the year. This family will never know that while they thought that Santa had visited them...they allowed me to revisit the Christmases of my youth again and I am forever in their debt. If any of the family members are reading this on my blog...thank you so much for the honor of sharing a small part of your Christmas with me. You did more for me than I could ever do for you. I am sure you are so proud of your children and your grandchildren. And it was a perfect way to wrap up the holiday morning by placing baby Jesus in the crib bringing the whole Christmas story full circle. You are a family...truly blessed.

Dan

36 comments:

Sunny said...

Dan, these pictures are priceless. What an extraordinary experience for you and what a awesome Santa you are! May the joy of that moment be with you always.
Happy New Year to you and your family.
Sunny :)

Indrayani said...

This made me smile..
i loved the part when you said how you felt when you notices the look in the children's eyes.. :)

Rebecca said...

That last photo looks like a Rockwell painting! How wonderful, glad things went well for all.

Heather said...

Oh, Dan! You make a wonderful Santa!! It looks like you had a fantastic time, and I know those kids will always remember the way it felt to sit around with Santa What a terrific Christmas tradition for that family!!

Happy New Year to you and yours... I hope 2010 brings nothing but wonderful things for you :)

De Lly Dilettante said...

Beautiful!!! You really are a Santa...and how those kids love you.

By the way, Have a Great New Year!

jblack designs said...

What a wonderful gift, Dan--for you and now for us, lucky enough to share.

In fact, thank you for all of your sharing--more than just eye candy--your wood and pixels stir the thoughts and engage the soul.

You are appreciated.

Jennifer

Dan Felstead said...

Sunny..thanks for stopping back after my break! I had fears that everyone would just "disappear" if I didn't post new pictures for a few days!

The Santa thingy was truly a treat. I also wore the suit when I picked up my 85 year old Father for Christmas. People were waving at me as I drove down the street...it was fun!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Indrayani...welcome back and thanks for stopping by! thank you for the kind words and yes the children were the best part.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Rebecca...Happy New Year! Thanks for the kind words.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Alabama Heather! Thank you and Happy New Year to you and yours as well. I am thoroughly enjoying my Kendal. The Santa thing was a real trip!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Lly...the children were Santa to me a well. They didn't realize it but their gift to me was my best Christmas present.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Jennifer thank you so much for the kind words and I hope you have a wonderful New Year. I look forward to visiting your blog in 2010.

Dan

eknapp said...

Dear Santa,
There are only a few precious moments when life long memories are made. Christmas morning at our house was just one of those magical moments. I can't begin to tell you how much joy you brought to those eleven grandchildren, their parents and grandparents. I only wish you could have spent the rest of the week with us to absorb the excitement of the season. You were indeed "Santa".
I'm sure our kids will be sending you a small sample of the thousands of photos that were taken that morning.
We wish for you and your loved ones, the most happy and healthy new year.
By the way, you and your wife owe us a visit before the decorations are stored for another year.
Ed

...... Bobbi said...

I LOVE what you did with the last picture - it could be on a Christmas card! You made a great Father Christmas!

Happy New Year, Dan!

Simply Heather said...

Just look at you, Dan...I am smiling, my heart is jumping and warm with appreciation. You are a precious, perfectly made, Santa in these photos. What a blessing, for both you and the children. And to the parents, I'm sure that they appreciated you so very much.

This won my attention a hundred times over, Dan. I loved this post and the truth of it all happening.

Wonderful!

Happy, blessed and most amazing New Year of all to you and Karen.

Monica Manning said...

I was choked up reading that. The wonder that children have and their unfailing belief in magic is so precious. You did a wonderful thing, keeping the magic alive for those children, but you also reminded the adults to believe. God bless you, Dan.

Valerie said...

My goodness, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your Santa photographs. Thank you for sharing. They are all wonderful.
I popped in today to wish you a Happy New Year. May your personal sun shine brightly throughout the coming months.

DawnTreader said...

Ho ho ho... ♥ ;)
Wonderful Christmas pictures, Dan! Really looks like they were taken from a holiday movie...!

Dan Felstead said...

Ed! Thanks for the comment! You all really do Christmas right! It was a true treat for me to be a part of your Christmas early that morning and here is hoping that you and your family have a very Happy and Successful New Year.
I am looking forward to seeing some of the pictures.

Santa will be delivering his suit today or tomorrow...Santa will call first!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Bobbi thank you and I hope you have a very Happy New Year with no major fires in the upcoming year!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Heather...thank you so much...the same goes from us to you and your family...Have a very Good New Year!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Monica..that is the lesson I learned this Christmas...you described it very well...reasons to still believe!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Valerie...same to you and your family in the new year...

Have a Happy New Year!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader thanks for the comment and I hope you have a very Happy New Year in Sweden!

Dan

A Scattering said...

Thank you for taking me back to memories of Christmas past. You look marvellous (to quote Billy Crystal).

septembermom said...

You're a terrific Santa Claus! Will you come visit my house next year ?:) My kids would love you!!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Anonymous said...

Dan-
What a gift! As a child, we always had a Santa come to the house, but never was he as "jolly" and wonderful as you! Thank you for bringing such a precious family tradition back to Knapp house. I feel so blessed that my children get to experience a Christmas morning even more magical than my childhood Christmas mornings (which were hard to top)! Thank you for sharing your holidays with us and for always capturing my parent's house so beautifully in photos! Blessings to you in 2010!
- Alexandra Rodman (Knapp kid #3, mommy of Charlie and Adley...both on the nice list!)

Anonymous said...

One more thing, Dan...
Here is the link to some snapfish photos we took....

http://www1.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=3055933007/a=3831295_30914902/

If this doesn't work, let me know your email address and I will email you the link.
-Alex Rodman

Cynthia L. H. said...

Dan, you have that special "twinkle" in your eye, and it is reflected by the enraptured gazes of the children.
What a wondrous experience!!!!
;^)
Not just anyone could have stepped into the role so convincingly...I'm sure they saw that certain "something" in you that we see every day, an unbounded generosity and joy of spirit, captured in the reflection of your photos...your life.
;^)

Dan Felstead said...

Scattering thank you so much...I thoroughly enjoyed the role!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Alex! Thanks for jumping on board and the nice comment! Yes Charlie and Adley were definitely on the nice list!!

I visited your pictures and they are phenomenal...I truly love the pictures of the kids looking for Santa out of the upstairs bedroom window by the candle light...greeting card perfect images!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Cynthia...anyone could have played the role after seeing the look in the children's eyes! They were the catalyst for making it a truly believable event!

Dan

Anonymous said...

Dear Santa,

We all agreed that you were the best Santa we've ever had at the Knapp House! It's hard to match the magic of Christmas that my Mom and Dad create year after year but your jolly spirit and wonderful laugh was the perfect addition to the magical spirit that already exists. You are an amazing story teller and have the best Santa "ho ho" laugh I have ever heard.

I was devastated when our Santa died a few years back because I always wanted my husband and children to experience the Christmas mornings that I had. Your presence was such a gift.

And one of my personal favorite parts of the morning was the story of Jesus. We all tend to forget the real reason for the festivities and you made Jesus exciting and sweet for the kids.

And thank you, finally, for putting a big smile on Mom and Dad's face. They certainly deserve it!

We will remember you forever.

With Gratitude,
Anthea Knapp Turner

Dan Felstead said...

Madame Mayor! Good morning and thank you so much for the kind words. It was a great experience for me as well and over the holidays as I got to know your parents...I have to say that they are 2 of the nicest people I have ever met...you all are truly blessed with a wonderful family...a phenomenon that seems to be on the endangered species list in the 21st century.

Happy New Year to your family and hopefully Santa will see you at the Knapp house the next Christmas that everyone gets together. You know we mayors have to stick together!

Dan

Randi said...

Santa,
Another "thank you!!!" from another Knapp girl. I have a longer note that will follow but wanted to ditto my families' remarks. We dearly missed our sweet Santa year before last - Christmas felt different. We had grown up with him, waking up to him every magical Christmas. He and my parents always made it so special. Sir, you filled his shoes in the most beautiful way, a way Santa himself would be proud.

A million thank you's to you and to your family for spending such cherished time with us on Christmas morning.

As I mentioned, a longer note follows later - off to pick up kids!

With love, Miranda
(Knapp kid #2; mommy of Remy & Millie)

a more proper thank you & will send that as well this evening. Wanted to

Dan Felstead said...

Miranda...thank you for the comment...I appreciate the kind words and like I said in the post...you all did as much for me as I could ever have done for you. I visited your blog but it looked like you had not posted on it since March of '09 so I didn't leave a comment. Thanks again for stopping by and visit anytime you get the chance. If I remember right...I think you and I have a lot in common with photography!

Dan