|Surprise: A little boy is presented gifts by Father Christmas. — Photo from the boy's mother's Facebook page
HA NOI (VNS) — Wearing a false beard and a Father Christmas outfit, Duong Thai Son sets off to deliver Christmas gifts for children. While most children imagine Father Christmas riding a sleigh and climbing down chimneys to delivers gifts, this one rides a motorbike and knocks at the front door.
Since December 20, Son and a group of 10 others have been delivering presents to children.
The 20-year-old student from the Ha Noi University of Mining and Geology is new to the job, but other Ha Noi-based students in his group have been playing the role of Father Christmas for several years.
Everything they need is available on Hang Ma Street, from the fake white beard and bags of sweets, snacks and gifts, to the familiar red outfit and fake belly.
Parents and teachers provide the gifts, and then the dedicated team delivers them.
"Most children are amazed to see Father Christmas and receive toys they have dreamed about," said Son.
On December 24, Son received more than 20 orders from parents asking him to visit their children.
"I was flat out. Due to the limited time, I had to move quickly, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," he said
"You could blame it on accidents like getting stuck down a chimney," Son said with a smile.
"I visited one kid without my beard on. I was in such a rush I forgot, so I had to say sorry with the boy standing in front of me, goggling."
It was not the first time Son had beard trouble. When he visits kindergartens, the children rush to have their photos taken with him, touch his belly and stroke his beard, and one naughty kid snatched the fake beard off his face.
"It's a memorable moment, I learned from that. Since then, when I play and talk with the children, I protect my beard."
On a different occasion, a boy discovered that the beard was fake.
"Santa Claus wears a fake beard," he cried aloud. Son was flustered, but he tried to distract the children so they would forget about it.
Not all children are happy to see Father Christmas. According to Son, some of them look frightened and even burst into loud wails when they see a face with nothing but two eyes and a snow-white beard.
Father Christmas doesn't just deliver gifts. Have you ever seen him dance hip-hop? That happened to Duong Hung, another student from Ha Noi, when he visited children at a primary school in Hoan Kiem District.
While he was preparing to sing some Christmas songs with the children, the music suddenly stopped due to a power cut. With the children getting bored and fed-up, quick-thinking Hung started rapping and dancing, much to the children's delight.
He also invited some of the children to join him on stage, and the teachers said they were surprised their students were brave enough to get up there and dance with him.
Other Father Christmas' have also experienced costume failures when their clothes get torn and buttons pop off.
Christmas comes when Son and his friends are off school to prepare for exams, so they have time for the work.
"Playing Father Christmas doesn't affect out studies. On the other hand, the children are still in school, so we have to visit them in the evenings," he said.
For a single young man who lives far from home like Son, playing Father Christmas makes his Christmas more exciting and meaningful.
"I used to out with friends or visit my home in Hai Phong. Now I join the streams of people on the streets on Christmas Eve and enjoy the atmosphere and happiness of making Christmas a special time for children." — VNS