A Home-made Santa Claus
"Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" calls out Santa Claus cheerily as the guests come trooping into the room.
Laughing and joking, his eyes twinkling with fun, Santa Claus names each person as he hands out the gifts from his fat Christmas bag and from the generous pile at his feet. All this merriment happens at Christmastide when you play the part of good "Kris Kringle" in your own home, in the schoolroom, the Sunday-school, or in any place where Christmas is celebrated and where children are gathered to enjoy the festivities.
Take a good long look at Santa Claus, as shown in the picture ; then turn your eyes to the illustration . Can you believe it possible that the two photographs are of the same person in identically the same pose? Such is truly the case. The second gives the woman's back, while the first shows her face, arms, and hands transformed into those of the jolly saint.
You can see at a glance how very easy it will be for you to have a real, live, little Santa Claus for your Christmas.
Any one—grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, big sister or brother, or you yourself—can assume the character of this live little saint, can grow suddenly short of stature, jolly and fat, be arrayed in scarlet, ermine-trimmed, and crowned with a red-peaked hat, all in less time than it takes to tell it; and, stranger still, the transformation may be accomplished in a very comfortable way, without even the bother of changing the usual attire.
It is essential merely to paste on the face tufts of raw cotton for eyebrows, mustache and goatee, and to slip over each arm an extra sleeve. This accomplished, and the proper position taken behind the curtain, lo, "magic change"! There you are as fine a little Santa Claus as any one would care to see, and your best friend would not recognize you, so complete is the change. Disguise your voice and no one can find you out, not even your nearest relative.
Fig. 218—Santa Claus as the spectators see him.
Fig. 219—The real Santa Claus behind the curtain.
When the gifts have been distributed and you are ready to go out among the excited children or family circle again, step from the curtain, pull off the extra sleeves, remove the cotton from your face, and in a moment's time you will again be your own natural self.
When preparing this entertainment you will find the demand on your purse very slight, the principal outlay being for the curtain. Purchase moss-green lining cambric, at four, five, or six cents a yard, to stretch over the doorway you intend to use. Two yards and a quarter cut in one full breadth and one half breadth, when sewed together into a curtain, will be enough for an ordinary doorway. Doorways vary in size, however, and it is best to take the measurements of yours before buying the material. The space between the folding doors will probably call for five yards of cambric. When the strips of cloth are sewed together, stretch the curtain taut over the opening, tacking it at long intervals on the topmost level of the wood-work over the door and on the extreme edge of the door jamb next to the wall. If fastened in this manner, tacks will not injure the wood-work.
Fig. 220—Holes in curtain for face and arms.
Fig. 221—Cap and body of coat pinned on curtain.
Stand on the floor facing the centre of the curtain and mark the place where your face comes; then where your arms will most easily pass through the curtain. Cut holes in the cloth, one for your face with chin entirely through, and two for your arms . Cut the holes small; they can be enlarged if necessary.
Make Santa Claus's cap of a piece of scarlet cambric twelve inches wide and seventeen inches long; tie one end with a string into a tassel; then pin the cap on top of the face opening , and cut the lower edge into a curve to fit the hole as indicated by the dotted lines in . One width of scarlet cambric twenty-six inches long, used just as it comes, will make the jacket.
Fig. 222—Pattern for sleeve-cap.
Fig. 223—Santa Claus's paste board boot top.
Draw in one edge of the coat to meet the inner edge of the armhole and pin it there; do the same with the other side, and you will have fulness in front to allow for padding. Bring the sides around the armhole outward again and pin in place; then fold up a wide hem and pin the sides of the jacket to the curtain and fill out the inside of the jacket with half sheets of newspaper lightly crumpled .
Fig. 224—Santa Claus's costume ready for the impersonator.
Pin enough paper to the curtain under the coat to give the body of Santa Claus a decidedly rounded appearance; be sure that the padding is securely fastened to the curtain. Then pin the sleeve caps, cut according to , around the outer edge of the armhole. Pin raw white cotton around the face opening to form the hair and long, full beard. Allow the cotton to come well over the edge of the hole, that it may lie naturally on Santa Claus's face.
With ink, mark the fleecy side of the strips of white canton flannel to resemble white ermine. Notice particularly the shape of the black ermine dots and have yours like them. Pin one ermine strip down the front of the red jacket and another across the bottom edge. Make two long, separate scarlet sleeves, unhemmed at top and bottom, and pin a band of ermine around each for a cuff. The only necessary sewing for the entire costume is the seams of the sleeves.
Polish up a pair of ordinary old shoes, stuff them out with newspapers, and use them for Santa Claus's feet. Roll two pieces of cardboard, or pieces of limber pasteboard boxes, into cylinders; ink or blacken them. When dry, cut a curve in one end of each, like , and fit these tops over the stuffed shoes to make them into boots. Set the boots on a bench or a low table, placed across in front of Santa Claus, and adjust them under the coat, so the little fellow will appear to be standing on the bench . Pin Christmas greens, either natural or of tissue-paper, over the top and down the sides of the curtain, and you will have a unique, very effective, and novel arrangement for Christmas, easy to make, and costing but a trifle. Try it.
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