LAHORE -  December is the busiest month of the year for him. In churches, para-church organizations offices, homes of friends and congregation members and where ever there is a Christmas party going on he is always present. Christmas event is not complete without Santa Claus and there is none better playing it than Cedric Wasim Shah.

He is a banker by profession but loves to play Santa Claus. Wearing the traditional red dress and sporting the famous white beard he goes around spreading smiles on the faces of children when he distributes the sweets and gifts among children.

“It’s been 16 years now that I am becoming Santa Claus. It’s a trade of gifts and smiles. This whole activity is to done only to put smiles on children’s faces. I got my engineering degree from University of Engineering and Technology and then worked in Habib Bank for 21 years.  Now I am working as manager at Allied Bank. I started becoming Santa Claus in 2000. I remember I was very shy at first. “What would people say when they would see a serious person like me in Santa Claus attire? But the feeling was overwhelmingly great when I distributed gifts and sweets among children. Those moments are precious and needed to be preserved as memory. I voluntarily worked for the church.

“At Lahore Cathedral we made a symbolic manger. When candle light service was over, I reached the manger and then all the children gathered in front of it. Then there was background music of all this activity. After that, I just moved and made two or three rounds of the church and children followed me. Then outside the church I distributed gifts and sweets among children. According to Christen belief Prophet Jesus was born in manger. Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem and took refuge in a shelter where baby Jesus was born and laid in a manger.

“I just follow the tradition of Saint Nicholson who was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop in Byzantine Empire, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. Whoever got gift, it naturally brought a smile to his or her face. I do this activity to make children happy.

“I also distribute gifts at Sunday School where 70 students wait for me. My corporate job allows me to have 15 days holidays annually other than regular holidays. I always utilize these holidays on Christmas. I also distribute gifts and sweets at Lahore’s Liberty Roundabout among children wearing Sants Claus dress. Parents appreciate and are happy when their children receive gifts. “No other joy is as much beautiful then putting smiles on children face,” Cedric said.