Santa's Helper based in Gippsland

 

 

 

 

 

Glenn Rodda came to visit family friends in Gippsland regularly during the eighties.

One day she said “When are you moving up here Rodda?” He jokingly replied, “when you find me a house.”

She did and in 1989 he and his wife Anne moved to Trafalgar, leaving behind their parents and family in and around Melbourne. 

 

Glenn Rodda came to visit family friends in Gippsland regularly during the eighties. One day she said “When are you moving up here Rodda?” He jokingly replied, “when you find me a house.” She did and in 1989 he and his wife Anne moved to Trafalgar, leaving behind their parents and family in and around Melbourne.

 

 

 

 

If you think Glenn looks or sounds familiar, you’d be right.

 

His eyes - how they twinkle. His dimples, how merry -

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly

Clement Clarke Moore, Twas the Night Before Christmas

 

 Glenn takes no offence to being compared to the jolly man in red. They’ve been close friends for years. From time to time over the past 15 years he has been one of his chief helpers in Gippsland. “Moving to Traf was the best  sea change for us. We would now find it difficult to move back to the suburbs. I love country life and being out of the rat-race.”

 

 

 

 

One Christmas he saw a spectacular house light display in Pax Rd, Traralgon. It was nicknamed Waynes Wonderland; he got to talking with the owner and bought his first few decorations  for his own house. Over the years his collection grew and these days is a sight to behold. The centrepiece, a wire work message; Seasons Greetings from Glenn and Anne with over 600 Globes.

 

 

 

The decorating begins in September when all the lights are taken out of storage and tested.  These days he’s changing over many of his globes to LED which are available in many colours. But he used to have to hand paint the globes each year the various colours that would bring his displays to life.

 

 

 

Several are mounted on  four metre high poles fixed into the ground. One year he was struggling with his tallest display. He was getting the long and awkward pole into place, with his arms high above his head his shorts fell to his ankles, leaving him exposed to the rest of the street. He was faced  with a dilemma. Continue to wrestle the pole and leave his pants down or give up on the battle with the job at hand and deal with his modesty. Safe to say his determination to get his display in place won out and he never would know for sure if anyone saw him in his compromising position.

 

 

 

“I borrowed a red suit and a white beard from my old mate and took to dressing up to say G’day to the people who drove past to see the lights.” Said Glenn. He tells of a day he was standing out the front leaning against the light post. Two older ladies pointed out a life-sized-Santa as they walked past. Glenn stayed very still until they came closer and then moved and said G’day. In hindsight he worries he might have given one a heart attack and probably shouldn’t have played the trick, but he was fulfilling his job description; bringing good cheer.

 

He turned up at Wayne’s wonderland one year in the red suit and was invited to be part of

 

 a Christmas eve fundraiser dressed in his Santa’s helper outfit. This lasted for about 7 years.

 

 Word spread and he had additional requests to attend functions and was a regular at the Traralgon Show for around 6 years.

 

 

 

When he was a  Trafalgar Lions member he was part of the Trafalgar Mardi-Gras in the first week of December each year, handing out lollies and taking a note of gift requests on the North Pole’s behalf. “It’s a delicate business when a little tacker is asking for something. I have never promised any particular thing will arrive. Santa’s sleigh is only so big. I’m always looking for any idea from parents who often give me a nod or a wink which might help me out.” Says Glenn. Requests over the years vary from swimming pools and horses to the latest toys. Glenn has had his fair share of mischief from kids who question the existence of the guy who lends him the red suit. He has script he sticks too and is pretty good at diffusing any argument.

 

 

 

With 15 years of North Pole service under his wide black belt, the suit has been returned.  The decorations have got easier over the years as he’s perfected his skill and put brackets and fixtures around the house to simply slot items in. But there is always some ongoing maintenance.   “The strings of Christmas lights on the displays are starting to show their age with weathering, so Christmas 2018 we hope to change to LED's and that will stop some of my frustrations .“

 


Glenn’s enthusiasm is infections and many other houses in his street and nearby have joined the house decoration game. The young daughter of a new neighbour insisted her Dad decorate their house too, inspired by the festive sparkle of the rainbow globes.

 

 

 

Marrying Anne and moving to Trafalgar are both at the top of Glenn’s list of best-decisions-ever-made. Most Friday nights you’ll find him having a yarn at the local RSL with some mates before coming home to have dinner with Anne. “Having  Anne’s support to follow my passion for Christmas decorating and of course, up until last year, donning the Red Suit. The pleasure I got from mingling with adults and children while wearing it, was priceless.” 

 

 

photo credit Joshua Pabst

 

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