Santa and the story of the candy cane

Jeff Ruppenthal/Staff Leah Musser,age 3, holds a candy cane she received from Santa at the National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia. Also on Santa's lap is her sister, Laura Musser, age 3 months. The girls are daughters of Dave and Alix Musser of Columbia.

Jeff Ruppenthal/Staff
Leah Musser,age 3, holds a candy cane she received from Santa at the National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia. Also on Santa’s lap is her sister, Laura Musser, age 3 months. The girls are daughters of Dave and Alix Musser of Columbia.

It’s one thing to tell Santa what you want for Christmas.

It’s another when Santa tells you the real story behind Christmas. And Ed Vonstetten of Columbia has a tale that weaves the holiday candy cane into a narrative about the birth of Jesus.

He will be telling his story as part of a “Tea Time with Mrs. Claus” this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the National Watch & Clock Museum, 514 Poplar St. in Columbia.

The tea includes sweets, scones, tea or hot chocolate, a story-reading by Mrs. Claus, the opportunity to make a clock , admission to the museum and a visit with Santa. Cost for the tea is $18  for children ages four and older, and $12 for adults who attend. There is no cost to visit with Santa.

Mrs. Claus will read a story about how time stands still for Santa as he makes his journey around the Earth.

Ed is known as the “Christian Santa.” It’s a sobriquet he enjoys and protects. And it is reflected in the story he tells about the candy maker who wanted to honor Jesus. So he made the candy cane in the shape of a shepherd’s hook.  When the cane is turned upside down, it forms the letter “J” for Jesus. The red on the cane represents the blood he shed for people’s sins; the white is for the pureness of Jesus’ heart.

Ed, a Columbia native, began portraying the Christian Santa at Columbia United Methodist Church more than a decade ago.  And wherever he appears in costume, hetells the story of the candy cane.

“It’s one of the things I insist upon telling — the real story of Christmas,” he said.

And most children who visit him, he said, know the real story.