How Heaven Taught Santa to Believe

“Has anyone ever said YOU look like Santa Claus?
Well, that was how it all began.


Immediately I noticed the man asking the question looked just like me.  He introduced himself and invited me to join him and his friends for lunch.  Said they were members of an organization of “Real Bearded Santa’s.”    During my 20 years as a professional actor and director I considered playing the part of Santa Claus at one time or another.  For me being Santa Claus would just be another part to play.  “All the worlds a stage . . .” – William Shakespeare

But I never seriously consider it. First of all I was too young, too light-weight, too busy, too preoccupied, too self absorbed, too busy, etc. Then I joined these men for lunch and suddenly I was surrounded by individuals who looked “just like me.”  Maybe my self-image wasn’t keeping up with my advancing years.  Maybe I wasn’t who I thought I was.  Just maybe the time for me to become Santa Claus had come.

The real test came when I realized I would have to financially commit to an investment in some equipment.  First of all Santa had to have a suit.  I couldn’t pretend to be the Spirit of Christmas and expect a theater company to provide me with the equipment.  No, I’d have to order some real Santa stuff.  I’d have to put up some real money and buy myself a real Santa Suit.

At the luncheon I met a gentleman who was very friendly and Santa like.  He told me he was a retired physician and he loved being Santa at Christmas time.  Well, when my knees stopped banging together I called him and expressed my reservations.  “I don’t think I’m prepared to do this.”  I told him.  “Oh, John” he said.  “You’re perfect for the part.  You have the spirit in you and you’ll be a wonderful Santa.  Do you have a suit?” he asked.  (He knew exactly what to say).

“No” I replied.  “It isn’t that.”  (Except that was exactly what it was).  “Look” he said.  “I’ve got an extra suit and if you’d like I’ll lend it to you.”  Well, I thanked him for his generosity but regretfully declined.  Then I took a deep breath and thought about it.  I called him back and told him how much I appreciated his offer.  He had made all the difference in the world to me and his unsolicited kindness had secured my commitment.  I told him I was going to order the suit.  He said “it’s the . . .

LAST SUIT you’ll ever WEAR.”

Then the call came.  “SANTA?”  a voice on the other end said.  I surprised myself by saying “Yes?”  A nice man attached to an active duty military unit told me he needed my help.  He had somehow waited till the last minute and his company needed a Santa the next day for their Christmas party and could I do it?  I told him I would.  Now, what was I going to do?

I knew the Night Before Christmas so I could close with that and a big MERRY CHRISTMAS. I knew Jingle Bells so I’d start with that and come in singing, Ho, Ho, Ho.  They were prepared with gifts for the children so I could pick a package from my Santa Sack and call the child’s name to come up and tell Santa whatever they wanted to tell me.   “Have you been good” I would ask.  “What would you like for Christmas?”  I could ask the children if they knew the names of my reindeer?  We could then name them and sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Seemed like a good beginning, middle and end, a plausible program. I knew when I was a young man if I expected to survive a career in the theater I needed to be able to perform independently whenever and wherever.

Then I entered the aircraft hanger and came face to face with 200 hundred children and their parents jumping up and down and having a wonderful time.  I had my Santa Sack filled with presents and we all sang Jingle Bells.  So far, so good.  My chair was placed next to a most impressive Ospree attack helicopter which clearly impressed me.  Then all of a sudden I saw some commotion at the back of the room.  People were moving here and there as something was making its way through the crowd.  What immerged was a three and half foot blonde headed baby girl with a bright red-velvet dress, white lace socks and black patten leather shoes.  She was running straight towards me just as fast as her little legs would carry her.  When she got to me she threw her little arms around me and hugged my knees for all she was worth.  I couldn’t help but HO, HO, HO.  I took her by the shoulders and gently pushed her back so I could see her face and look into her eyes.  At that moment I saw something I had never seen before; unconditional love.  She didn’t know me.  But clearly she loved me.  She saw me as a rock star.

Now, I knew where to find my story.  What my show would be about.  What I would do.  I also knew one very important thing.  The look in the eyes of this little girl had touched my heart and showed me the way.  I had a HIT SHOW and all I needed to do was write it.

At the end of the show the parents of this little girl handed me a sealed letter.  They explained their little girl had a question for me and she wanted them to ask me to “tell her the truth.”

Dear Santa the letter said “how can you visit all the homes of all the good little girls and boys in the whole world in just one night?”

I was so touched by this I determined I would answer the letter and I would do so in as honest a way as I possibly could.  The look in this little girls eyes required no less than an honest response.  I realized that I wanted this to be a hallmark of my representation of the “Spirit of Christmas”.  The letter was signed by the little girl.  Her name was HEAVEN.

So, I explained to her that it was a SECRET.  But I was going to tell her the secret and the answer to her question was that it was MAGIC, CHRISTMAS MAGIC.  Yes, that’s right SANTA is a magical Spirit, the Spirit of Christmas.  He performs Christmas illusions to illustrate the happiness and joy and the magic of the holiday.  The Spirit of Christmas infects the hearts and minds of people all over the world.  The joyous expression of giving, sharing love and happiness with others is the foundation of this gift giving festival of life.

Sixteen centuries ago a Christian Bishop of Myra gave his entire inheritance to those that needed his help.  He believed all mankind were the children of God and therefore they were his children, too.

HE BELIEVED that children are the HOPE of the world.

And thanks to HEAVEN,