Christmas is here and I am in Santa’s cave, wearing my best red costume to grant the children’s wishes.
A 12 year old boy laughs at me, his head bowed with a skeptical look in his eyes. Glancing at my stout figure and wispy white beard, he categorically asks me, “If you are the real Santa, what’s my name?” ”
But he’s going to have a surprise. I whisper, âSometimes Santa is more than what you see – it’s what you believe in. And I will never forget your name, James.
The boy’s eyes widened in awe and in that brief moment, Santa’s magic was real.
I have always held a special place in my heart for Christmas. When I was little, then Santa Claus – whom I took over – brought me a little teddy bear. It is still one of my most precious possessions.
I loved dressing up as Santa Claus during the holidays. When I was six, my grandmother gave me a red knitted costume and I would play the part when the little ones came to stay. I was always going to be an artist.
When I grew up I became a children’s entertainer and traveled the world as a professional opera singer until one day someone noticed my jovial figure (I am naturally a bit plump).
The man said to me, “You would be a wonderful Santa Claus for our party.”
I practically begged to do it and fell in love with Santa Claus again. It was then that I knew he was my calling.
I have friends in the movie industry, including makeup artists from Harry potter movies – and together we figured out how to turn myself into a Santa that everyone could believe in.
A little red really works wonders! It’s the most remarkable feeling when I see Santa Claus looking at me straight in the mirror. Something takes hold of me and I kiss the man who brings love and happiness to all.
I have two identical costumes, worth Â£ 30,000 each. The detailed buttons and handmade leather belt are 18k gold plated and the costumes are hand embroidered with ornate Christmas designs.
The boots alone are worth Â£ 3,500 – made to exactly fit the shape of my foot – and I have a full cast of real reindeer as well.
As for the flying animals, they are not too bad!
The Santa costume I wear is so heavy that I have to wear a special cooling costume underneath. But there’s no stuffing – I’m afraid that’s the result of eating so many tarts, chocolate bars, and crisps.
It’s hard to keep Santa Claus a secret, but my dry cleaners are doing a good job. Every year around February I send my costume out for a six week break. He cleans it thoroughly and hides it from view. No one has to know where Santa Claus washes his costume!
Is my beard real? I would not know how to say it ! There are secrets that Santa Claus cannot reveal.
I’m not the Santa Claus you see in supermarkets or malls – wonderful as they are. I perform at dinner parties and weddings, make Christmas movies, entertain celebrities, and visit some of the most prominent people in the world.
No one has asked me to appear on a roof or jump into a chimney yet, but I would be willing to!
Every year (if Covid allows), I travel across the country and around the world from Singapore to Canada, China and Hong Kong. Before Covid hit, I visited every continent in 12 months, including Antarctica.
The pleasure of being Santa Claus gets me through it all. It’s a full-time job – I wear my costume most months of the year – but I get to watch ITV a bit during the day between gift deliveries. Nothing beats a little Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, but Mrs Claus prefers Corrie .
Mrs. Claus travels with me all year round. I’ll be reviewing the festive decorations in June and November, I’ll fill the house with eight Christmas trees and countless twinkling lights.
People say the house is exactly as they imagined Santa’s house. It also smells of pine and warm berries.
One of the ironies of being Santa Claus, however, is that it takes Christmas away from me because I’m so busy working. I eat
13.8 billion pies just for Christmas Eve. This is not an easy task.
My festive schedule is very busy, so I need all these tarts. I get up at 4 a.m. and go home to Madame NoÃ«l at 1 a.m. the next day. There are all of these freebies I have to give – I need an oxygen mask to keep up.
Then Christmas Day begins at 5 a.m. I spend the morning with a famous member of the England team, before meeting a Hollywood star, who lives in the UK. I also visit famous faces in a royal residence – their children are a joy.
I am given advice, but I break the rules and bypass “Madam” and “Sir”. Santa Claus is everyone’s friend, he wouldn’t use those words. I treat people with respect, with a bit of shamelessness.
On home visits, I will sing Christmas carols, use my humor âShrekâ to entertain adults, and wow children with magic tricks. I blow bubbles, grab them between my fingers and pop them on little sticks – they then turn into real lollipops!
I also spend a quiet time with the children and listen to their wishes, then I go to present my reindeer to them in the garden.
After my work is done, I return home to the North Pole at 5 p.m. to cook a turkey dinner – my roasted potatoes are legendary.
Mrs. Claus and I will then make ourselves comfortable and watch some festive movies in frenzy. My favorite must be Santa Claus: the movie with Dudley Moore. And you can’t beat The Muppets’ Christmas Carol .
It’s the special moments that really warm my heart. I remember that Christmas when a boy came to see me. His father was dead and he asked me, “Can you bring daddy back?”
I explained quietly, âThere are things Santa Claus cannot do. But death does not mean that something is going away. As long as you remember your father and keep happy times in your heart, he lives in you.
The young man understood my words and it meant the world to me.
Along with these special moments, there are also some silly moments, and it is very hard not to laugh. A child once asked me for world peace, and all the little ones copied it until the last little boy proudly said, “I want world peace … and a gun.”
And it’s not just kids who believe in Santa Claus – I have fun with adults too. A few years ago I turned on the Christmas lights in Dublin.
I stayed in a hotel and heard a huge argument in the room next door. Santa doesn’t usually lose his temper, but I banged on the wall and bellowed, “Look, can you give up for goodness sake?”
The next morning I put on my red suit and as I left my room the couple next door also appeared. The guy looked sheepish. He nudged his wife and whispered, “Look my love, it was Santa who yelled at us last night.”
Some adults can be quite mean to their children. One Christmas, a celebrity asked me to sneak into her house and surprise her baby boy. I was holding the letter he had sent up his fireplace at the North Pole and his face was a photo.
I told him, âYou could wake up tomorrow and think it was a dream. Keep it in your heart, and take this [a gold button etched with SC] to prove that I was here.
Weeks later the dad took all the airbrushed pictures from me and claimed his son made it up, but the kid had that golden button he was convinced of. The guy promised me he would confess to his son when he is older!
A long time ago I had a vivid dream that I put on my costume and turned into the real Santa Claus. Soon after, I began my journey to become him.
Being Santa Claus really matters to me. I’m not just a guy in a suit. It is symbolic and important to people. I try to bring magic to everyone who meets him.
All I really want for Christmas is family, friends, and a good cup of tea.