I wasn’t raised to believe in Santa Claus…
But as an adult, I have come to appreciate the “idea” of there being an actual Santa Claus upon meeting Santa Jim, a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas with his whole soul.
He not only has character and heart, but actually looks like Old Jolly Saint Nick himself!
This is a guy on a mission to embody the spirit of Christmas all year round.
It’s not just about toys, even though he does get a kick out of heading for a store and allowing kids, adults, and store employees to snap a picture or two.
Recently, Santa Jim asked me to follow him around the store one afternoon. You too may have gotten a chuckle out of watching all the looks of awe and amazement!
But make no mistake, it is genuinely all about kids, and adults who need a Santa to cheer them, pray with and for them, counsel and gently soothe them, lovingly bringing Christmas alive for them whatever the reason, the day, and whenever the season rolls around.
Santa Jim’s journey started 43 years ago when he ran into a “hot mess” of a Santa who was not representing his Santa suit in what Jim felt was an appropriate manner.
He made a decision right then to take steps to:
- Become a 2nd generation Santa and sub for his father-in-law after completing his other duties at the sheriff’s department
- Go to Santa school and learn how to be a Master Santa
- Eventually teach himself how to sew lots of different Santa suits
- Live a “Santa Lifestyle,” tastefully dressing in Christmas colors everyday
Santa Jim is now the “official” Santa in several Indiana principalities.
He helps light the annual Christmas trees, greet the crowds, delight the kids, and walk in the holiday parades.
He also visits geriatric units, hospice facilities, and children’s wards.
He supports the military, conducts children’s story-telling programs. He even bakes cookies with them.
He does cancer walks, and makes sure natural disaster survivors are gifted with much needed items and toys drives that make their children smile.
Santa Jim was once on Extreme Makeover with Ty Pennington.
Together they aided in sheltering families in urgent need of homes.
When talking with Santa Jim, I learned that for many the spirit of Christmas is needed every given day of the year. It’s their touchstone.
It’s the one holiday of the year that most everyone loves and looks forward to. It brings with it the spirit of Happy Christmas!
Someone may be dying and want one last Christmas wish. Someone may be surviving and need some Christmas cheer to help keep their chins up.
Believes: “You can be made to look like Santa, but you’ve got to have Santa in your heart.”
I believe Santa Jim does.
Yet…he wanted me know that he is indeed a man. About 5 years ago, Santa Jim was feeling depressed. He got down on his knees and he himself asked for guidance and direction. He had seemingly lost his purpose. He asked God for a way to get it back.
Soon thereafter, his beard went totally white. He knew he needed to get back into the spirit of Christmas and live a “Santa lifestyle” once again.
He is now a “real bearded Santa,” and proud to continue his work helping others. All they have to do is call.
His schedule is usually full of Christmas appointments all year round. And with good reason.
Like any “real” Christmas icon, Santa Jim Lives By the Santa Claus Oath!
Pretty Cool right???