Reflections on 40 Years in the Red Suit

Visiting Santa Claus is a cherished tradition that creates enduring memories for families and the man in the red suit alike. While photographs capture these moments for most, Santa often relies on the power of memory. In the tapestry of recollections from nearly 40 years donning the iconic attire, certain encounters stand out, each revealing the depth of human connection and the impact of the red-suited figure on people’s lives.

Among the many memories, one particular moment involving a spirited 5-year-old named Kaitlyn stands out. Adorned with a reindeer antler headband, Kaitlyn approached Santa’s workshop with all the innocence of childhood. Before she even reached the festive setting, Santa, prompted by his mischievous elf helpers, declared, “There’s Santa’s reindeer, Kaitlyn!”

To this, Kaitlyn, hands on hips, retorted, “Santa, I’m not a reindeer, I’m just a kid!” Her correction, delivered with the unwavering confidence of a child, led to laughter and a delightful conversation about Christmas and Santa’s reindeer. Today, as Kaitlyn likely enters her mid-twenties, Santa wonders if she remembers that magical encounter that left an indelible mark on his heart.

The Unspoken Messages: Reflecting on Kaitlyn’s innocence, Santa realizes a profound truth: what we say may not always align with what others hear or understand. In the mind of this child, Santa saw her as a reindeer, and this misinterpretation prompts contemplation about the unintended messages we convey.

Heartwarming Connections: Santa’s memories extend beyond the whimsical encounters, delving into deeper, heartwarming connections. From bonding with a specially-abled friend and her elderly father to comforting a first-grader rescued from an abusive home, the red-suited figure becomes a symbol of comfort, understanding, and compassion.

Santa’s red suit becomes a conduit for impactful conversations, such as the young man whose plea for his father to quit smoking led to a life-changing dialogue. On hearing this young man’s trembling voice, concerned that his father may die from cancer as his grandfather did, Santa told the father. Two weeks later, the father reported that he had quit that very day of our conversation. 

The joy and privilege of serving in the red suit lie not just in the presents and drawings but in the opportunity to share meaningful conversations and prayers with those who cross Santa’s path.

Amidst the ornaments, drawings, and cookies, Santa often poses a crucial question to the children: “What’s the most important part of Christmas?” The joy that fills Santa’s heart comes from the heartfelt responses, especially when children declare “JESUS,” reinforcing the true meaning of the holiday.

As Santa reflects on almost four decades of spreading joy and love during the Christmas season, the memories of Kaitlyn and countless others linger in his heart. The red suit becomes a vessel for connections, conversations, and shared moments that transcend the surface of holiday festivities. Santa finds joy not just in the traditions and gifts but in the enduring relationships formed with families who return year after year, becoming an extended family of their own. Each encounter, whether whimsical or profound, contributes to the rich tapestry of Santa’s memories, reminding us all of the magic that Christmas holds in the hearts of those who believe. 
Above all, Santa wants to remind everyone that the greatest gift lies in the Love of Christ. 

Durward Blanks has been a professional Santa Claus/ St. Nicholas for over thirty years.  He is a motivational speaker and writer and enjoys sharing his many life experiences with others.  As a follower of Christ, his mission is to share God’s love with as many as possible.  You may contact Santa Durward at [email protected] or phone 615.496.1368

Similar Posts
Latest Posts from Nashville Christian Family Magazine