My beard and hair are real, and so is my belly...thanks to Mrs. Claus and her award-winning culinary abilities!
I'm a member of the International Brotherhood of Real-Bearded Santas and a founding member of their Oklahoma Santas affiliate. I'm also a graduate of Santa Gordon's Santa School, "Santa and the Business of Being Santa."
My first experience as Santa started in 2012 when I was asked to play Santa for a Christmas photo shoot for some local paramedics. We shot the photos in Mohawk Park on a 24-degree day with a 4-inch new snowfall. It was so much fun! When my wife and I saw the photos, we knew I had to buy a suit and become Santa. I've shot a new Christmas card for the paramedics every year since, so I know they had fun too!
My favorite part of being Santa is seeing the joy on children's faces. They see Santa as a real human and he loses none of his magic. I get to sit behind this beard peer out at everyone who comes to see Santa, not me, Santa. I do my best to embody this Jolly Old Elf's spirit, to smile, listen and love.
I have a national background check and I'm insured.
My wife, Mrs. Santa, won the Tulsa World cookie contest with her Christmas recipe, Bourbon Street Cookies--we think that's a sign I'm meant to be Santa!
In January, 2016, I was named "Santa of the Month" by Claus.net, the online Santa organization.
A final thought:When I started a few years ago, I just saw this as simply something fun to do. But something happened, something wonderful. Wearing the suit and greeting little ones and adults, things have changed. We all know the children bring their lists and tell Santa many things, but so do a few adults. I have been fascinated with my life now, wearing this suit. The heartfelt stories shared of days gone by. Stories about fathers, long passed, who gave their children that magical moment on Christmas Eve. All I can say is, while I always believed in the spirit of Santa Claus, I never truly believed like I did as a young boy till now. I am not Santa. I'm just an old man with a big beard, a red suit and a heart 3 sizes bigger than before. I am not Santa. But I get to represent the best there is, I get to represent hope and love. I am not Santa - until a child sees me and then I am everything. Thank you, Santa Claus for letting me see through your eyes something I never imagined was so abundant: Love and Hope.