In some ways, one local Santa really puts the Christ back in Christmas.
George Christ has been donning Kris Kringle's red suit for the last four years at Mid-South churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, and elementary schools. With the big night out of the way, he finally got a chance to talk to us (albeit from his bed) about putting on the suit, posing with pets, and being Santa all year round. -- by Mary Cashiola
Flyer: How did you get into Santa-ing?
Christ: There were some people who kept asking me to do it. I had a lady who said she could fix a suit for me. That's one of the reasons I couldn't do it before. It's almost impossible to find a Santa Claus suit for someone my size. I'm huge.
Do kids ever ask for anything really interesting?
Oh, there are so many things. One girl asked me for some paint to paint her room. Mostly it's all stuff they don't really need: four-wheelers or motorcycles. We're not talking older kids; we're talking about kindergarteners. Somebody asked me for a vacuum cleaner so that she could help her mother clean.
And you don't mind pets?
I take pictures with dogs and cats. I had a ferret this year. As long as it's not a tarantula or something, I'll be all right.
Do kids or pets ever get scared?
I've had lots of children get scared. Last week, I was at a school and with one little girl -- it seems like it's always a little girl -- it just wasn't going to happen. It just wasn't. We tried everything. We even tried to have the teacher hold her and stand right next to me.
Sometimes, if you let them run around for 30 minutes to an hour or so, they'll warm up to it and we'll get a picture.
How do you prepare to be Santa?
What do you mean? I just do it. I put my suit on and do it. This is pretty much what my hair looks like.
How do you deal with the "Are you the real Santa" question?
I just let it go. Some of the questions I get the most are "Where are the reindeer?" or "Where is Rudolph? I want to see the reindeer." I tell them that they don't like it in the hot weather down here, and I had to leave them up north.
I get a lot of it all year long. Kids will ask me, "Are you Santa Claus?" and it will be July. One night, I was in Captain D's with my mother, and there was one kid who just knew that I was Santa Claus. I wasn't wearing anything that looked like Santa Claus, other than my beard. If they think I'm Santa Claus, I'll just go along with it and ask them if they are being good. If they ask me if I'm Santa, I'll say, "I just might be, so you better remember the song."
Wait ... are you Santa?
Am I the real Santa? We shall see. We shall see.
If you ever see a Santa Claus with brown boots laced up, you might just have seen the real Santa. All the other Santas have black boots, so I just might be.
what does Santa do after the holidays?