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What it is like to be Santa Claus?

American Sal Lizard once wrote a book about his experiences, entitled Being Santa.

Having had his hair and beard turn naturally white early in his career, he found his metier when asked by a radio station to wear a Santa suit one Christmas and hand out toys to poor children. As soon as he put on the red suit, he found that everything changed since people he encountered seemed to become {more generous, openhearted and happy”.

“I almost felt that I was destined to do this. Just look at me, could I do anything else?” commented the bluff, genial well built Sal Lizard in his metal framed spectacles, red outfit, and white bushy beard and hair. “My line of work deals with miracles, some people think I’m just a man, an impossibility, but if you can just believe a little magic, you might discover that almost anything is possible.”

He soon became the perennial Santa Claus taking on the role in countless hospitals, shopping malls and private parties travelling around America in his Santamobile. While visiting shopping malls he managed to get an entire mall singing Christmas carols with him at random. There were also the unusual requests – when doing private visits to some Scottish families he had to wear a kilt.

But as any Santa knows, it wasn’t always easy. Even after decades of working as Santa, Sal Lizard could still find himself caught unawares by unexpected questions. He wrote “private gigs in homes where children tried to stump Santa with questions such as why he used a shopping bag from the local store to carry his presents or why a child did not receive the requested BB gun, left him scrambling to answer.” Preparation was clearly vital! Fulfilling adult requests could be equally awkward. Asked by a journalist what his most off the wall gift request from an adult had been, his response was ‘a jewellery store manager who wanted a wife’.

Embracing the inner Santa became essential. Sal pointed out that he had had to constantly “appear more Santa like. I don’t drink where there might be children able to spot me and I don’t smoke. I wanted to be as good a role model as I could for children. Å lot of children ask me what I’d like for Christmas and I tell them that the only think that would make Santa happier than he is already, is that if he could do away with the naughty list.”