Finding the perfect holiday gift can be maddening — is this the color they’d want? Is it something they already have? Is it so last year? — but really, once you have a sense of a person’s taste, it’s not impossible. This season, we’ll be talking to members of various tribes to find out exactly what to get that clown, or serious home cook, or Star Wars fanatic in your life. Think of it as a window into their brain trust — or at least a very helpful starting point. Today, we turn the question on ten professional Santas and ask them what’s on their wish list this holiday season.
“For me? A quality Santa suit that is made in America. I now have three suits — two Father Christmas, and a red, white, and green camo suit from Walmart that I paid $35 for last year, then had a seamstress cousin add quality fur and other items so I could be in ‘uniform’ when we had the Christmas dinner for my son’s National Guard unit as they deployed to the Middle East last Christmas. I’ve been their Santa for three years now. I’d love to have a suit in fur-trimmed BDU camo. Or a good Mrs. Claus outfit for my wife. She finally agreed to accompany me last year, but we couldn’t find a quality outfit in her size.” — Michael Caudill, about nine years as a Santa, from Carcassonne, Kentucky
“As a Santa, I want a portable CD player — nothing extravagant — so I can play Christmas music for the little ones. I would also like some big candy canes to give to my children.” — Ron Shutte, a.k.a. Jolly Bearded Santa, 35 years as a professional Santa, from Vista, California
“What is on my Christmas wish list this year? Well, since you have asked for specific items, here are three that I have on my Amazon wish list. A kite, because while I was on vacation a guy on the beach let me fly his, and I rediscovered how fun kites are. A drone, because I would like to get aerial views of things … kind of like a sleigh ride. And a Canon EOS Rebel. A lot of people request photos and videos, and I would like a better camera so I can create both in better quality.” — Santa Ed Taylor, 14 years as a professional Santa, from Hollywood, California
“It is funny how many times I ask someone what they want for Christmas, and how few (I can count them on one hand) times I am asked what I want. This is such a difficult question. My first inclination is always to ask for something practical that the house or cars need. However, my Mrs. Claus, who loves me very much, always asks me to try to think of something for me that I will enjoy. With that in mind, I think I would ask for a nice train horn (an air horn tuned to sound like a modern train) for our antique bus. Depending upon our budget, I might have to downsize my request!” — Michael Andrew Uber, six years as a professional Santa, from LaGrange, Kentucky
“My wish list includes the following: A new (red, of course) Mercedes-Benz SUV. I’m currently driving a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser that’s starting to limp a little because of ‘her’ age. A new formal dress for Mrs. Claus for when we attend the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Ball. A beard and stubble trimmer to keep Santa looking his best. A Masterbuilt Smoker.” — Santa Walt Queen, 12 years as a professional Santa, from Louisville, Kentucky
“My wish list this year is that I get myself a nice turntable to be able to play all the vinyl records I have. With all the great vinyl being rereleased and new stuff coming out on vinyl, the sound just can’t be beat. The second thing on my wish list is to get a new Suburban or Ford [of that size]. Big enough for my Santa chair to stay in it as well as the wife’s mobility scooter. And nice Christmas goose.” — Santa Kevin Scott, 16 years as a professional Santa, from Cypress, California
“As Santa all year round through my nonprofit organization, the Believe in Santa Foundation, I am trying to create a Santa’s Village, where underprivileged and special-needs children can visit Santa at different times of the year and feel like they are truly in the North Pole. Some special props like these will help make their visit a truly magical experience.” — Santa Keith, a.k.a. Florida Kris Kringle, 12 years as a professional Santa, from Florida
“Currently, I am the national Santa for Toys for Tots and the official Santa for the Hollywood Christmas Parade. For the past five years, I have had the honor of ringing an opening or closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. As I am quite busy with my computer and my work, a new computer would be good.” — Santa Tim Connaghan, 49 years as a professional Santa, from Long Island, New York
“What I want most for Christmas is a new Mrs. Claus. The former one just couldn’t get the cookie recipe right. I would settle for a shiny new red Ford Explorer SUV or a four-wheeler ATV. If you can’t find one of those within your budget, a Panasonic Toughbook computer would be excellent.” — Santa Matty Ross, 12 years as a professional Santa, from Utah
“I have quite a bit of British Isles ancestry, ergo I’ve always been a bit of an Anglophile, and part of that bent has been a desire to collect items that are fox hunt–related. My first item on this Santa’s wish list is a fox bank. Next, I have my heart set on the Santa Fe cowhide wing-back chair.” — Santa Joe Leavitt, 26 years as a professional Santa, from Utah
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