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Meet Santa Bill Himes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Santa Bill Himes.

Hi Santa Bill, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?

In November 2015, the PTA president volunteered me to be the Santa Claus for our high school winter craft festival, welcoming guests and sitting for pictures with children. Until that time, portraying Santa had never even crossed my mind. They rented a suit for me and created a small set for us to take pictures. I was pretty nervous, as I had no idea how to portray Santa, except for what I had seen on TV shows and movies. But, as you so often hear about “magical” events that transform a person, I felt a change happen in me as soon as I put on the suit. I knew that for the next few hours at least, I was Santa Claus to the children that saw me. By the end of the day, I knew I had found something I would do for as long as possible. Since then, I have invested a great deal of time and money to improve my Santa character. I own numerous Santa suits, a large assortment of props, dozens of books to read to children and on being a professional Santa, and multiple photo backdrops. I even recently purchased an antique one-horse sleigh. I am a member of several Santa organizations, including the International Brotherhood of Real-Bearded Santas (IBRBS), The North Carolina Friends of Santa, Triangle Santa Buddies, and The Long Leaf Pine Santas. In April 2022, I attended the International Santa Convention, which featured over 600 Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and other Christmas performers worldwide.  From that single, simple event in 2015, I have greatly expanded my Santa presence.  In 2021, I made 58 appearances and visited over 1800 children and families. I even appeared in a video commercial for a local real estate firm.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?

Overall, the road to my being Santa has been fairly smooth. Of course, these past few years have been a challenge for everyone navigating through the COVID pandemic. We had to make changes to protect ourselves and the people we came into contact with. Otherwise, the struggles have been relatively minor and have not deterred me from following my path.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?

As Santa, I have appeared at community tree lightings, worked with several professional photographers for portrait sessions, appeared for photo opportunities and visits with children at various community and private events and at stores, visited families in their homes, rode along with families on Christmas trolley tours of Raleigh, and appeared at fundraisers for several charitable organizations. Many of these visits are done with my wife, Lisa, who has become my Mrs. Claus. The appearances closest to my heart have been done for an organization called The Secret Sleigh Project. They coordinate visits from Santa Claus for homebound and medically fragile children so that they can enjoy the Santa experience. I have met many exceptional children through them and have developed a bond with several families extending far beyond their Christmas experience. Some of the work I am most proud of has been done for The North Carolina Friends of Santa, whose purpose is to provide a Christmas presence in local communities when faced with a natural disaster or life-changing hardship to show that Santa cares about them all year long. When a disaster occurs, a group of volunteer Santa and Mrs. Clauses will visit children at shelters and community centers in the affected area, provide them with toys, and will spend time giving them comfort. I am currently the organization’s Vice President and webmaster.

What makes me a good Santa is that everything I do is done from the heart. I want the children and families I visit to leave that experience believing they have actually met Santa and that he genuinely cares about them.

How do you define success?

I believe success positively impacts all that you do and everyone you meet.

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