OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — In case you didn’t already know, there is a lot more to becoming Santa Claus than just putting on the red suit.
Dan Short thought long and hard about the job, then took the plunge 30 years ago.
He admits, “I was nervous. I was apprehensive,” even after attending a special school for Santas.
He’s been at this North Pole City for quite a few years, telling the real Christmas story and conducting brief but powerful counseling sessions with kids who have lots to say.
Over the years, he’s learned what it takes to make kids feel at ease; first for a good picture but, more importantly, so they don’t become frightened.
Short explains, “I want them to come away feeling good about themselves and feeling good about the encounter with me.”
For instance, he doesn’t wear a complete Santa outfit.
He says the coat and hat are too intimidating.
This Santa has also done away with the big throated Ho, Ho, Ho.
Short argues it’s too scary.
But during our interview, he does a good impression of the Santa from the movie, “Christmas Story.”
“Ho, Ho, Ho,” he booms. “You’ll poke your eye out, kid.”
What he started doing about 10 years ago was writing down or typing some of the stories that touched him most.
They cover his first year as Santa, from poignant to hysterically funny.
He even let us in on which kids tug on his beard the hardest.
“It’s usually an infant,” he says. “They won’t even know, but then they’ll close their hand and pull down. The torque is painful.”
The result is a book called, “The Santa Chronicles”- musings on the man, the myth, and what he really thinks of the so-called ‘naughty list.’
“That’s not my deal,” he says. “Basically, I’m about, ‘Santa loves you’.”
He says he’d like to write more.
The stories are certainly still coming.
But another book will have to wait till after Christmas.
This Santa, just like all the others, has a busy schedule to keep until after December 25th.