How it feels to be Santa, what it’s like to be their hero


Photo by Kim Bechtol

Senior Joshua Smith played Santa for the Norfolk Area Baptist Association, or NABA, Christmas store at Cornerstone Baptist Church on December 12, 2015.

Twinkling lights swirl around the Christmas tree, which stands behind the seat where senior Joshua Smith plays the character of the bearded man, waiting to ask each nice child the question: “What do you want for Christmas?”

This question has been asked to millions of children in hundreds of different countries, yet they were all asked by one iconic figure; Santa Claus. Most people who have asked a child what they want for Christmas as Santa Claus has more than a jolly laugh and fake white beard; they have a caring heart.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Josh, who played the part of Santa for the Norfolk Area Baptist Association, or NABA, Christmas store at Cornerstone Baptist Church last December. “There was one little girl who drew this picture and she colored it in and gave it to me before she left, because she was just so happy to see me. I still have it on my fridge.”

Becoming the figurehead of the holiday season, Josh got to experience a magical connection with each bright-eyed child who came rushing onto his lap.

“A lot of the kids come up to you, and you’re just instantly their best friend,” said Josh. “They just say hello, introduce their family, and tell you about their day… it’s really cute.”

This connection came off oddly to Josh, as he himself was never a huge fan of the man in the red suit.

“Also with the little girl’s drawing on my fridge, there’s a picture of me as

Photo courtesy of Joshua Smith
The Polaroid of Josh running away from Santa, which remains on his fridge.

a little kid, and I’m running away from Santa Claus,” said Josh. “I was never comfortable with the mall Santa and stuff as a kid… I didn’t wanna meet him. On this old polaroid, they took the picture, and it’s just me as I’m running away. It’s like the perfect moment.”

Going from running away from Santa to becoming him, Josh has his favorite aspects of this alter ego.

“My favorite part of the suit was the beard,” said Josh. “‘Cause I have a beard of my own, but it isn’t as good as Santa’s beard.”

Each child is different, but most share the same infantile love for old Saint Nick.

“I thought it was funny that the kids were so comfortable with me” said Josh. “They just came and got right on my lap.”