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About Santa Ray

Welcome to our website.  We are glad you have come to visit. 

I have been Santa since 2006.  It all started when Cindy was the Manager for the Santa set at White Oaks Mall. I was her Assistant Manager. One of our Santas could not make it in and the other two Santas for the set were unavailable so she asked me to "put on the suit". The company always had a backup suit. When I put the suit on - I felt the transformation and knew this is what I wanted to do.  I talked to the other Santas on the set to get some tips and information about how to portray Santa. I started working on getting my own wardrobe. There were a couple customers that asked if I could make a home visit after I finished working for the evening and I loved the experience. The rest is history.  (Do you know that we still make a visit every year to one of these families? We have seen the children and their extended families grow up. The other customer quit a few years ago because the kids grew up).  


The next year the company that Cindy worked for had manger training as well as Santa training. I went to the training and found out so much about the photo business and how Santa should work with photo companies. From there I found out that there were Professional Santa groups that I could get in contact with and expand my experiences.

I have attended, rather in person or virtually, many Santa classes or meetings through the years.  I was co-founder of Midwest SANTA and am also involved in other Santa organizations.  I am a founding Charter member of IBRBS (International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas). Of course, after a couple years Mrs Claus had to start coming with me and now we do this together. 

2020 was hard on everyone and we were pleased to be able to offer visits to more people than we ever had before.  We started doing virtual visits because we were not sure if we would be able to make personal visits due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Many of our businesses and corporate events were cancelled but that opened up many additional weekend openings.  We hope to get back to normal after this pandemic is over.

We make visits around Springfield, IL and surrounding areas.  

You can visit our services page to see what all we offer.  We add things from time to time so please check back often. 

Through the years we have continued to make memories with many families and businesses. We look forward to what the future holds.   

We love making memories with each family we visit. We love putting smiles on faces of everyone. 

We hope to see you soon.  - Santa Ray 




Professional Santa

Santa Ray, from Springfield, has been seeing kids of all ages for 15 years and is a real-beard and real-belly Santa. He also has a Mrs. Claus who comes with him on visits.

Never promise a specific gift. One of the worst things a Santa can do is promise children they'll get what they want for Christmas. "A good Santa never promises a child a specific gift," says Santa Ray. "Sometimes you just don't know their situation or if the gift is going to appear. We always ask what they want but never promise." As a rule Santas usually don't promise pets either. "Personally I tell them I can't deliver pets on the sleigh," said Santa Ray. "I make such high-speed turns the animals might get hurt."


It's a very physical job. In a typical year Santa Ray will do dozens of home visits delivering presents to full households. "Sometimes we pick up packages and go up to the door with a big 'Ho Ho Ho' and jingling sleigh bells," said Santa Ray. "It can be tiring. It's a very physical job. Some families may have 20 to 30 people with gifts for everyone." Santa Ray says the parents get just as excited about the visit as the kids. "They will often let the kids open the door to greet us," said Santa Ray. "Sometimes the children get so excited they forget to open the door."

It's all about being a good listener. The most important part of a Santa's job, according to Santa Ray, is to lend a kind ear to kids who might be feeling lost. Some kids might ask for the return of a deceased family member or for their divorced parents to reconcile. "I've had children ask for their daddy back. They were killed in Afghanistan or some other part of the world where they were serving," said Santa Ray. "I can't bring Daddy back, but I can hug you and pray for you. Sometimes that helps."


Santa makes virtual visits too. This will be Santa Ray's first year doing virtual visits. "Due to COVID and social distancing, we've had to adapt," said Santa Ray. "We use various platforms like Zoom, Facetime and Facebook rooms." With virtual visits Santa can connect with kids anywhere with the click of a mouse. This year Santa Ray has virtual visits planned as close as Chatham and as far away as Arizona.

–Joseph Copley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR    Joseph Copley

Joseph Copley is production designer for Illinois Times and co-publisher of Activator, the music and arts magazine.

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