So What's It Like to be a Mall Santa These Days?

As we inch closer to Christmas, it's prime time for men wearing Santa suits, who say that it's more than a job; it's a calling, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

For most of the year, Gene Davis wears blue jeans with his white beard.  Now, he says he's wearing his Santa suit nearly 24/7, as the demand for the jolly old elf hits a fevered pitch.  And while some moms and dads dread hearing their kids talk about toys, he says it's a joy to see the excitement in their eyes.

"Even when they're talking about 'I want this' and 'I want that,' they're very polite and very considerate."

Davis says the vast majority of kids ask for exactly what you think they would ask for; toys and games, bikes and dolls. Every once in a while, he says a kid will throw you for a loop.

"I had an eight year boy want a flat screen TV and it had to be 80-inches. We were like, 'Woah! You're only eight," he says.  

"But then you get a lot who want something for somebody else, and that touches your heart."

"That happens more than you think, and whether it's a sign of the economy or just a generous nature, he says it gives you hope for the future."

"All in all, knowing there is joy and good in those children, that joy and good is going to stick with them. And that's wonderful."

So, what keeps him going between now and Christmas day?  It's the energy he gets from meeting families and knowing that he's lightening up the world for kids.

Oh, and his sweet tooth.

"I love cookies!"

PHOTO: GENE DAVIS

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