Sporting a long, silver beard, Chuck Myers of Granite Shoals is honest when answering the question he’s often asked by children.
“If a child asks me if I’m Santa Claus, I tell them the truth,” he said. “I’m not Santa; I’m one of his helpers.”
Myers, who has assisted the jolly old elf for several decades now, takes his job seriously. It’s an important one, he said. The kids he encounters trust him with their Christmas wishes. That’s a huge responsibility.
Myers first dressed all in fur from his head to his toe when he and his family lived in Alaska. He bought a red-and-white suit and stashed it at his neighbor’s house. ’Twas a night before Christmas, when friends arrived at his home with their kids. He snuck over to his neighbor’s, donned the suit, and rang his own front doorbell.
“Now, I didn’t have this full, white beard at the time,” Myers said with a twinkle in his eye. “No, it was just a small one, and not white.”
He was only 45 years old that Christmas, so he needed a fake white beard to complete the disguise.
When he rang the bell, his wife, Becky, told their oldest daughter, Paulette, who was about 2½ years old, to answer the door. What to her wondering eyes should appear, but St. Nicholas, rosy cheeks, merry dimples, and all. The youngster stood in total awe, transfixed by the vision that danced in her head.
After distributing the bundle of toys on his back, Santa ducked out the door and back to his neighbor’s house, where he once again became Paulette’s daddy. Upon returning home, his daughter told him all about Santa’s visit and how he’d missed him.
Myers laughed in spite of himself as he recalled the evening, pointing out that, other than the red suit and fake beard, he didn’t change anything about himself, not his voice or his mannerisms. He said the magic of Christmas cast a spell over his daughter and the other children that night.
“I’ve been playing Santa ever since, you know, not every year, but a lot of them,” said Myers, who is also known as Santa Chuck.
He and his family relocated to Athens, Ohio, in the early 1980s, and he took a job with the city as an electrician and traffic signal technician. During the holidays, he wore a Santa hat at work. People noticed, especially news photographers. He landed on more than a few front pages of the local paper.
Soon, he was the Santa for the local Kroger grocery store and several nonprofits. One was a school for mentally challenged children and adults, where a little girl with a wagon would help Myers deliver presents from class to class.
In 2006, the Myers family moved to Granite Shoals to take care of Becky’s aging parents.
“I was new to the area, and nobody really knew me, so, the first couple of years, I didn’t have a whole lot of work as Santa,” Myers said.
His first call came from a local youth organization that needed a Santa for their booth at Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls. The Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the Christmas lights display, allows nonprofits to raise money via concessions, including photos with St. Nick.
“That kinda got my foot in the door, and now I have regular gigs,” Myers said.
Myers never attended formal Santa training schools (they do exist). He uses his life experiences for inspiration and direction. His whistle and thistle come naturally.
“When you’ve done it — life that is — as long as I have, you learn a thing or two,” he said.
Santa isn’t just for children, he continued. All ages are welcome to sit on his lap and share their Christmas dreams. If an adult never got the chance to sit on Santa’s knee as a kid, he invites them up. In his eyes, we are all kids at heart.
“It’s about meeting people and bringing joy,” Myers said of his seasonal job. “I know it makes me feel good to maybe make someone’s day and brighten it a bit.”
To schedule Santa Chuck for an event, contact Myers at ChuBec5@yahoo.com.