Who is St. Nick Jim?

I was raised to love Christ and Christmas. I love the stories. I love the traditions. I love the Spirit of Christmas. So is it any wonder that I love all those things about St Nicholas, in all of his incarnations. (Well, maybe not the Bad Santa movie.)

I was also raised on Bible stories. David and Goliath. Noah. Jonah and the Whale. Plus the more obscure, like the wonderful story of Mephibosheth. So I became a Biblical Storyteller, Joseph the Storyteller to be precise, complete with period costuming…the beard, the long hair (both of which were gray), the robes and the headdress. The way I saw it, I was only one costume away from looking like Santa Claus.

I became a pastor in the United Methodist Church in the early 70’s and continued for some 20 years. My storytelling was primarily done for children and was incorporated into the worship services I led as a “Children’s Time.” I was often told by my parishioners that they got more out of my children’s stories than they got out of my sermons. But I was OK with that.

As you can see from the picture, I was in awe of Christmas from a very young age. Christmas became an integral part of my life as I matured and started a family of my own, I taught my children a love for the Christmas Spirit. Now it is a big part of their lives as well. I have a “Special Needs” child who developmentally is about 6 years of age, even though she is now in her 40’s. She is a blessing because she keeps us all young at heart, even to the point of maintaining the legends of St Nicholas and his Christmas Eve visits every year. 

I began to portray Santa Claus/St Nicholas on a limited basis in the 90’s, mostly working with photographers and temp agencies. But as my hair and beard got whiter and my body more “Santa-esque,” I was drawn to the portrayal on a more professional level. So in 2013, I began work as a seasonal, full time mall Santa. I have worked every season in that capacity ever since, until now. As you might suspect, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that narrative and, if I have erred, I err on the side of safety for both myself and the families I serve through meetstnick.com

If you will, I would like to share with you one of my favorite moments in “The Chair” as we call it. The picture to the right is of a young autistic boy who suffered, among other things, from a fear of touching and being held that appeared in the local newspaper. His mother brought him to the mall to “see Santa” not expecting that he would spontaneously  run toward me and leap into my lap to embrace me. He was holding on, as we say, “for dear life.” I didn’t know of anything else to do but to hold him as dearly in return. I didn’t let go until he did. He still did not speak to me. He returned to his mother, but we got this picture. 

The local newspaper ran a “Christmas Decorations” contest on FaceBook and the locals were to vote for the favorites of the posted pictures. All the other entries were of Christmas trees and outdoor Christmas lights. His mother posted this picture. It got the most votes and to the newspaper’s credit, they published it as the winner.

I could never claim that I worked some kind of magic on this child. He came expecting to see Santa and when he did, the mystique of St Nicholas took over and broke through the barriers his mind had erected. We can only hope that over 1700 year after we have lived, that the love we have shown others will still echo through the ages to inspire.

In my service to your family, portraying St Nicholas online, I bring all that experience, love and Christmas Spirit. Having been steeped in all the stories, traditions and legends of St Nicholas all my life, my portrayal has a more natural and unforced nature to it. Personally, I have found that not using the booming “HO, HO, HO” voice is less intimidating to children. I am confident you will enjoy sharing a wonderful Christmas Spirit time with me online. God bless you and yours. Merry Christmas!


a Respectful Reindeer

Born in 1820, Dasher is the youngest of my main reindeer.

Almost immediately after being born, Dasher was poking her nose into every corner of her stall. She learned all about the weather…how the wind blows and how storms grow. So it wasn’t long before I had Dasher as one of my lead pair. I can trust her to keep a sharp eye out so we stay away from troubling weather. 

Dasher loves to deliver presents to children who like to learn new things. I hope you want to be a learning child.