Hilltop Santa returns for the holidays

  • SAM & SANTA. Sam Daniels (left), owner of Sam * Terry's Barber Shop, invites Hilltop Santa Tom Reynolds into his shop each year as a way to support Reynolds' efforts for the neighborhood children. (Photo by Cedric Leggin)

You better watch out and you better not cry because Santa Claus is comin’ to town – Hilltop, to be exact. Now in his fourth year of making Christmas merrier for boys and girls, Tacoma’s own Hilltop Santa is returning starting Dec. 7 to hear wishes, give out candy canes and gifts and pose for photos with little ones.

Visit the Jolly Old Elf at these times and locations:

  • Dec. 7, 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Basket Nook, 1007 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

  • Dec. 18, 6:30-8 p.m. at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1211 S. ‘I’ St.

  • Dec. 21, noon to 4 p.m. at Sam & Terry’s Barber Shop, 1110 S. 11th St. (Tacoma City Council member Victoria Woodards plans to stop by)

  • Dec. 23 at the Toy Rescue Mission, 607 S. Winnifred St.

Santa – a.k.a. longtime Hilltop resident Tom Reynolds – said he feels blessed to don his furry red suit and carry on his tradition of bringing joy to the children of the neighborhood, especially those whose families cannot afford much during the Holiday season.

“I will do this for however long the man upstairs lets me,” Reynolds said. “It’s the reason for the season. Without God there would be no Christmas. That’s the way I’ll always feel, so it’s probably my calling to do this.”

He’s gotten an assortment of gifts this year to share, some donated by residents of the New Look Senior Apartments in Hilltop and some from local sports teams – Seahawks footballs and fan merchandise from the Mariners baseball team.

Reynolds starts networking and organizing for his Santa appearances about 10 months in advance of the holiday season, starting with letters of invitation to philanthropists, sports figures, celebrities and political leaders locally and across the country – from President Barack Obama and the First Lady, to Oprah Winfrey, Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Gov. Jay Inslee, and sports teams like Seattle Sounders and Seahawks.

Last year Reynolds received a big surprise when a hand-signed letter arrived from First Lady Michelle Obama offering words of encouragement: “Thank you so much for the commitment you have shown to your community. Our strength as a country and our ability to responsibly shape our future depends on passionate Americans who dedicate themselves to improving their home communities. Your example of service shows once again that each of us can make a difference for those around us. Thank you again for all that you do.”

Local businesses and individuals, non-profits and neighborhood groups interested in helping Santa plan for next year are warmly invited to come and tell him about it at one of his appearances listed above.


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