With a twinkle in their eyes, a twitch of their noses and a jolly “ho ho ho,” Frankfort’s Capital City Clauses are working this holiday season to spread joy and Christmas magic to children locally and around the world.
The group consists of five local Santas — Ralph Gould, Russ Kennedy, George Brooks, Jackie Inman and Robert Cinnamon — who work together to make sure Frankfort’s Santa needs are met through the holidays. One of them even does virtual visits with children around the world.
The Santas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 502-385-1074 or 502-803-0242.
Learn more about each Santa below. Santa Robert Cinnamon, however, was out of service in the North Pole and co
The Santas can be reached at email@example.com, 502-385-1074 or 502-803-0242.
Read on to learn more about each Santa.
Santa Ralph Gould
The magic of Santa has stuck with Santa Ralph Gould since he was a small child. His earliest memory was seeing him in books and on a black and white television as a small child. He remembers children talking about Santa in school.
“I think I only got to actually visit with Santa one time as a child,” Santa Ralph said. “I remember trying to help my little sister on her first visit to the big guy in the big red suit. She was frightened to pieces. She still talks about it!”
During the Christmas season, he remembers waiting with anticipation for the toys to arrive under the tree.
“Somehow Santa delivered most of them,” he said. “We often would try to stay up as long as we could to try to catch Santa putting the gifts under the tree.”
His fascination of Santa has stuck with him all these years, and five years ago he began portraying Santa at the Frankfort YMCA Christmas Ball.
“I had actually just lost 50 pounds working out at the Y, and then they asked me,” Santa Ralph said. “I was a slender tall Santa. I loved being their Santa and just could not give it up. It was delightful.”
Since then, he has visited with hundreds of children locally and around the world through virtual visits he started doing in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of his favorite memories so far of visiting with children occurred during a virtual visit last season with three children.
“Two of the children were very excitedly talking to me, telling me what they wanted,” he said. “The third child was silent but very active and very alert and very much involved with what everyone was saying. Then, this little cherub started talking, telling me about what she wanted. The other two children fell silent.
“This beautiful little child could not communicate verbally. But that did not stop her and she kept talking in her own way until she was satisfied that she told me her whole wish list! That beautiful little child will never be forgotten.”
One of the funniest things a child has asked him for was an oven.
“I asked, ‘An oven?’ As he formed a big square with his hands he said, ‘Yes, an oven you can bake with.’”
Santa Ralph said he is never judgmental and is always encouraging and always listening to the children.
“This Santa never gives out coal, even if the child admits to being naughty,” Santa Ralph said. “Santa always seems to have run out of coal at just the right time!”
When he visits with children and adults he said he keeps in mind that “this is their time.”
“It’s their time to talk to a big grownup, the big elf himself, all by themselves,” he said. “One to one … kind of like hearing a report card from (not about) each child. Not only what they want but what they have been doing and how well they have been in school and at home.
“I try to evoke an openness to communicate with Santa, including the expectation of being listened to and accepted. I always ask what they want to give this year.”
Santa Ralph said seeing the wonderment in children’s and adults’ eyes is what motivates him to keep spreading Christmas cheer.
“Many adults love to talk with Santa and pose for a picture with Santa,” he said. “Some adults are just big kids. I always tell the adults how much I have missed seeing them since they were about 7 years old and how well they grew up.”
If Santa Ralph could change one thing in the world, he said it would be to eliminate COVID-19.
“And while we are at it, let’s eliminate all the health issues at the same time — Ho ho ho!”
Santa George Brooks
When Santa visited Santa George Brooks in his first grade classroom in Henry County, he had a “wow” moment.
“I had heard of Santa and seen his pictures but had never met Santa,” Santa George said. “He was real and I got to meet him. That made a big impression on me.”
As a child, Santa Brooks loved watching Santa in “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” two classic Christmas movies that he watched with his parents and siblings.
That impression Santa made on him as a child stayed with him through adulthood and he has now been portraying Santa for 37 years.
In 1980, because he said he had a pickup truck and a beard, he was asked to dress as Santa by his church and deliver Christmas baskets to less fortunate families in the community on Christmas Eve.
“I reluctantly agreed,” Santa George said. “I loaded my truck with all of the boxes, which contained Christmas dinner and toys for the children.
“At the first house, I took the box to the porch knocked on the door and ran back to the truck. A lady came to the door and called her children outside before I made my get-away and they were calling for Santa and she was crying as I drove off waving to all with my best Ho ho ho.”
At the next house, however, he was caught.
“The door opened as I was placing the boxes on the porch and out came mom and three children. Mom saw what was in the boxes and the children were excited that they caught Santa delivering presents.
“I had to talk to every child and pass out the gifts to each one before I could make my getaway.”
By the end of the evening, Santa George said he was knocking on the doors with anticipation of meeting the children and sharing in their joy.
“I was totally hooked,” he said.
Santa George estimates that he has visited with several thousand children over the years and one of them made quite the impression on him during a visit at Bridgeport Elementary School.
“I was talking with a young man and pictures were taken when his mother said we need to go so other children can see Santa. He put his arm around my neck and said ‘We aren’t finished yet.’ The look on his mother’s face was precious, and Santa, trying to suppress a laugh, made it a precious memory.”
That was his favorite memory, but he also has a sad memory.
“I was at another primary school in a different county, when I asked this little girl what she wanted for Christmas. She replied ‘for daddy to stop beating me and mommy.’ I hugged her and told her I would see what I could do.
Crying inside, I called a teacher over and asked for her to get the principal for me. I talked to the principal and gave her the girl’s name, and she said she would report it to the proper authorities. I hope she did.”
Being Santa allows for him the opportunity to spread peace and joy into the lives of everyone he meets, Santa George said.
“In today’s uncertain times, we all need the magic of Christmas more than ever.”
If he could change one thing in the world, it would be to remove hate from mankind.
“For without hate, there would only be love left,” he said. “If we only had love left, what a wonderful world it would be!”
Santa Jackie Inman
Santa Jackie Inman can remember Santa from as far back as to when he was four or five years old. One of his favorite gifts he received from Santa was a toy lever action rifle.
“I eyed it for months at the (a store) on St. Clair,” Santa Jackie said.
That feeling of happiness and the spirit of love and giving is why he portrays Santa today.
He first started portraying Santa about 12 years ago for his family. Then, he began to get volunteered to do it for public events. He estimates that he has visited with thousands of children.
“I have had as many as 1,200 in one day,” he said.
One of his favorite memories so far was when a little girl asked him to heal her grandmother. A funny memory is of a child asking him to “make their granddad happy and nice,” he said.
Santa Jackie also views his role as a way to give back to the community.
If he could change one thing in the world, like Santa George, Santa Jackie said he would “remove hatred in people.”
Santa Russ Kennedy
Santa Russ Kennedy’s earliest memory of Santa is visiting with him at the Frankfort VFW’s children’s Christmas party.
“After a brief chat, each child was given a small gift by the Ladies Auxiliary,” Santa Russ said.
One Christmas when he was a child, Santa even called him by name. That feeling of joy and happiness that he felt in that moment is what he is trying to evoke out of the adults and children he visits with during the holidays.
“Joy, happiness and faith that the world is and can be a wonderful place,” Santa Russ said. “And, that life is good and dreams do come true. If Santa can stop and pose for a photo and a hug, or chat for a few minutes, then maybe mom and dad can forget for a moment that the rent is overdue and the kids need new shoes.
“And maybe, just maybe, this will be the Christmas for that new bicycle.”
Santa Russ remembers his father portraying Santa a time or two.
“My dad was a big round jolly guy,” he said. “I remember him landing in a helicopter at a local shopping center once. Not sure if he was crazy about the chopper ride, but hey, they needed Santa Claus!”
About 20 years ago, Santa Russ dressed up as the big elf a few times but didn’t like borrowing costumes, wearing shoe toppers, wigs and fake beards.
“So I took a few decades off until I could acquire my own costuming and all the associated accouterment,” he said.
In 2020, Santa Russ said he finally reached a place in his life where he could pursue being Santa year-round.
So far, his favorite memory of being Santa didn’t occur during a party or planned visit with children, it happened one day when he was taking a walk around the Capitol.
“I was wearing my every day clothes, plus a red windbreaker and sock hat,” he said. “A little girl that was getting out of a car with her mom spotted me and immediately started jumping up and down and tugging on her mom’s arm and pointing at me.
“I crossed the street, said hello, and with mom’s permission, gave her one of my Believe coins. Our eyes locked. She never said a word, but we connected and I went on about my walk.”
He carries his Believe coins with him every day, he said. “Whenever that magical eye contact occurs, I give them to children.”
The funniest comment he’s received from a child was recently when he was asked if he really was Santa Claus.
“As I typically do, I turned the question back. ‘Do you believe I’m Santa Claus?’ Her reply was ‘Nope. No way!’”
For Santa Russ, his main goal is to spread joy and all good things about Christmas and the holiday season.
“Christmas has always been a really big deal in our family,” he said. “Still is. We have more fun at Christmas than people ought to have in this life.
“And I’ll continue to try and share those feelings as long as I draw breath. Even the bah-humbuggers of the world become believers when they see Santa, if only for a moment.”
If he could change one thing in the world, it would be to “spread a little elf dust, wave my magic North Pole wand and eliminate birth defects and childhood diseases,” he said.
“I’d ensure that every child was born perfect with a real chance at a wonderful life.”