This Strong Father is Pretty Famous
Categories: Dads I Know
Authors’ Note: I had the blessing to work with the Head Start professionals in Circleville, OH this past Fall. Nick was one of the employees in the full day training on father engagement. I spoke to this big room full of great folks but was right in front of Nick. Needless to say when you are trying to teach Santa about family, it can be a bit daunting. i got the opportunity to talk to Nick and LOVED his story. He has kind of been busy lately so we finally got a chance to interview him. There are great dads out there, there are great family service professionals out there as well. I love it when they are the same guy!
Hope this helps to round out your holidays.
Name and Occupation: Nickilous G. Rose. I’m employed by Ross County Head Start as a Child and Family Advocate.
Hometown: Chillicothe, Ohio
How many kids do you have? What are their ages? I have three grown sons. They are 27, 25, and 23.
How long have you been one of Santa’s helpers? I just completed my 4th season.
How did you get started? In 1981 I filled in for a Grandfather at a family party, whose grandchildren were becoming of an age where the noticed when Santa was in the room Grandpa was never there. I was 22yrs. old at the time. I enjoyed the experience very much. I guess a seed was planted that didn’t sprout until 2008. This was the year that I was in for a lot of changes in my life. After almost 30yrs. working at a local factory my job was cut out. For the first time in my adult life I found my self unemployed. I became a full time student at our local college. Since I had a lengthily winter break, I thought this would be a good time to see if I was cut out to be a Santa. I would like it known that I don’t play Santa I become Santa. I started this as a ministry. I go around as Santa Claus telling the real meaning of Christmas. How it’s not about me and the gift giving and all the lights, even though there’s nothing wrong with this, we need to not forget the true meaning of why we celebrate the Christmas Season. I’ve been doing it ever since.
Do you wear the beard year round or is there a “growing season”? I keep the beard year round. I never go out of character. This is why my wardrobe is mostly made of the color red.
What did your kids think about it when you started? Since they were mostly grown they weren’t quite sure what to think. I think they thought it would be just a passing phase, something that would pass in time. A middle age thing if you will. What do they think now? Now that is seems it’s here to stay they have came to except it quite well. Sometimes they wonder why I would keep doing it.
How has being a father to your own kids affected the way that you work as Santa? With my being a father myself, it has taught me how to deal with children in certain situations that can happen when I’m portraying Kringle.
How has being Santa affected the way that you father your kids (or grandkids if and)? I don’t have any grandkids as of the moment, (my middle son and daughter- in- law announced we will be in August). Since I stated that I try to never go out of character, I tend to father as I believe the jolly old elf would handle certain situations. This may not be the case in every thing that comes along.
How long have you worked at Head Start? I’ve worked in Head Start for about a year and a half.
What is your position there? I’m a Family and child advocate.
How did you come to work with Head Start? When I graduated from college in Aug. of 2010 with a degree in Human Services, I started looking for a job. When I saw the opening in Oct. of 2010 I applied for the advocate position and was awarded the job.
How has being Santa affected your work with Head Start? Being Santa and working at Head Start go hand in hand. It gives me a chance to see how kids react to a lot of different situations that may come up in their lives.
How has Head Start affected your work as Santa? It allows me to see the way certain things can affect children and prepares me how to deal with it in or out of school.
How do the kids react to Mr. Nick and Santa Nick when they see you in each of your roles? Each child reacts in their own way. Some don’t even notice the difference. Others think that Mr. Nick is just one of Santa helpers. There are some who truly believe that I am the one and only Santa. I make it a point to never tell them that I am. This is something they decide on their own.
Have there been any problems with you playing both roles around kids in Head Start? The only one that comes to mind was when a little girl was upset because she didn’t get everything she wanted for Christmas last year. We talked and she realized that she had received more than most and she was a very blessed little girl.
What is the toughest part about being Santa Nick? Listening to all the kids’ wishes, knowing that I won’t be able to fulfill their dreams.
What is the greatest thing about being Santa Nick? Looking into the faces of the children as they see me come into a room, watching them light up with seer happiness. Knowing that at least for a little while I helped bring some happiness into someone’s life.