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Draplin Design Co., North America
November 27, 2006
Santa Action
Posted at 07:12 AM


Dad got the “gig of the year” this season with the annual holiday season kickoff in downtown Traverse City, Michigan. Pretty heavy.

01. “Pre-game jitters.”
02. “Right downtown…Front Street, Traverse City, Mich.”
03. “Showtime!”
04. “My dad, my hero.”
05. “I’m not wearing any underwear!”
06. “Ha ha. Uh, Santa, have you been drinking? Shame, shame.”
07. “Checking in with the big man at the North Pole.”
08. “gettin’ heated in the cockpit.”
09. “The sexy dames couldn’t get enough of ol’ Santa.”
10. “Santa’s even down with the pigs.”

(+) One last naughty detail to think about.

My old man has been playing Santa Claus for some twenty five years. Sometime around autumn he lets his beard and locks grow out. His rotund girth is well, a “year round deal,” if you get our drift.

He plays private parties, business events and hits up the local hospices. I remember him telling me about how he sat with this lady who didn’t have too long to live. The nurses told dad she probably wouldn’t make it through the weekend.

“I made her smile, Aaron,” dad said about his time with the old lady, who’s time was quickly running out.

I was 11 or so, hiding in the back of dad’s van. I remember him delivering boxes of food to needy families dressed as Santa, with crying moms and their wide-eyed younglings holding onto her legs looking up at him. That was a heavy thing. I remember him getting choked up when he’d get back in the rig.

For the record, all proceeds from his Santa enterprise goes to the Father Fred Foundation in Traverse City. I posed the question, “You earned it Dad, why don’t you just sock it away for you and mom?”

His answer is the same each year, “Cuz Aaron, there are people who are hurtin’ out there and need help.”

“Hell, I bought five bikes this year with the extra loot I ratholed away all year long.” he exclaimed, “That money was burning a hole in my pocket!”

The bikes go to a fella in Central Lake who distributes them to kids who don’t have bikes. Every kid should have a bike. This year their aim was to give otu 100 bikes. Amazing. Heroes.

His season kick off was a bit of a milestone this year. He opened the Traverse City Holiday season with an appearance. I’m feeling kind of down cuz I missed it, but feel good cuz I got a couple weeks with that fucker this fall.

Good work, dad. Love you.

(CALL TO ARMS: To all the readers‚€”and fuck, there’s a mess of you on here these days‚€”please leave dad a comment. He could use all the support we can muster up, plus, the old man loves the press. Leave a comment. Tell him something good. Speak up.)

There Are 25 Comments

Hey Aaron - After Dad’s santa gig on Friday night we were eating dinner and he exclaimed that he is no longer going to cut his hair. He said something like “I am 63, I can wear a ponytail.” Should be pretty interesting - Santa with a ponytail…..maybe mom can braid it! HAHA

Posted by: Sarah on 11/27/06 at 3:51 AM

I was a first hand witness to this event. It was awesome to see all the kids, hell, everyone, crowd around him to see him, touch him, kiss him or just be next to him. When Santa made it through the crowds into the “Santa House” I noticed this little girl who sat on his lap. She put her hand atop his. She was just staring at his hands….then she dared to zero in on his pinky. She lifted it up and wrapped her little hand around it. She looked at him to see if he noticed. She was smiling from ear to ear. She was sitting on the lap of the real Santa. Everyone believed. Everyone.

Posted by: Aunt Mary on 11/27/06 at 8:22 AM

Cheers to Mr. Draplin.

As we Americans lean towards celebrating Christmas before Halloween, it’s good to see someone who embodies what the Holidays are about: giving and being selfless.

Posted by: Joe Putnam on 11/27/06 at 9:12 AM

Your dad’s an inspiration, we could definitely use more Santas like that. Year round too.

Posted by: Andrius SImutis on 11/27/06 at 9:50 AM

Gotta love a guy using The Beard for good, not evil. Keep up the good work, Papa D.

Posted by: Seth on 11/27/06 at 10:51 AM

One good looking santa right there. Be carefull Macy’s might be calling next year when they see these pics. AJ you should put together a toy drive in your fathers name for us local NW folks. His big santa hug could reach West. Inspiring.

Posted by: Chuck on 11/27/06 at 11:12 AM

Ata boy, Jim. The world would be a much better place if more people focused on giving back to the communities they live in instead of buying a bunch of useless crap. Keep up the good work!


Posted by: Kelly on 11/27/06 at 12:36 PM

people like your dad are the reason holidays still are great.

Posted by: Chad on 11/27/06 at 2:32 PM

It is people like your dad that make this world a better place. Thank you, Mr. Draplin.

Your story reminds me of when I was a little boy of 5 or 6 and asking my mom out loud why Santa was wearing dad’s boots. They couldn’t fool us for long…

Posted by: Cam on 11/27/06 at 3:01 PM

Seeing this made me instantly smile seeing this. A true original.

Posted by: Jerms on 11/27/06 at 3:42 PM

maybe an oregon guest appearence from the coolest santa i’ve seen in along time next year ?

Posted by: andrew on 11/27/06 at 3:50 PM

This is EXACTLY what Christmas was like when I was kid. Everyone was more in tuned to helping out their neighbor rather than trampling them for that “must have gift”, which more than likely ends up going back to the store on Dec. 26th. My parents use to do something similar where mom would spend all day cooking and putting together a box containing various baked goods, food, fruit and an unsigned Christmas card. Dad would then load up the car with me and the other siblings (there was 6 of us) and we would slink around on Christmas Eve under the cover of darkness, ringing doorbells and leaving behind gift boxes to much deserving families.
Kudos to Jim for keeping that spirit still alive.

Posted by: Mike Kirkpatrick on 11/27/06 at 4:10 PM

If I had the balls, I’d dye my hair white and get after the Santa bit. We share the belly-ness, cheeks, and outward jovial nature. It’s what’s hidden deep inside that matters though. Even Santa has a mean side, eh?
For real, quite an inspiration.

Posted by: Vince on 11/27/06 at 7:52 PM

Drap, once again another proud moment for me from the time I knew about James, when he was a little cut-out (and still is) on my Apple‚„Ę Display, to the day I met him in flesh and blood last year with the CAPP3L girls in Vegas, have always been a huge fan of him and always will be… I admit never let him cut the shit now, damn he’s Santa if there ever was one and like i said when i first saw him, “Fuck Draplin your dads Kris Kringle”. Your one lucky man and your dad is the same….

Posted by: styk on 11/27/06 at 9:34 PM

dear santa,
this christmas can i please have a new hottub for my backyard…?

Posted by: pinski on 11/27/06 at 11:27 PM

great story and great looking santa. makes one proud there are still people like this out there…and shameful more of us don’t find the time or energy to do something that giving.

can you post a link to this charity of his…

Posted by: andrew m. on 11/28/06 at 1:28 AM

dear santa & ghostwriter ‚€”

your story almost made me cry. keep fighting the good fight and putting kids on two wheels.

Posted by: _greg on 11/28/06 at 9:28 AM

I’ve been reading this blog for a long time…I’ve been happily impressed with the thought processes, values, humor, goodwill-to-all of the blog’s writer. It’s very obvious that the dad has contributed very much to the son’s life view.

Warms the cockles of me heart, fer shir.

Posted by: Zim's mom on 11/28/06 at 9:30 AM

Holy cow Jim, when April Carroll told me how much fun Gwen and Nolan had on Friday, I jumped right online to check out the story, since I knew Aaron would have full coverage! Not only are you an amazing Santa, but even in just everyday, normal Jim Draplin style you are an incredible being to behold. Hands down, the most entertaining and interesting to talk to, warm hearted dad of anyone I know. Yeah, you’re swift with the bs and have been known for a dirty joke or two, but that just makes you more fun to be around. Good luck and may all the crumb crunchers that sit on your lap this season have dry pants.

Posted by: Natalie on 11/28/06 at 6:47 PM

Hey santa, thanks for brining us Aaron.

Posted by: coyle on 11/28/06 at 10:27 PM

best! santa! ever!

Posted by: Chloe on 11/29/06 at 5:52 PM

Portland needs a visit from Santa!! Merry Christmas to the Draplins from Rod and Katie. The birdhouse looks good at our new pad.

Posted by: Rod on 11/30/06 at 7:26 AM

Always, always bragged about my uncle Jim who made the most awesome Santa i’d ever seen. It’s like the man was bred for it! The rest of the year, he just kicks miscellaneous ass.

Posted by: Nephew Scott on 12/01/06 at 1:35 PM

Hi Aaron.
Greetings from TC, home of the one-and-only SANTA! We had the pleasure of being with your Dad on that special night. It was unbelieveable the kids, moms, dads… EVERYONE enjoying the festivities of the holiday spirit. He makes so many children happy… and to see their faces….posed in AWE of Santa! A truly amazing man he is, (in fact, your whole family is amazing!) Hope to see you soon. Love & kisses…….Linda & Fred (Merry Christmas!!) Miss you and Gary too!

Posted by: Linda on 12/05/06 at 5:33 AM

i never knew you were related to mister cringle!
it’s all starting to make sense now…
tell santa i’ve been wicked good.

Posted by: roger cameron on 12/05/06 at 7:38 AM
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