The Big Heart (And Hair) Of MOA’s Santa Claus

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — When you sit down with Santa at the Mall of America, you’re sitting down with Sid.

“I had a little one that saw a nametag that said Sid on it, and he said, ‘That means Santa In Disguise.'”

He’s been a part of Christmas at Minnesota’s largest Mall for the last 15 years. He works every day from early November through Christmas Eve, starting early in the morning and staying late at night. And it’s clearly a labor of love.

“I am the hairspray king,” he said while getting started for the day at one of the Mall’s beauty salons. “They all know how to do the Santa ‘do.” 

And with one last spray, Santa is on his way, ready to get down to business at the Santa Experience. But this business is definitely a labor of love. Sid actually negotiates extra vacation time from his real job to make time for this one.

“When you have this love, it’s not something you take off. You live it,” he said.

In fact, Sid’s own home has a special Santa Room. It’s got lights, decorations, a tree and boxes full of letters he’s received over the last 15 years. All of them.

Sid also has his own Mrs. Claus — Mollie, who’s actually a bit of a Christmas widow because of his schedule.

“I schedule time for lunches or dinners,” she said. “Because that’s the only time I get to see him is actually going to the Mall and scheduling a lunch or dinner with him.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s lost the Christmas Spirit. In fact, just the opposite.

“The child in me comes out when I even think of him and the time that he spends with the children,” she said.

And it turns out the children all represent one child.

“I lost a brother to leukemia,” said Sid. “And that’s what got me on the road to Santa.”

Sid’s brother Patrick was only 3-and-a-half when he died. That left 16-year-old Sid wondering what he could do to cheer up other kids at the hospital. Then he had an idea — to visit children at the hospital.

“Picked up a cheap suit, and went out and had fun,” he said.

And 40 years later, he’s still having fun.  He’s a fixture at the 2nd largest mall in the country where this year’s run will end on Christmas Eve.  But that’s also when the countdown to next year begins.

“Santa’s iPhone tells me exactly how many days I have left to go,” he said. “And its fun, I love it. So I have a countdown all the time. I look forward to my time at the Mall.”

WCCO-TV’s Bill Hudson Reports

  • Julie

    Such a wonderful man.
    Santa In Disguise.

    Kudos to you Santa Sid :D

  • Jim

    If MOA is the second largest shopping mall in the country, according to this artilce, then what is the largest mall?

    • ron

      the one in Canada

      • Joy

        Canada is not in this country…. King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania is the largest at 2,793,200 square feet.

  • Mrs C

    Thank you WCCO for putting together such a wonderful piece. You captured the true spirit that he shares with so many. I really enjoyed it! He is truly the most caring, wonderful man I have ever met!

    Merry Christmas~
    Mrs. C

  • Tom

    Santa Sid,
    Thanks for making Christmas special. Though my kids are nearly grown, they were disappointed when there was a stand-in at the mall. It’s not just the outfit, but the attitude. People can tell when you really care about kids. Thanks for all you do.

  • Barb

    Can you imagine what a different world we would have if everyone had the heart of Santa Sid and his Mrs. Claus? What a beautiful man. Thank you, Santa, for sharing your love. Merry Christmas!

  • Carrie

    Our daughter is 1 and this is our 2nd Christmas, and our 2nd Christmas visiting this Santa, he truly is wonderful and we will never see another. Thank you Sid!

  • Dawn

    Our 9 month old son met this Santa, his first Santa, last month. We expected him to scream like mad, but Santa picked him up and chatted with him and made him comfortable enough to sit for a couple photos. He is the real deal, such a nice man!

  • Kevin H

    Every Christmas we have pictures and ornaments all over our house of our son sitting on this Santa’s lap. I never considered bringing him anywhere else.

    Thanks Santa (Sid)…….

  • Jill

    Santa Sid is truly magical. And I agree with Barb above. If only the world had more people like this man. Thank you, Santa for keeping the spirit alive.

  • Denny

    Santa Sid is amazing. I have known him for many years and he shares the gift of his heart and warm personality throughout the year. He is truly a Santa In Disguise.

  • Erik Riese

    Nice! Thanks for telling Sid, Molly, & Santa’s story.

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