Christmas is a little over a week away. So, what are children asking from Santa this year?
“I’m getting more wishes for unicorns than I ever remember. Things that fly like helicopters and drones,” says “Santa Jimmie” Snead, who’s been playing the jolly old elf for the better part of 16 years.
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He says as technology advances, children are asking for things their parents could never have imagined at the same age.
“It’s surprising how many times young children now and days will ask for iPhones and computers. They may be only between 5 and 7 years old. And, of course, I never promise them that I can deliver. I always look up at the parents and say, ‘We’ll see what the parents say’,” Snead tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
And even though requests can change, he says you’d be surprised how many stay the same year after year.
“American girl and Barbie; and this one has been around forever—people love Pokémon,” says Snead.
Legos are also a dependable favorite.
“The thing about Legos--you know they start out simple and they become more and more technological. They can build things with moving parts. Kids really like that type of toy,” he says.
Snead started out as Santa for Georgia Square Mall in Athens and later became the first Santa for Atlantic Station. He now does private events through Woodstock-based Mystical Parities. But no matter the place, he always gets requests that tug at his heart.
“Every year I’ll get at least one child who wants his parents to get back together. And I’m always touched by that,” he says.
Snead was also touched recently as he was leaving a party in Buckhead and encountered a homeless man outside. He offered the man gift to which the man wanted to offer one in return.
“He went through his brown paper bag that probably had all his worldly goods,” recalls Snead. “At first, he pulled out this crumpled-up Star Trek magazine. He said, ‘I can’t part with that, but I do have this lighter that probably doesn’t work, so I want to give you that’.”
So, Snead took the broken lighter home and placed it on his Christmas tree and realized he had witnessed the real spirit of Christmas.
“It occurred to me that he had given to me out of his little and I had given to him out of my much. So, his gift was extravagant. It was the true meaning of giving,” he says.