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Yes, There is a Santa Claus

posted Dec 6, 2018, 4:34 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Dec 6, 2018, 4:34 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Although the evening of December 3rd was quiet, a hint of magic permeated the air as folks began to gather in the inky stillness of North San Juan’s Post Office parking lot.  The silence of the evening was first broken by the sound of bells jingling in the distance. Then familiar strains of Christmas music began to swell. More and more families joined the gathering. Babies nestled snugly against bosoms as young children tightly clung to parents’ hands in the chilly night air. All was still and then it happened….

Santa’s Wonderland came alive! The evening’s stillness was broken by a chorus of oohs and aahs, then a symphony of joyous shouts punctuated by thundering applause. Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, snow people, reindeer, even polar bears and penguins were there amidst the brilliantly lit display. Of course the man of the hour was Santa Claus. Accompanied by Mrs. Claus and elves Cassandra & Casey, Santa was there to meet every child, welcoming each boy and girl to sit upon his lap and receive a gift from his pack of toys. There were teddy bears and nutcrackers, drummer boys and mini-Santas. Every child received a gift. Home baked chocolate chip cookies, hot cider, and candy canes were set out for visitors to sample as they traversed the maze of colorful scenes and characters. A happy little model train chugged tirelessly around its track. A corner of the North San Juan had been miraculously transformed. 

Santa Claus is undoubtedly a super hero. His boundless kindness and generosity have great transformative power. Santa is also a shape shifter, not always manifesting as a jolly bearded man in a fur trimmed red suit.  Like many super heroes, he has alter egos or secret identities. Who could guess that young Peter Parker is Spiderman, or that mild mannered Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent is Superman, the man of steel? Or that friend and neighbor Ted Callison (pictured above) is Santa Claus?

A quiet, unassuming man, Ted Callison has lived on the corner of Oak Tree Road and Hwy. 49 for 43 years. A logger for 35 years, Ted raised four boys in that house. In addition to giving North San Juan a very special holiday tradition, Ted has been instrumental in creating a lasting legacy, Oak Tree Community Park’s ball field. Decades ago, he led a fundraising effort that raised $25,000 by cutting and raffling off cords of firewood, as well as hosting a luau across the road from the field. Owned by the school district, the ball field was built solely with donations and by community volunteers. Once the field was built, it was time to play ball; so Ted Callison served as President of North San Juan Little League for 14 years, and coached a generation of young athletes. “I had 117 kids playing baseball on that field,” he recalled. “Nevada City had a team playing out here every weekend.”

The Christmas display began thirty years ago and, “It’s been growing every year. I started it because Nevada City thought we didn’t have class up here but we do have class. That’s why I put “THE RIDGE” on the roof. I love Christmas! It’s my very favorite time of year. I’m a kid at heart. I love to see the smiles on the kids’ faces.”

Loves Christmas and smiling children? Gives a community their own ball field? Creates a world of wonder and instills joy in the hearts of children of all ages? Sounds like Santa Claus to me. Oh, and for those who may still wonder if he is the real Santa, I ask, is there any other kind?