Saturday, December 01, 2012
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Special feature from LDN magazine:

 Home for the Holidays

The presence of Santa in Lincoln

By Derek Hurley

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[December 01, 2012]  The holiday season is upon us once again. Children wonder in awe whether or not Santa Claus will come to their home on Christmas Eve; if he will be there to eat their cookies and to leave a pile of presents under the tree and treats in their stockings. These children believe in Santa and that he lives at the North Pole.

But the children do not know that Santa has representatives who may be closer than they think. They may not realize that if one looks hard enough, Santa has a presence right here in Lincoln, Ill.

Furthermore, if they're lucky, and their parents know where to look, those children in Lincoln may be able to see Santa before Christmas has come.

While the children may not understand completely, parents know how important Santa is and that a visit from him can change young lives.

Lincoln has more than one emissary of the jolly old saint, and those representatives schedule visits during the holiday season. They want to see children who may have been extraordinarily good this year, or get a little face time with those little urchins who may need some minding of their manners.

One of those representatives goes by Mikel Frost, like frost at the cold, cold North Pole, or Jack Frost on the window panes at Christmas. Anyway, Frost is a resident of Lincoln. He is also a graduate of the recently implemented four-year theater degree program at Lincoln College. But his acting capabilities are not the only reason he performs this service for the community.

"This was a personal decision I made," said Frost, who will be reprising his role as Santa for the third consecutive year. Frost owns his Santa suit, which he acquired after providing services for the Jaycees in 2010.

In 2011, Frost decided to continue the venture on his own. He says his inspiration for this came from his great-grandfather Zimmerman, as well as his own experiences in childhood.

"When I was a kid, Santa would stop by at Grandma's house at Christmas. I remember the excitement and the joy. I wanted to see that continue for the next generation," said Frost, who says he has enjoyed providing this experience for children in the area.

Frost now pays visits as Santa to his younger relatives.

"My older sister and two of her friends each have a son, and one time they got the boys together and I came over as Santa," he said. "My nephew and the other two boys were about 3 years old at the time. When I walked in that room, they were dead quiet. But the look on their faces was the biggest expression of happiness I have ever seen. I sat down with them and gave them each a present to open. At the end of the visit, without even being told to, my nephew walked up to me, gave me a hug and said, 'Thank you.'"

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But how does Frost go about seeing other children? How does the word get around that Santa can come to your door?

Frost says most of his business comes from word of mouth. He tells his family members every year when he is ready to begin, and in turn they tell others. He also posts information on the Internet, and he has an email account set up exclusively for receiving requests for an appearance.

For the most part, Frost visits families who ask for Santa to come to their home. However, he is not opposed to working with organizations that get in touch with him. For example, last year Frost worked with the student union from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Frost simply asks that the location be within a reasonable driving distance.

When working with a family, a bit of information is required before a visit can be finalized. Frost asks that families provide him with the name of the child or children, as well as ages. He also asks for some notable examples of behavior, be it good or bad. With this, Frost is able to better represent Santa and also to report to him later the names of every child and if they have been good.

Frost brought up another example of how well this information works for everyone. He recalled a rather humorous visit that he still remembers from when he first began working as Santa with the Jaycees.

"I visited a family with three boys," he said. "I called them each by name and said that I knew if they had been good or bad. I looked at the oldest brother and said, 'I know you broke that chair.' His parents had told me he had broken a chair and it was bad behavior. The boy looked at me and said, 'He is real!' and ran off. One of the 'elves' had to go get him so we could finish the visit."

Frost begins his duties about the last day of November. And, "on occasion, I have visited someone on Christmas Day," he added.

For anyone with questions or a request to see Santa visit with their children, Frost can be reached via email at


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