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
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
"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
[By DEREK HURLEY]