Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Many Faces of Santa

 I was looking for Christmas pictures and as you can imagine, there are quite a few. Couldn't help but notice that at different times and different places (and with different looks) Santa made an appearance. Here are the ones I could find.
It starts with David, of course. Gotta love the hat and muffs (with a short-sleeved shirt.) I am guessing that this is somewhere in Milwaukee.
David Dolan and Santa - Early 1950's
I'm up next, and I vaguely remember this night. At 1904 Elim in Zion - one of our first Christmases in that house. I think I was pretty excited! Aunt Norma seemed to be loving it; but Grandma Dolan looks a little bored with the whole thing. Maybe it's because she recognized Santa's voice which sounded like maybe he grew up in Scotland, Mmmm, maybe he did. (I guess I didn't wonder where Grampa Dolan was earlier that night.)
Santa Visits Johnny Dolan on Christmas Eve
Maybe 1956
David is seven years older than me. Mary and I are only a year a part. She and I did a lot of stuff together - and I guess that includes a visit to Santa. Pretty sure this is downtown Zion, and I vaguely remember that this was in the one on the stores on Sheridan Road.
John and Mary Beth Dolan in Zion, IL
Well, this last one might be my favorite. I don't know what happened. The Grampas and the Dad must of gotten tired of putting on the suit every year, but my girls took it upon themselves to make sure Santa showed up. Petite Santa Sarah had a hard time keeping the pants up, and Amy the elf chose an interesting wardrobe as well. Looks like instead of presents Santa and his helper brought munchies that year. Classic Jeff face and that's Aaron photo bombing before anyone knew that term. Gramma and Grampa Dolan were there that Christmas. I remember that.
Clark Street House in Appleton, WI - early to mid 1990's
There may be a couple more, but I couldn't find them. Somewhere I have a great pic of a pastor Christmas get-together in Michigan. Jeff Hopf was Santa and Steve Otto and I were elves. Maybe another Christmas. Jeff was quite a clever guy and my friend Stevie Otto was a character. What fun times those were!
Many of you won't know this, but would probably not be surprised, that Grampa Dolan was the Santa Claus of Zion for several years in the 80's-90's. Santa's hut was set up on Sheridan Road in the vacant lot just north of what was then the hardware store (W.T. Grant in my day). Somewhere I have a letter from the Zion Chamber of Commerce thanking him for his many year's of service as Zion's Santa. He did an outstanding job, I guess. I only wish we could have had a mic on him. I'd give anything to hear the conversations he had with all those kids! I'll have to find that letter for next Christmas.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to accept it. If you have any good growing up Santa pictures, I would love to see them!


  1. And of course, Katie is nowhere to be found whenever Santa would come. She'd start crying as soon as she heard the bells jingling outside :-)

  2. Hahahaha! That's what I was going to say mom!! I feel like there has to be a picture somewhere of me clinging to you!! I have a faint memory of Santa coming and trying to give me a present and I just cried and refused to go near him. If only I had known it was just Grandpa!!!! The last picture on here I remember too....I wanted to be the person to answer the door, knowing that they had been upstairs getting dressed up to come and visit.... :)

  3. All of these pictures are great! Sorry, I won't have any Santa pictures to share...

  4. I chuckled out loud at your comment about Grandma Dolan looking bored... Haha. That's awesome. This last picture is a little unfortunate. You mean Harry, our Grandpa was the santa in Zion?? That's awesome. I can totally picture that. And I agree about the mic. I'd love to hear what he said to all those kids. He had the perfect santa laugh. :-)

  5. Yes, my Dad, was the Santa for a number of years.