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Business // Entrepreneurs
Alana Folen

Hawaii’s Magical Santa Shop

Jolly old St. Nick. Photo courtesy Honolulu Santa

We all know Santa is extremely busy this time of year in the North Pole. He’s diligently creating his naughty and nice lists, and making sure his reindeer are set to go Christmas Eve.

Hawaii’s Mark Ching serves as Chief Elf to Mr. C. As owner of Honolulu Santa, Ching helps to make sure Santa is able to make a number of appearances leading up to Christmas Day by providing deluxe fantasy Santas for malls, media and events, and has been doing so since 1985.

“We present Santa as perfectly as possible because everyone deserves a quality Santa experience,” Ching says. “We want to give the magic of Santa back to the unsure, because everyone secretly wants to believe. I present the grand and nostalgic Santa I always wanted to meet as a child.”

This Moanalua Valley resident wants to put the magic into Christmas, and says Santa is accepting of everyone, especially those who really need him.

“Santa is happy to see everyone, even adults who he knew as children. No matter how bad your day is, he is always glad to see you,” he says.

Honolulu Santa staffs a slew of “Santa performers” who have worked for the company for more than 10 years. They make public appearances, but also lend themselves to families who just want to have a great Santa experience.

So what goes into recreating the perfect Santa? Ching has all the answers.

“Besides being able to master the voice and attitude, reliability is job No. 1,” he explains. “Many businesses found us the hard way, calling in panic when a Santa failed to show. Doing shows since elementary school taught me discipline. Imagine you were running a Breakfast with Santa event – the big man absolutely must be there!

“We take this job very seriously. There are expectations of Kris Kringle,” Ching adds. “We make sure he looks as perfect as possible (the suits are maintained year-round) and has an attitude that is kind, wise and positive. We are always thinking about what we can do to present a great Santa experience.”

According to Ching, being Santa is all in the details. He arrives early (disguised as a normal person) to determine the best approach to any event, never drinks when working, his teeth are always brushed and he must smell great.

“I’ve always been about making people happy, and creating a thrill and putting a smile on their faces. Making people go ‘wow’ is an important part of my business,” Ching says with a smile.

Santa is purely magical for many, and Ching keeps jolly old St. Nick alive and well for generations to come.

“I’d like to see our Santas do more commercials – maybe even enhanced for Christmas cards. I’ve been told our European ‘Father Christmas’ is one of the best anywhere.”

For more information on Honolulu Santa, visit HonoluluSanta.com or call 836-1800. afolen@midweek.com

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