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Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas

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A veteran Santa reveals heartwarming true stories and lessons from his twenty-year career spreading Christmas magic.

With the holiday shopping season beginning earlier each year, more than ever.  Americans are struggling to remember the true meaning of Christmas. And who better to deliver the gift of Christmas inspiration than a man who has spent the last two decades playing Santa?

Sal Lizard was in his twenties when his beard and hair ...

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Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas

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Overview

A veteran Santa reveals heartwarming true stories and lessons from his twenty-year career spreading Christmas magic.

With the holiday shopping season beginning earlier each year, more than ever.  Americans are struggling to remember the true meaning of Christmas. And who better to deliver the gift of Christmas inspiration than a man who has spent the last two decades playing Santa?

Sal Lizard was in his twenties when his beard and hair turned completely white.  Today he appears everywhere from malls and parades to schools and hospitals. And— from his custom-made red velvet suits to the mistletoe that hangs from the rearview mirror in his Santa-mobile—he is Santa Claus three hundred and sixty-five days a year. 

In Being Santa Claus Sal reflects on his experiences with both children and adults including:

  • Christmas magic is all around us: We don’t always see it, but it is there, shaping and enriching our lives.
  • Sometimes you need to go that extra mile:Santa Claus is the one person who can’t even use a blizzard as an excuse not to honor his commitments, and Sal teaches adults the importance of always showing up for our children.
  • Even a small child can make a big difference:  Sal has met some impressive children over the years, and he’s learned that you don’t need to be a grown-up to make an impact on the world around you.

In Being Santa Claus Sal shares these lessons, along with often heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking, and sometimes downright hysterical stories from his twenty-year career as Santa.

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  • Being Santa Claus
    Being Santa Claus  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"Is it Santa or is it Sal Lizard?" one website asked. The answer is almost irrelevant. For decades, "Santa" Sal Lizard has been a living, breathing, cheery, rotund, rosy-cheeked, white-bearded man so easily confused with the "real thing" that thousands have accepted his merry, ho-ho-ho persona without a second blink. Being Santa Claus begins as a memoir, but becomes a lesson in a holiday that millions observe, but whose true meaning they do not always understand.

Publishers Weekly
What does it take to become Santa Claus? Lizard, a regular guy, transformed himself into the symbol of Christmas after his hair started going white in his 20s. With a heady blend of humor and sentiment, the author explains his role as a positive, affirming figure in the public pageantry surrounding the gala winter holiday, citing his joy from the kids’ utter adoration, and making wishes come true. Although Lizard sometimes views the grownups as an occupational hazard, he dons the red velvet costume, answers any pee-wee question, and treats every child “with love, dignity, and respect.” For the child in every one of us remembering the magic of the Christmas season, he takes us back to the sheer happiness and anticipation of the holiday with his cheerful yet wacky takes in his chapters, “What Would Santa Do?” and “He Knows If You’ve Been Bad Or Good.” If you want to begin to believe again in yuletide mirth and merriment, this book is the perfect sales pitch for the winter classic from a nutty professional Santa, the most effective antidote for sales, bargain and commercialism. (Dec.)
Library Journal
After his hair and beard turned snowy white when he was only in his twenties, Lizard did what every guy should do in that predicament: he opted to play Santa, a job he's been at year 'round for more than 20 years. More than a life account, this book offers inspiration drawn from the experiences he's had in his custom-made red velvet suits, e.g., little children are awe-struck about seeing Santa off-season. A national tour, though probably not by sleigh.
Kirkus Reviews
Pleasantly amusing and tender stories of holiday cheer from the man in the red suit. When Lizard agreed to don a Santa suit one Christmas for a local radio station and hand out toys to impoverished children, little did he realize that he had stepped into a role practically made for him. Having a natural white beard and hair helped with the role, but once he put on "the suit," he found that people of all ages just seemed to become "more generous, openhearted, and happy." With Lane's assistance, Lizard writes a humorous account of some of the memories accrued from two decades of playing Santa. That first season with the radio station led to more public appearances, some in malls and some in hospitals, where Lizard had to learn to shut down his own emotions and truly play the role of St. Nick, despite the ache he felt at seeing so many sick children. One small boy in particular left a deep scar, which the author has not been able to forget. Private gigs in homes where children tried to stump Santa with questions, such as why he used a shopping bag from the local store to carry his presents or why a child did not receive the requested BB gun, left Lizard scrambling for answers. As the years progressed, he found himself embodying the spirit of Santa year-round, which led to healthy lifestyle changes and embracing the spirit of Christmas, which, to Lizard, "happens anytime someone reaches out to another with love; when someone gives just for the sake of helping another fellow human being; when a child's eyes light up with the wonder of believing in miracles." Simple stories that remind readers there is more to Christmas than the stress of shopping, partying and striving to make everything perfect.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592407569
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/8/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Sal Lizard has been playing Santa Claus professionally for more than twenty years. He lives in Georgia with his wife, Linda (aka Mrs. Claus).

Jonathan Lane has worked both as a teacher and as a creative director for Nestle’s Willy Wonka Web site. He lives in Southern California with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

4 Star

(1)

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(1)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 20, 2014

    Sal Lizard Being Santa Claus = Me Being Blessed. I

    Sal Lizard Being Santa Claus = Me Being Blessed.

    I like reading military history quite a bit, but this book has managed to be my favorite non-fiction book since I first read it in 2012. Many of the stories told in this book will make you feel so good! Reading this book never fails to put a smile on my face, and the Christmas spirit in my heart. Mr. Lizard was blessed to look like Santa Claus and adapt the spirit of the seasonal icon into his life, and I (will most likely be we if you read it) have been blessed by the authors sharing that experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Highly recommended

    What a great book with sweet and cute stories about a man becoming Santa Claus. I have met Sal Lizard in person, which makes the stories even more enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    MY BEST BOOK PICK OF THE YEAR

    This is an exceptionally well written book. I could not put this book down. I cheered on Mr. Sal Lizard aka: Santa or is it Santa aka: Mr. Sal Lizard? You instantly idenify with Santa and forget his alter identity. Whether you are a parent or grand parent you must read this book to enrich your life. Santa lives by the greatest principles and morals but yet is never too old to learn new ideas and keep up with technology. He has terrific ideas to add excitement to your children or grand childrens Christmas and yet build memories. I hope Santa will eventually add a second book and then some more! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOID NIGHT! HO HO HO!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

    This "Santa" (aka Sal Lizard) lost complete credibilit

    This "Santa" (aka Sal Lizard) lost complete credibility today when he was on Fox News (Fox & Friends with Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy) and stated that a few years back "I started showing up at Christmas parties and was told that, um, they were having holiday parties and so therefore they didn't need a Santa anymore". Sure. Totally believable. Not. Come on, let's face it, this guy is a paid-for-hire Santa.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    I have not read a book that made me want to go out and do someth

    I have not read a book that made me want to go out and do something nice for someone as much as this one did. Sal's stories from the ones that made you happy to the ones that bring a tear to your eye are so inspiring. I feel blessed to know Sal and how incredible he is but he really is Santa. So many put on the red coat out of desire to make some cash but this is far from the case here. It is amazing how the coat and hat really picked him. The first time I met Sal was in a Walmart in Portsmouth New Hampshire and right off felt like I was talking to Santa himself. My kids will hopefully meet him one of these days and know for the rest of thier lives who Santa really is. I hope you write more Sal as your life has been an adventure for sure. Thank you for making some of us see even more what the "true" meaning of Christmas is as well as your friendship.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    We see it every year; the men dressed in bright red suits on the

    We see it every year; the men dressed in bright red suits on the street corners, in department stores with children on their knees and even having their pictures taken with the family pets. But there is always the truth behind the facade that most of these men have nothing on their minds but the money they can make by playing one of history's most iconic legends for a couple months a year.

    For Sal Lizard it is completely different. In the book, "Being Santa Claus," it wasn't Sal that made the decision to don the crimson hat and coat but the hand that fate dealt him. Sal Lizard, a South Carolina native, has not merely played the role of Santa for several years, but instead he has become Santa to all those that know him and even some that do not. After reading this sweet, amazing, and heart-warming book I have realized there has never been another man that could have embraced and embodied the whimsical legend any better.

    Reading Sal's many stories of his beginnings and exploits as Santa is one of the best books to put you in the Christmas spirit that has ever been written. Sal Lizard, literally lives every day of the year as Santa, for those of us that get the warm, fuzzy feeling at that special time of year and think to ourselves, how much we wish it could go on forever... well that is exactly what this amazing man has achieved.

    I wholeheartedly commend him on what he does for so many both young and old and I hope he receives the good fortune of the immortality that goes with it.

    Keep doing what you do Sal and keep the true spirit of Christmas alive forever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Your first must read of the holiday season and then every season after

    Sal Lizard knows what it means to be Santa Claus, he knows the heartfelt and heartbreaking realities it brings every time he donned the red suit. He spent two decades learning from his mistakes and making miracles. He learned valuable life lessons from the smallest individuals. He laughed and he cried but he never took for granted the responsibility that came with Being Santa Claus.
    For over 20 years, starting as a fluke and practical joke and ending as a career Sal Lizard takes us through the ups and downs, the laughter and tears and the true magic he found when he put on the red suit and became Santa Claus. He mentions his most poignant moments and his most trying. We’ll get to meet his family, the clients that called upon him year after year and some very creative ways to make all his stops and fulfill all the requests. He takes us through his time as a mall Santa to his special pajama visits on Christmas Eve. He’ll tell us stories about the youngest lap visit to the oldest. The naughty and nice lists that were always checked twice and the ever present candy cane.
    If you’re looking for a really great kickoff to get you in the Christmas Spirit this little, easy to read and emotional book should be first on your list. If you’ve lost the spirit or know someone who has just slip this little treasure into the stocking and those spirits will come back.
    I only have one thing to say to Sal Lizard aka Santa. I still believe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    WARRIORS DEN

    WATERCLAN

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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