After 30 years, Santa still bringing magic to the Upper Valley Mall

Parents and grandparents say what Santa brings to the Upper Valley Mall is “magical.”

This year, he’s celebrating 30 years of making kids’ Christmases at the mall.

For many of the kids who line up in bow ties and holiday clothes to see Santa, it’s the best part of Christmas.

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Little do they know it makes Santa’s eyes light up just as much as theirs do.

“This is my Christmas here,” he said.

And after decades of listening to kids’ Christmas wishes, it’s more than just a job for Santa.

“I’m just as excited to see them and as long as I can make them happy and mommies and daddies happy and everything — that makes my day,” he said.

Jeff Rood spends a lot of time chasing around his granddaughter Lily.

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He’s only lived in Clark County for a couple of years, but when they visited Santa, they were right at home.

“He was just a kind man,” Rood said. “That’s what I got the most out of him, and he certainly loves what he’s doing for the children.”

The Upper Valley Mall has hit its share of downhill moments over the years.

But Santa finds a way to look at the positives. Declining foot traffic just means extra time with kids.

He’s even taught himself sign language to talk to kids who may be deaf.

“His presence, it’s just magical,” said Amber Benton of Clark County.

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For the mother of three, Santa is the meaning of Christmas.

“It just seems like the world just stops for just a brief moment to bring some kindness and happiness,” Benton said. “Springfield needs that right now. And he is that hope — that they can still come here and experience Christmas.”

Dozens of people sent News Center 7 pictures of their kids and even pictures of their kids’ kids sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall.

Many of you said the same thing that it’s how Santa goes out of his way for kids that makes you keep coming back.

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And if you haven’t had the chance to see Santa yet, there’s still time.

He’ll be at the Upper Valley Mall up until Christmas Eve.

After that, he’ll be a little busy.

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