Tidings of Great JOY - 8 Questions with Santa Blair - MetroFamily Magazine
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Tidings of Great JOY – 8 Questions with Santa Blair

by Erin Page. Photos by withunmind photography, courtesy of Santa Blair

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Kenny Blair wears many hats. He’s a father and grandfather. He’s a coach and teacher at Douglass High School, in the same school district he grew up in. Raised by his grandmother, he attended Classen High School and then went on to play football for the University of Missouri. After eight years playing professional ball for the Philadelphia Eagles, he worked as an athletic trainer for the Disney Institute, where he trained the likes of Shaquille O’Neil, Ray Lewis, Tiger Woods and members of the 1996 Dream Team.

About 15 years ago, Blair added another hat to his rotation: that of Santa Claus. Known as Santa Blair, his eye-popping suits, passion for service and palpable joy in being Santa have expedited his celebrity far beyond Oklahoma. For many local children (and their parents and grandparents, too), Santa Blair is the first Black Santa they’ve ever seen. He provides the representation for children of color that he didn’t experience as a child — and represents to children of all colors that Santa is inclusive of everyone. Santa Blair’s special brand of holiday magic inspires people of all ages, colors and creeds.

We caught up with the jolly man himself ahead of his busiest season of the year.

  1. What is the most meaningful part of being Santa? There are so many things! Being able to work with children who are in the hospital, being with homeless children who don’t even have a place for a Christmas tree or lights, being with children of color who have never seen an African American Santa.
  2. What has been the most memorable? When my former students bring their own kids to see me and say they are proud to have had me as their coach and Santa Blair.
  3. How is your role as teacher and coach similar to your role of Santa?  It’s all about helping kids! When I’m teaching children on the field or in the classroom, I have an opportunity to make a positive influence in their lives. And I have that same opportunity as Santa.
  4. Why is the representation you provide so important?  As a child growing up, I never saw a Black Santa. It’s important for children to see a Santa who looks like them. Representation is not just for African American children because I influence children of all colors, and that is such a blessing. When I was at Disney World last year, even grandmothers, of all colors, would tell me they had never seen a Black Santa. They were so delighted and it was a gift to be part of their family photos. I’m thankful for the opportunity to make a change and make people smile.
  5. What’s your message to the children of Oklahoma City this holiday season? Santa Blair loves them all and I want to make all their wishes come true! Santa Blair does not have a naughty list. I believe every child is good. And even if they’re a little naughty, they are still nice!
  6. You are known for your intricate, incredibly beautiful Santa suits — how many do you have? Almost 30! From the buttons to the thread, I design all my own suits and they are made here locally. I just released a memorial Chadwick Boseman suit because so many children love Black Panther. Sometimes the children help me design my suits — like my new toy suit, where one side is dedicated to Barbie dolls and the other to Hot Wheels.
  7. What’s your favorite treat for children to leave for you on Christmas Eve? Yellow cake with chocolate icing!
  8. What do YOU want for Christmas? My dream is to one day be the Santa for the White House. 

Find out more about Santa Blair, including where he will be appearing this holiday season, at thesantablair.com.

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