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Being Santa Claus: Doug Eberhart, unwrapping unexpected joyful rewards

Written By | Dec 21, 2019

Santa Doug has a variety of vintage costumes after 40 years of portraying St Nicholas (Photo;

CHARLOTTE, NC:  No character or personality represents the spirit of Christmas better than Santa Claus. Jolly old St Nicholas is the universal embodiment of the season regardless of what they may call him in any corner of the world. Be it Sinta Klaus or Father Frost, Kris Kringle, Papai Noel, Christkindl or just plain old Santa, the spirit of his message is the same everywhere. Goodness, kindness and charity.

In fact, some people get so caught up in the aura of Santa Claus they even go to school to learn the nuances of portraying the season’s most beloved symbol.


being santa, rent-a-santa-doug-eberhart

Santa Doug’s outfits are customized right down to hair in his beard (Photo:

Doug Eberhart, a graduate of Princeton University from Charlotte, NC, is also an alumnus of the C.W. Howard Santa School in Midland, Michigan.

It is at Santa school where he learned long ago that being St. Nick involves a lot more than donning a red suit and being able to end every sentence with a hardy “Ho, ho, ho!”

being santa, rent-a-santa-doug-eberhart

House visits are very popular (Photo:

Santa Doug has been bringing his alter ego alive for over 40 years using his love of people and his contagious personal charisma to entertain and visit both children and adults. All of his equipment is professional and custom made.

Santa Doug visits schools, hospitals, homes, parties and apartment complexes.

Among Santa Doug’s most popular specialties are his house visits

Santa arrives before Christmas to the delight of children of all ages, including adults who are easily the most impressed members of any group.

Visits are a cooperative effort between Santa and the organizer(s) to make everything perfect. In advance, Santa Doug obtains the names of the children who will be present and a fact or two about each child such as their favorite color, a teacher they like, a special interest or a recent accomplishment.

Anything that will help personalize the visit.

Last minute preparations for the long flight (Photo:


All of this is wrapped into the spontaneous conversations that evolve during the visit.

If small gifts are involved they should be wrapped with a clearly printed label. The packages are all transferred to Santa’s Toy Bag before he greets the kids.

During the holidays, anywhere there’s a need for Santa, Doug is ready including schools, groups and corporate meetings and outings.

As a true professional, Santa Doug dons the traditional red and white Santa suit with various styles and furs. His beard is real hair, hand-tied and custom fitted for him.

Caught in the act (Photo:

Each costume is unique and custom made.

Additionally, he has over five vintage Santa suits that are unlike any on the market. Each has been immaculately created from pictures and postcards featuring St. Nick hailing from the late 1800s.

being santa, rent-a-santa-doug-eberhart

Checking his list to see who’s been and who has been nice (Photo:


Santa Doug even provides tips on his website to ensure the best possible “Santa Experience:”

7 Tips for a Good Santa Visit

1. Have the room temperature no higher than 68 degrees.

2. Have a place for Santa to sit that is sturdy, no lazy boy chairs, and please not near a roaring fire.

3. Try to keep the kids away a few feet away, especially if there are presents.

4. If you have provided presents, let Santa know where you have placed them and have the names CLEARLY PRINTED on each package.

5. The tags should be taped securely and NO GIFT BAGS, as things fall out easily.

6. If you have kids at a home visit, please have them inside when Santa arrive sand not outside playing, as he doesn’t want kids to see him getting out of his sleigh.

7. Take as many pics as you wish but if your baby or child is screaming, it is NOT a good time for the child or for Santa.

being santa, rent-a-santa-doug-eberhart

There’s nothing better than the huge Santa hug (Photo:

Despite the traditional happiness of the season, however, every now and then a serendipitous moment occurs that serves as a poignant reminder to Doug that he, too, can be on the receiving end of the Santa Claus experience:

“Yesterday I picked up a gig at an orthodontic clinic where a Santa had to cancel due to an illness. I had two of God’s beautiful non-verbal special needs girls ages 9 and 12 visit me.
“The mom was great. She lifted the lighter child out of her wheelchair and placed her on my lap. The younger girl was so excited to have some time with Santa that I could feel her smile next to my face as I held her and looked at the camera.
“And then the pictures began. (Click. Flash! Click. Spontaneous joy. Flash! Ear to ear smiles. Silent contagious laughter. Click. Flash!)
“The older girl smiled and thrashed in her chair with excitement. I was so blessed to have picked up this gig and to meet these two wonderful children, for this is what being Santa Claus is all about.
“It’s times like these that make me realize WHY I put on the red suit. This isn’t a job. This isn’t a hobby. This is a calling and I am insurmountably blessed that I answered it. We are the magic makers. We are beacons of hope for children of all ages and to those who believe.”
All images with permission of Doug Eberhart – Rent-A-Santa.Com

Book Santa Doug now for your visit 704-502-2500

About the Author:

Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

Read more of Bob’s journeys with ALS and his travels around the world

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.