SEKY December 2021 - Page 32

Alexander with the Somerset Police Department . l Photo submitted about hope and dreams and particularly about love for each other . It ’ s a time for sharing and giving and being with those you love and care about ,” he said . “ Santa is a big part of that and it ’ s a privilege to be able to participate in the Christmas season of so many families .
“ Santa is not just a visitor at Christmas – his favorite place in the off season is here in Somerset ,” he added . “ So remember , even in the off-season Santa ’ s watching – ‘ he knows if you ’ ve been bad or good , so be good for goodness ’ sake !”
Another of Santa ’ s special helpers is John Alexander . While not as naturally bearded as Cate , Alexander shares a similar appreciation for doing something special for young people . A native of Pulaski County and wellknown personality from the local stage and radio , Alexander ’ s talents lend themselves well toward allowing the spirit of Santa to take over this time of year . However , stepping into Kris Kringle ’ s boots has done as much good for Alexander as it has for the kids he meets .
“ I originally became Santa Claus because I knew it would help me get through what is classically one of the loneliest times of the year ,” said Alexander . “ I knew that if I stayed busy and didn ’ t take a break , I could get through each and every Christmas without ever realizing what I was missing .
“ I am a confirmed bachelor ,” he added . “ It ’ s been easier for me . I have my nephew and my family , but it is different than having my own kids and my own family at Christmas time .”
Alexander first took on Santa ’ s duties during the original “ Christmas Island ” run on Burnside Island , back around the turn of the millennium , assisting the Somerset Junior Woman ’ s Club with a fundraiser .
“ So that was my first time I volunteered my time as Santa ,” said Alexander . “ A year or two later in 2006 , I was presented the opportunity to be a professional Santa helper . And I ’ ve been one ever since .”
Alexander ’ s main post over the years has been the Somerset Mall , helping Santa fulfill his contractual appearance there . Unfortunately , COVID-19 has put a dent in Santa ’ s annual mall tour of the
United States and abroad , and that will be the case for the second straight year . “ I hope we ’ ll be back someday , but until then , this year I ’ m going to focus on making as many local appearances as I can , whether that ’ s helping the Somerset Police Department with ‘ Shop with a Cop ’ or making some appearances at Burnside ’ s Christmas Island on behalf of Lake Cumberland Recovery . Regardless , my version of Santa will return .”
Like Cate , Alexander has his own Santa suit . When Alexander got the opportunity to make appearances outside the mall for charity work , he needed his own set of red-and-white threads that didn ’ t belong to the mall already , so he decided to purchase the Christmasy costume for himself . And since Santa ’ s elves were too busy with toys to focus on tailoring , Alexander went one of the North Pole ’ s top approved alternatives .
“ A fellow actor and screenwriter friend of mine named Scott Sullivan , himself a product of the Steve Cleberg school of actors , recommended I get my Santa suit from a place called Adele ’ s of Hollywood ,”
32 • SEKY - Life in Southeast Kentucky December 2021