For many of us, the idea of Santa Claus is believing that a bit of magic exists in this world. Santa embodies the spirit of Christmas, and he spreads love and kindness to everyone he encounters. Santa Paul Hillier took some time out of his busy schedule to share why kindness is so important and how he uses his gift to teach this to children not only during the holiday season but throughout the entire year.
Santa Paul Hillier
Paul Hillier lives in Toronto, Canada. He describes himself as such: “I look like a jolly old elf. I’m 5’3” and I have a bowl full of jelly.” Paul had toyed with the idea of becoming Santa Claus for years—even his uncle dressed as Santa. In 2013, Paul started making this dream a reality. He went online to search for a Santa Suit, and he quickly became immersed in the entire world of all-things-Santa-Claus.
Between 2013 and today, Paul has done everything in his power to become Santa. He commissioned a bespoke Santa suit and a custom-made beard, has traveled to Albion, New York where he took the official Santa Claus oath and travels yearly to attend the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan (also called the ‘Harvard of Santa Schools’). At this school, Paul along with other Santas learned what it means to embody the spirit of Christmas and to spread the message of kindness.
More than a Job
For Paul, this isn’t just a profession. It’s a way to make a difference in his entire community. A moment that still sticks out to Paul is his first home visit in 2015—yes, Santa makes at-home visits when he can. At this particular visit, one woman had recently given birth to a baby boy. She handed Santa her baby son, Michael, and Paul felt connected to him instantly. Since that moment, Paul has loved working with young children, inspiring them, and making a difference in their lives.
Now that Paul has been Santa for a few years, he has seen some of the kids in his community on more than one occasion. He’s seen them grow, and it’s one of his favorite parts. To these kids, Paul is ‘their Santa’. While Paul does do hired events, he does about as many charity and pro-bono events. He visits hospitals and does in-home visits with children who may be too ill to go visit Santa. These moments mean the world to Paul and his wife, who don’t have children of their own.
At the Charles W Howard Santa Claus School, attendees are taught how to share the magic of Christmas with young children. They learn how to speak to children on their level, and to teach them about the importance of being kind. “That’s what we do as Santas. We talk about Kindness and joy.”, Paul says.
Kindness is always something that has been a core belief for Paul. He drives a red car that says ‘Santa’ on the side, which stands out in his community. Often times at restaurants, another patron will offer to pay for his meal. Because of this, he does whatever he can to pay it forward in other ways around his community.
Santa joins The Kindness Rocks Project
By complete accident, Paul stumbled upon The Kindness Rocks Project. Once he learned about it, he knew he had to get involved. He saw this project as a way that he, as well as other Santas, could spread Christmas joy throughout the entire year, and not just during the holiday season. He got in touch with Megan Murphy, the founder of the Kindness Rocks Project, and he even became an ambassador.
Paul calls his initiative The Christmas Kindness Rocks Project. He’s shared the concept of painting kindness rocks with Santas in about 30 states so that they can host their own rock-painting events. His goal is to visit schools or daycares and work with children year-round, spreading messages of kindness, love, and respect. The Christmas Kindness Rocks Project can be a fun activity for Santa to do with the children when he visits.
What started as a fun idea has completely changed Paul Hillier’s life for the better. He has truly made a difference in his community, and he will surely continue to do so. Santa Claus is looked at by children as an inspiration—someone who inspires faith, hope, kindness, and giving. Paul is honored to spread a little Christmas magic each year, and brighten the hearts of so many.
To join in on the rock-painting fun, get your own paint kit and get started today!