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The Real Santa Dad

I have a personal story about serendipity, Santa Claus and my dad. I’ll tell it through the eyes of my husband and myself. Everything we are going to share is true – believe me, you cannot make something like this up. (The story is a little long but worth reading and seeing the picture at the end.)

Oleg’s Story:

Sharon’s dad and I loved photography. Our favorite subjects were lighthouses and freighters. Living in Michigan with access to the Great Lakes gave us a tremendous variety of subjects to photograph and places to explore.

On one of our day trips we drove to East Tawas on Lake Huron, which is home to the East Tawas Lighthouse. The day was fairly normal. Dad was doing his thing and I was doing mine. We headed in different directions and didn’t see each other for an hour or longer. When my stomach started to rumble I decided to find dad and head out for some lunch.

I asked dad if he was ready for lunch and he said he was. Then he nodded in the direction of two women with cameras and said that they had asked him if they could photograph him. I asked him what he said. He told me he said, “Sure if you want to waste your film.” That was dad, always a witty remark. We both thought it was unusual that the women would want to photograph him, but we quickly forget about it and headed off to have lunch.

Sharon’s Story:

Fast forward from the end of Oleg’s story maybe two or three years. I was booked to speak to at woman’s conference being held at a local hotel located about two miles from our house. This hotel was nowhere near East Tawas or Lake Huron. In fact, it was miles from the East Tawas Lighthouse.

There were various vendors setting up their tables of products. There were tables of skin care, candles, books, and other products for sale. I was also offering my books so we had a table too. At the table across from ours a woman began setting up her artwork – they were handmade one of a kind unique holiday decorations.

I didn’t think much about it and decided I’d visit her table as soon I got myself settled. As I looked over again, a Santa Claus figure sitting on tree stump caught my attention. I thought Santa looked vaguely familiar.

I walked up to the table and stopped in my tracks – I couldn’t do anything but stare at the Santa’s face. It looked just like my dad. Really, just like my dad. The same blue eyes, same glasses, same wrinkles and almost the same beard.

I quickly found Oleg and brought him over to her table without telling him why. He stopped in his tracks and said, “That Santa looks just like dad!”

I looked at the artist, who was a woman about my age. I told her how much the Santa resembled my dad and in fact, it was uncanny. Did she live in the area and could she have known him from somewhere? No, she didn’t live in the area and was here just to participate in the conference.

Then she began to tell us how she created her unique holiday Santa’s. When she saw interesting faces that she thought would make a good looking Santa, she’d ask to take a picture of them. I said, where did you take a picture of this Santa? She said at a lighthouse on Lake Huron. Oleg looked surprised and asked, “Do you mean at East Tawas?” She nodded her head yes.

The artist said the man and his son-in-law were there to take pictures of lighthouses. It was my dad! Santa was my dad.

A picture of the art work and my dad side by side

Who would have imagined we would be at that place, at that time, and meet the artist who took a picture of my father and created a look alike Santa Claus?

Needless to say, we bought the Santa immediately. The artist said he would be one-of-a-kind. Every Christmas we brought out Santa Dad to place on our coffee table and every Christmas Oleg and dad would tell the story of Santa Dad.

When dad passed away eleven years ago I stopped bringing out Santa Dad because it made me sad. Last week Oleg found Santa Dad among our decorations and placed him on the coffee table. Looking at dad’s face didn’t make me sad, it made me smile and remember all the happy Christmas moments we shared together. Here’s to my Santa Dad.
© Copyright 2012 SharonMichaels.com – All Rights Reserved
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I’m Sharon Michaels and I teach you how to do business successfully. http://SharonMichaels.com
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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Sheila Morrison December 12, 2012, 7:28 am

    Sharon, what a neat story! I lost my dad two years ago and I am decorating for Chirstmas and have things that remind me of him. He always read the Christmas story from the Bible before we opened our gifts each Christmas. I remember how anxious I was as a young girl, waiting for him to finish the story so I could open my gifts. Now, I understand. So…before we open our gifts this year, the Christmas story will be read to my children and grandchildren. Thanks for reminding me of my dad, Sharon!

  • Deborah December 12, 2012, 7:30 am

    That’s a great story Sharon. What are the odds of you running across this woman years later and recognizing your dad in the Santa face. Great story.

  • sharonmichaels December 12, 2012, 7:46 am

    I read the story just now and I go teary. Finding that Santa Dad is so vivid in my mind – I remember every detail.

    Thank you for the positive comments!

  • sharonmichaels December 12, 2012, 7:49 am

    Hold those memories tight! Glad you’re carrying on the family tradition.

  • grace December 12, 2012, 11:16 am

    Loved your Santa Dad story. What a great gift to have and to share this wonderful story.

  • Meli December 12, 2012, 8:27 pm

    What a lovely story Sharon! And such a wonderful way to bring your Dad back at this time of the year!!

    • sharonmichaels December 13, 2012, 5:19 am

      Holidays bring back such personal memories – thank you for allowing me to share mine with you!

  • Deborah December 15, 2013, 8:23 am

    I remember this story from last year. It’s so great. What are the chances of you running into this woman again? And, I love how you bought the Santa and have a remembrance of your dad that is so unique.

    • sharonmichaels December 15, 2013, 8:37 am

      When we unpacked our holiday decorations this year, I remembered the Santa Dad story.
      Seeing Santa Dad on the coffee table makes me smile. Happy memories. 🙂

  • Marilyn Sarno December 21, 2015, 6:44 pm

    Sharon I love you and Oleg’s Santa Dad story.
    Thanks so much. Your work is so important to the world of women doing business!

    • sharonmichaels December 22, 2015, 4:56 am


      Thank you so much – this story means so much to me.

      Santa Dad is on our coffee table right now, overseeing all the holiday preparations.


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