It’s Not Christmas Without Santa

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - December 16, 2009
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Mike Ching aka Father Christmas

It’s not easy being Santa Claus.

Mike Ching appears as Santa at hotels, malls and in advertisements with his company Honolulu Santa. If he can’t be there, he has a handful of trusted backups who fill in for him.

One of the keys to being a good Santa is to stay in character.

“I am smiling and upbeat for the whole time,” he says. “People can see your eyes. You have to keep up that Santa-charisma. That’s really important.”

Santa’s suit is another important factor. Ching has the classic Santa look,and also an old-fashioned European Father Christmas costume, which took two years of research to come up with. Upholstery material and padding help fine tune the look that costume maker Kathe James created.


“Santas have to make people say ‘Wow!’” he says. “‘Wow!’ is my business.”

And, he says, Santa acknowledges everybody, even the adults.

“He’ll shake everyone’s hand and say it is good to see you again,” Ching explains.

Ching, a UH communications and theater major who also is a magician, first played Santa when he was 9 years old, and was first fascinated by magic at the age of 5.

He enlisted the help of his sister to make him a Santa outfit when he was 27 and has offered his services to the hospitality and advertising industry ever since. He dons costumes for conventions in addition to performing as a magician with his company Magical Entertainments Hawaii.

He uses his Santa career to supplement his magical one.

He acknowledges the help and support of the many teachers, partners, friends, family and clients who have helped him through the years.

The Moanalua Valley resident gets his hands on anything Santa-related that he can. He even set up his Web site to offer tips for others who also would like to be Santa.

“It is not Christmas until we get to be Santa,” says Ching.

For more information, call 836-1800, or log onto

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