A day in the life of Santa at the Chico Marketplace

A day in the life of Santa at the Chico Marketplace

CHICO — Santa Claus has been busy taking photos, eating cookies and making special appearances at events at the Chico Marketplace this Christmas season.

On Wednesday, Dec. 22 Santa had lots of photos to take and a gingerbread making event to attend. He first arrived at his workshop at 11 a.m. in the Chico Marketplace next to American Eagle Outfitters. Mrs. Claus made an appearance in the morning to help out her husband.

Santa speaks to children and takes holiday pictures with them for most of the day. His elves help the process go smoothly. Dottie Quimby, the head elf and set manager, said that this is her first year being an elf and helping out Santa.

“I was running a construction company before this,” she said. “I really just wanted to have fun and enjoy the season this year and I couldn’t have asked for a better Santa to hang out with every single day.”

Quimby helps guide the children in, poses them for photos, makes sure that everyone including Santa is looking at the camera, takes the photos and talks to the adults. She said that people are waiting outside of Santa’s workshop for about an hour before it opens.

People wait in line outside of Santa’s Workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 at the Chico Marketplace in Chico, California. (Rebekah Ludman/Enterprise-Record)

As Quimby takes photos and talks to the adults, Santa talks to the kids and asks them what they want for Christmas. He hears a variety of requests from Barbies to bikes to Lego. One boy asked if he could drive the sleigh, but the reindeer were resting up.

Santa also tries his best to make the kids feel comfortable.  He will even do a funny face picture with the kids. Some children were extremely excited to see him and some were more nervous and hesitant to meet him. Sometimes parents of nervous kids have to put their child down and run off of the set, so they can get their photo with the jolly old elf.

As Santa takes photos and talks to the kids, Mrs. Claus makes sure that he has enough chocolate and candy canes for all of the children.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus are also known as John and Janie Bujaci. They were in Colorado when they received a call from the North Pole. The elves were letting them know that Amaze Matte, a company that does holiday photos with Santa, asked for Santa to come and meet children at the Chico Marketplace.

Quimby said that right now, for the safety of Santa, Mrs. Claus and babies under 6 months old, Santa can’t give out hugs or hold any children over 6 months old.

“It’s less likely to come in contact with any of the big bad stuff when they’re little,” she said. “Because they’re not picking things up and putting them in Santa’s mouth.”

Any kids over the age of 6 months old can give a high-five or a fist bump to Sana. For the photos, the kids typically just stand next to Santa. There are also a lot of adults who like to get their photo taken with Kriss Kringle too.

At about 3 p.m. Santa takes a break to go feed his reindeer. On Wednesday, he made a pit stop until 3:15 p.m. at the gingerbread decorating event that took place inside of the Chico Marketplace. After he spoke to some children and looked at their gingerbread decorating skills, Santa went to go eat and feed his reindeer.

Head Elf Dottie Quimby takes Santa Claus to the gingerbread decorating event Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 at the Chico Marketplace in Chico, California. (Rebekah Ludman/Enterprise-Record)

On a typical day, Santa would get back into him workshop at around 4 p.m. but because of the gingerbread decorating event, Claus went back to his workshop at around 4:15 p.m. with a line waiting for him. Quimby plays “Here Comes Santa Claus” as Santa makes his way back into his workshop.

There was another gingerbread decorating event at 4:30 p.m. in the Chico Marketplace at which Santa made another special appearance. After his special appearance at the event, he made his way back to his workshop.

Santa spent the rest of the day talking to children, getting their Christmas wishes, and taking photos. He packs up for the day at 8 p.m. so he can get enough rest for the next day.

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