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Glasgow Live
Glasgow Live
Amy Duffy

What it's like to be Santa and how he makes Christmas magical for families across Glasgow

Everyone loves, and has most likely met, Santa.

The big man is watching year round to check if we're being naughty or nice and with the festive season well underway, it's fair to say he's pretty busy right now.

Luckily, he had some time spare to chat to Glasgow Live all about Christmas, his special suit and how much he loves to see the wonder on the kids (and their parents) faces.

READ MORE: Glasgow schoolgirl applies for job in local shop with adorable handwritten letter

Ian Williams has been Santa for years, spreading festive joy around the Glasgow area and competing with other Santas around the country on who has the best costume.

He said: "I started off as a professional clown actually, from about the age of 14. The first time I was asked to be Santa was supposed to be a one-off but I just absolutely loved it.

"The magic that Santa represents is the very best in the world, it's a beautiful thing to be able to see the wonder in all of the children's eyes. Sometimes, just for a split second, I can even fool the parents too and that's brilliant.

"I've really done a lot of research into St Nicholas and watched every Christmas film I can get my hands on because I think the more facts you know, the easier it is to fool the kids. Whatever version of Santa they have in their head I can go along with."

Ian has built his repertoire up over the years and now has the most realistic costume - or 'suit' as he prefers to call it - he can have. A wig, beard and moustache of the highest quality, a fantastic suit with all of the correct undergarments and even boots specially made from all the way in Lapland.

Not only that, his broad Scottish accent completely changes as soon as he gets into character. His colloquialisms disappear and he really does sound like the Santa that we've all imagined at some point.

He added: "The best thing you can do is fool yourself. I like to get really into character and all of these wee things that other people either don't know about or don't notice help me to be the most realistic I can be. My boots come all the way from Lapland and the suit has pockets - people don't realise that the cheaper suits don't even have pockets and it's the little things that make all the difference.

"I actually really enjoy when kids have questions. I can understand why it would make some nervous but I get so into it myself that it's like my mouth opens and Santa really does speak. I'll reply to a kid just off the cuff and in the back of my head I'm thinking 'that was really good, how on earth did I come up with that'.

"I don't have kids myself but I have kids in my family and they just really make it a proper Christmas, so it's always an honour when families put their trust in me. I just want to help keep the magic for as long as possible for them.

Ian loves to help share the magic of Christmas (Supplied)

"I'll do silly things like tell families I'm really busy this year and that it would be great if they could go to bed a bit earlier so I can get round the world quicker. The parents love it and the kids are so up for it just because Santa asked."

Year round Ian prepares for his busiest time of year and keeps in touch with other Santas around the country, with their now being a pretty big network of them to share tips and tricks.

"We all try to one-up each other to be honest," Ian said. "We recommend manufacturers and businesses to each other and when one of us comes up with a unique idea we all try to top it. I think the best piece of advice I've had from another Santa is to find what truth you can in it.

"Now Santa never had any kids - I know he does in some films but in the more traditional versions he doesn't. Neither do I. He builds toys and I'm an engineer so it's got it's similarities. The more I can convince myself that it's real and that as soon as I put on that suit I'm him, then the easier it is to convince everyone else."

Ian offers special visits throughout the Glasgow area, depending on timing between bookings, as well as video calls. To find out more, you can visit Ian's Facebook page here.


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