Christmas may be a month away, but the spirit of giving was present in Costa Mesa this week when a local resident donated a new chair for Santa Claus to use in the city’s annual Snoopy House holiday display.
The offering from Luis Castro is a brown leather number large enough to comfortably fit the big man and a young visitor or two but also sufficiently short for a group to easily cluster around for a photo.
“It’s really a beautiful chair and we just feel so blessed to have it,” said Jennifer Christ, community liaison for the city of Costa Mesa. “It’s in beautiful, amazing condition.”
Castro was unavailable for an interview Wednesday morning.
For the past three years, Santa has sat in a sleigh during his appearances at Snoopy House, a long-running community tradition featuring holiday decorations patterned on the “Peanuts” comic strip.
However, Christ said “Santa’s bottom gets a little tired sitting on the wooden sleigh for an entire evening, so we were looking for something a little more friendly for Santa that also went with the scenery.”
Though the city could have bought a new chair or had one made, Christ decided to reach out to residents via social media to see if anyone was willing to give Santa a seat.
“It was just a wild idea,” she said. “I thought it might be a fun way to involve the community.”
Castro was among the first to answer the call, and his act of “chairity” was exactly what the city was looking for.
“He just was so generous,” Christ said.
Snoopy House opens its 52nd season Dec. 14 and will be open nightly through Dec. 23 in front of Costa Mesa City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.
The display, which started in 1966 at the Eastside home of Jim and Linda Jordan, moved to City Hall in 2011. City officials say it now draws about 80,000 visitors each year.