Miracle On Oxford Street

Brian Donovan is a 41 year old self-unemployed divorced dad from London. He is a store Santa at a reputable Department Store in Central London. Here’s his story.

” I first started being ‘Santa’ in 2008, partly on my therapist’s advice. The Bill had just been axed so the acting roles dried up; of course there was always Casualty but I didn’t really want to relocate to Bristol where it’s filmed as I hardly see the boys as it is.

My last shift is Christmas Eve. I’m hanging onto the costume this year though for the Fathers For Justice campaign; we’re planning something big for the Olympics (which I admit is a shame as I had been talent spotted to play a Red Phone Box at the opening ceremony).

Obviously it’s only a short term fix; my contract is for a month, but I like to spend Novemeber getting in to character, be it by reading the kids section of the Argos book or touring the local schools to get a feel for the kids. Robert De Niro paid to have his teeth ground down for Cape Fear to get in character so why not? Plus it’s an extra chance to see the boys. I hardly see them otherwise.

The top toy this year is apparently one of those Dr Sonic the Hedgehog Screwdrivers that you get nowadays. A lot of the kids haven’t asked me for that though; seems they filled their boots in the summer with a few unexpected closing down sales.

I had this one charming lad on my knee right, very polite, and all he wanted for Christmas was a gift for his mum and dad. Can you believe it? Well I welled up for the first time since I saw my wife’s packed bags in the hall that day (Stephen must be nearly 9 now?). He didn’t tell me what he wanted to get for them but on my lunch break I did see him browsing the Sodastream department. I hope he kept the receipt.

There was a bit of trouble with a rival department store at first; they’d gone for one of them foreign Santa’s from Ollieandstan or somewhere (he had his own beard and reindeer apparently). Them foreign Santa’s. Christmas is the most British thing around; It’s a celebration of a rape victim giving birth to a semi-fictituous jewish Bastard King. In modern day Israel. It even sounds like a Carry On film. Is nothing holy anymore?

I’ll be sad when it’s all over for another year though. I’m going for a drink with some of the elves on Chritmas Eve eve. I’m on the shorts.”

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