Photo provided by Kellie Trenkle, Captivating Photography
The Real St. Nick
The last thing a parent wants during an annual Christmas photo op with Santa is a perfunctory visit, or a terrified screaming toddler. Or, worse yet, an un-vetted, un-safe Santa.
For the last 12 years, local families have avoided all of those problems with a Santa who is not a neophyte, Steve Barfield, known as Santa Steve, has been filling the role of Santa locally since 2007. Barfield strives to make each child feel important. “My goal is to give each child as much time as they will allow, within reason of course,” says Barfield.
Prior to 2007 when he filled in as Santa for a coworker, Barfield had never put on a Santa suit; now he owns several suits that are tailored for him by a business in Colorado.
Barfield won’t lie to the kids, when they ask if he is real. “Of course I’m real, touch my arm, feel my beard, I am as real as you,” says Barfield. If the children continue to press him, he tells them that he is one of Santa’s helpers. He also never promises to bring the children what they ask for, instead telling them that he is very interested in knowing what is on their list.
That comment shows Barfield’s understanding of how important the role of Santa really is. Many parents are concerned for the emotional wellbeing of children and the impact gifts from Santa may have on them. “Not every family is financially able to give big gifts, so I never say big gifts like a bike are from Santa,” says parent Kristen Stringer, “I don’t want my child to go back to school saying Santa brought them a bike, and have other kids wonder why Santa didn’t bring them a bike.”
Barfield is often able to get even reluctant children to take photos with him. “I don’t push; what I try to do is become friends with them in some way,” says Barfield, “I try to establish with them, the excitement that I have, to have my picture taken with them.”
Barfield has made appearances at the Douglas County Christmas Craft Fair, various schools and businesses, private parties, fundraising events for United Way, the YMCA, nursing homes, memory care facilities and the photo boutique at Garden Valley Shopping Center.
This season Santa can be visited at the Douglas County Christmas Craft Fair or at the Garden Valley Shopping Center. If readers bring this article or a snapshot of this article with them when they see Santa at the Garden Valley Shopping Center, they will get $2 off their first Keepsake Portrait if they choose to order a photo.
If readers bring this article or a snapshot of this article with them when they see Santa at the Garden Valley Shopping Center, they will get $2 off their first Keepsake Portrait if they choose to order a photo.
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