Sure, he looks like Kris Kringle now, but Christopher Linnell has been impersonating Santa Claus for more tha four decades.
His first performance as Santa Claus was on December 18, 1976 for the families of the employees of the Bank of America main branch on the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam in downtown Agana…the branch was two stories tall, brand new, and very modern for Guam at the time.
In 1986 the Bank of Hawaii acquired all of Bank of America’s retail banking operations on Guam, including the building in which this performance was done; the address is 134 Soledad Avenue, 96910 Hagatna (as the island’s capital is now phonetically spelled), Guam, 96910.
Christopher was hired by branch manager Hank Vynk (shown in the center of the middle photo below, wearing glasses and a yellow shirt, holding one end of the crowd-control pole; and, below that, standing in the Santa photos), and he first that afternoon performed a marionette show for the kids as Chrisco the Clown.
Then, while Christopher changed costumes, the families dined (no doubt on pancit, lumpia, and chicken kelaquin), and then Christopher returned as Santa Claus.
Upon moving to California in 1977, Christopher continued performing as Chrisco the Clown, doing his marionette shows, and performing as Santa. He was hired by Joyce LeMar to be George Washington on President’s Day in 1983, and then again as Santa Claus that December 15-24 at the Washington Square Shopping Center in Petaluma. Subsequently Christopher was hired by Patti Hilligoss (who later went on to become the Mayor of Petaluma and a Sonoma County Supervisor) to be Santa Claus at the Petaluma Plaza & Plaza North Shopping Centers in Petaluma.
Christopher performed in hundreds of private homes and at scores of parties and promotions throughout the 1980s as Santa Claus, leading the kids in Christmas Carols, telling Christmas stories, and handing out candy canes and coloring books to all. He performed for little Kyle Galeazzi and his family on Christmas Eve of 1983, 1984, and 1985. Kyle is now the fourth generation of Galeazzi’s at Northbay Monnument Company.
Christopher eventually tired of the hot, stinky, itchy beard, though, and retired his Santa Claus professionally in the 1990s. Today, however, Christopher has grown into the role, in beard, belly, and age, and would be the perfect Santa for your home visit, holiday party, promotion, or shopping mall.
Christopher was the Santa Claus for the 12/05/11 Tree Lighting of and in the Town of Ross in Marin County, and on 12/14/11 for 60 families who were guests in the home of David Samuel, founder of Thriller Designs in 1983 and Sounds Unlimited in 1984, plus co-founder of: Spinner-1995, Brondell-2003, Grouper-2004, 4 kids-2004-2008, and Freestyle Capital in 2009.
Christopher also performed for the Galeazzi family of Rohnert Park again. Kyle Galeazzi is the fourth generation at NorthbayMonument.com, a company his great-grandfather, Massimo Galeazzi, founded in Sonoma County in 1869. Christopher was Santa for Trevor and Kyle on Christmas Eve of 1982, 1983, and 1984, and on Christmas Eve of 2011 he was Santa once again for Kyle’s son, Trevor.
You can reach Christopher at 707-762-2596, or e-mail Santa@HireAStar.net.
See a video of Christopher Linnell as Santa en Español: