While most people are strategizing Black Friday shopping and anticipating holiday parties galore, Jim Manning of Somerville is getting ready for his busiest time of year. A professional Santa Claus since 2004, “Santa Jim” is preparing for what will be another marathon December.
One of Manning’s most important Santa duties is being the official Santa Claus for the Annual Boston Common Tree Lighting Ceremony. “The City of Boston is thrilled to have Jim Manning as our Santa for Boston's Official Tree Lighting on Boston Common,” says Ryan Woods, Director of External Affairs for Boston Parks and Recreation.
Unlike most Santas, Jim is a full-time children's entertainer performing for children year round. You may have seen him as the great “Jungle Jim” at a birthday party, library, or school assembly. During the month of December, Manning pauses as entertainer “Jungle Jim” and only wears the red suit.
Santa Boston makes appearances all over New England. Most visits are for private events requesting traditional Santa duties, while other requests can be very unique like accompanying a wedding proposal or flying in a helicopter. Santa Boston does it all.
“It's amazing to have gone from putting on the Santa suit for my friend's two nieces to doing it professionally and having visited way over 10,000 kids now,” commented Manning about his work with Santa Boston. “I couldn't be more passionate about being Santa. I think I enjoy the whole experience as much as the kids or customers. Here at Santa Boston we're trying to exceed expectations with every event that we do.”
According to Santa Boston, the holiday visit includes storytelling, magic tricks, the wish list on Santa’s lap, and wonderful photos with Santa. Being that Manning is a trained baritone, some serious Santa singing should be expected too.