My main business line 800-SANTABARBARA (800-726-8222) just happens to be one digit off from 800-SANTACLAUS (800-726-8225). Consequently each year around Christmas I receive thousands of phone calls from mis-dialing kiddies trying to reach Old St. Nick.

When I first activated the phone number in December, 2006, I played along, personally taking calls from nearly 1000 children. After the News-Press wrote a story about my predicament, which subsequently hit the A.P. wire, local and national media swarmed my home and rebroadcast my phone number all over the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of calls pouring in.

Ever since then I have run a Santa Claus call center, with volunteers taking turns playing Santa, Mrs. Claus or an Elf. Be sure to have your children call 800-726-8222 December 20-24, noon – 8 p.m. For more information visit

COAST TO COAST: Last year the Accidental Santa call center plotted on a map where some of the children’s calls were coming from. The map represents about 5% of the calls we answered. Each dot represents a call from a child in that state (not the exact location within the state). Call 800-726-8222 December 20-24 noon-8pm.

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  1. Pete Durand, says:

    This is a great story John! 🙂 Sounds like lots of fun!

  2. Justine says:

    I’ve volunteered for Santa’s call center a few times and it
    is a lot of fun! John is a guy with a big heart and it is easy to
    see how much he enjoys spreading holiday cheer =)

  3. Clare says:

    Thank you Santa and ms. Elf for making my daughter’s wishes
    even more real! I frequent the restaurant guy and stumbled across
    your accidental santa info. What a treat! Merry Christmas!

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