This is the final year Accidental Santa will be taking calls. 10 years ago this Christmas, children all across the U.S. started dialing my then-new business phone number (800-726-8222) by mistake, because it happens to be one digit off from 800-SANTACLAUS (which is not a functioning phone number). During Christmas 2006 I spent two weeks answering calls from kids all over the nation, listening to their Christmas wishes. Word of my predicament unexpectedly went viral to the point where CNN brought a satellite truck to my home for a live interview on Christmas Eve. I even met a nice lady because of all the media exposure that Christmas, and 5 years later she became my wife.

Every Christmas since 2006, volunteers from all over Santa Barbara have helped answer tens of thousands of phone calls at our “Accidental Santa” call center that I created as a result of that experience. I personally try to speak to 1,000 children a year. The volume of calls has grown to the point where more than a million children tried calling our Santa center during Christmas 2015, though we only able to answer a small fraction of them.

My 2 year old son is approaching the age where the magic of Santa is becoming part of his life, and operating a virtual North Pole in the middle of our living room, with volunteers answering the phone as Santa & Mrs. Claus, won’t work in the future. Consequently, and unfortunately, Christmas 2016 will be the last year I will be able to run the Accidental Santa call center.

The Accidental Santa call center is open December 22-24 2016, 2pm-8pm Pacific Time. To have your children speak to Santa & Mrs. Claus please have them call 800-726-8222. For more information or to volunteer to answer calls, visit Merry Christmas!


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  1. Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo says:

    My Dad is Santa??!!

  2. Rutb Ann Bowe says:

    Ahh, what a good man you are! My favorite tweet all year! Sorry to see it go, and excited for your new adventures.

  3. Rex Of SB says:

    Thanks for taking the ball and running with it 10 years ago. This is what Christmas SHOULD be all about. Over the years you’ve made Christmas lots merrier for a whole bunch of kids.

  4. George Barillo says:

    A little bittersweet but it is good to hear the little guy is getting his dose of Santa for Christmas, spent with cherished family time for lifelong memories!

  5. Curious says:

    Surely there is a way to keep this alive via volunteers or a sponsor. Are you shuttering the phone number all together? I’d think this cool service could remain as a nice PR opportunity for a major retailer.

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