Bring your Christmas to life…
His ability to transform into a truly convincing Santa Claus is beyond words. - Blue Island Park District
2014-04-26T10:07:11-06:00
His ability to transform into a truly convincing Santa Claus is beyond words. - Blue Island Park District
We can’t say enough in terms of how happy we are with their performance. - Jim and Tely Nagle
2016-12-28T08:14:40-06:00
We can’t say enough in terms of how happy we are with their performance. - Jim and Tely Nagle
I highly recommend Bob for any occasion or activity where a Santa is needed.  It will be a magical wonderful experience for all. - Margaret Buckley
2016-12-29T01:39:38-06:00
I highly recommend Bob for any occasion or activity where a Santa is needed.  It will be a magical wonderful experience for all. - Margaret Buckley
If you are looking for a Santa and Claus, please look no further. You have found them. - Lexington Square Senior Residence
2014-04-26T10:05:29-06:00
If you are looking for a Santa and Claus, please look no further. You have found them. - Lexington Square Senior Residence
"Best Santa ever! Talks to each individual, he is jolly and has a great Santa laugh. Makes young and old BELIEVE. If you need a Santa and Mrs. Claus look no further. " - Tracey Reich
2015-01-01T17:36:42-06:00
"Best Santa ever! Talks to each individual, he is jolly and has a great Santa laugh. Makes young and old BELIEVE. If you need a Santa and Mrs. Claus look no further. " - Tracey Reich
Best Santa and Mrs. Claus we have ever seen. - Steven & Nancy Wright
2015-01-01T17:44:51-06:00
Best Santa and Mrs. Claus we have ever seen. - Steven & Nancy Wright
This is not your average mall Santa. Robert has a wonderful full real beard and an authentic wardrobe that brings him into character.
2016-12-20T20:29:21-06:00
This is not your average mall Santa. Robert has a wonderful full real beard and an authentic wardrobe that brings him into character.
We are true believers because of you and I am sure we will be seeing you both for many years to come. - Michelle Blaszynski
2016-12-28T08:20:35-06:00
We are true believers because of you and I am sure we will be seeing you both for many years to come. - Michelle Blaszynski
The BEST! - Stacey Heap Vitallo
2015-01-01T17:47:40-06:00
The BEST! - Stacey Heap Vitallo
What a real Santa and Mrs. Claus - Brian Anderson
2015-01-01T17:43:36-06:00
What a real Santa and Mrs. Claus - Brian Anderson
We want to thank you for making our family Christmas celebration so special. - Barb and Jim Holmes
2016-12-29T01:27:50-06:00
We want to thank you for making our family Christmas celebration so special. - Barb and Jim Holmes
Robert and Carol are absolutely the most kind and caring people to work with. Matthew S. Ciesielczyk
2018-12-18T10:25:35-06:00
Robert and Carol are absolutely the most kind and caring people to work with. Matthew S. Ciesielczyk
I totally agree with Brian and Steve! You two look amazing! How fun! - Jennifer Aldred
2015-01-01T17:46:34-06:00
I totally agree with Brian and Steve! You two look amazing! How fun! - Jennifer Aldred

Our Holiday Hero

Above: “Santa Bob” Hildreth of Elgin plays Santa at upwards of 50 holiday events, often accompanied by Mrs. Claus, his wife, Carol.Christmas is not a job for him. It’s his genuine identity. For more than 30 years, “Santa Bob,” known to his former students as Mr. Hildreth, has gently asked children what they want under the tree and charmed adults with his folksy, genial demeanor.

He first put on the red suit as a teenager in Cicero at the request of his mom, the head of the PTA. “We need a Santa? Will you do it?” she asked him, even though he needed padding for plumpness and, of course, a white beard for facsimile. Mom must have known something.

It was his destiny to be Santa. He “grew” into the role literally, or, shall we day, figuratively. Padding was no longer needed by the time he took on the role on a consistent basis. His hair also had turned white, and his beard came in white and fluffy. He looks so much like Santa that countless times when he’s in public in regular clothes children point and their jaws drop.

Santa Bob always knows what to say. “Why are you here?” a child at a store or restaurant will stammer. “I’m making sure everything is OK.” Or, he says, “You know about the list and checking it twice? This is No. 1.”

Santa Bob, whose second home is in Elgin, also often passes out a wooden coin that says either “Caught being good” or “True believer.” He asks the child what he or she wants for Christmas and tells the child to place the coin under the tree, as the parent listens in and quickly figures out what to purchase before Dec. 25.

Bob Hildreth worked as a teacher and principal in Cicero, St. Charles, Lyons and Blue Island before retiring in 2013. He formerly lived in Downers Grove. During the holidays, his home is “decorated from top to bottom,” including no less than four trees, says Carol, his wife. Santa Bob works about 50 events a year including a summer gig in the 4th of July parade for Hinsdale. He visits children’s hospitals, retirement centers and park districts. He’s the main attraction of  Polar Expresses and straps on blades for Skate with Santa. He poses with pets for a fundraiser for the Elgin police department and hops on a red Harley with a S. Claus license plate for the ABATE Toy and Food Run in Elburn.

Mrs. Claus, conveniently played by Carol, is often at his side. She’s especially needed when young children shriek and cry at the sight of the strange-looking fellow in the red suit. “I say, ‘Go to grandma.’ They’re not afraid of her,” explains Santa Bob.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus were also scheming partners years ago when it came to their four children. The family spent Christmas Day downtown seeing the Loop Christmas windows and feasting in the Walnut Room at Marshall Field’s. They always took two cars so gifts were under the tree when they arrived home. Once two of their children somehow “caught” Santa in the act, glimpsing his backside as he placed the gifts under the tree. The children hurried to tell their parents. By the time they got to Dad, there he was still snoozing on the couch.

It’s the children they meet outside the home that make Christmas special for Santa Bob and Mrs. Claus. One year, at Shriner’s Children Hospital in Chicago, they met 9-year-old “Amy,” who had been at the hospital most of her life. “She really, really wanted glitter slime,” recalls Santa Bob. So she got it that day. But she soon gave it to another girl who was crying because there was no glitter slime left.

Those kinds of experiences, that spirit of generosity, inspires even the person who epitomizes gift-giving. “We need to always remember the real reason for Christmas,” says Santa Bob. “We need to pray and help one another. We’re all in this together, no matter our race, color or creed. Let’s enjoy life and take care of each other.”