Letters to Santa
It is with great pleasure I recommend Bob and Carol Hildreth as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. They are wonderful people to work with! I first met Bob and Carol at the charity event, Pet Photos with Santa, for the Elgin Police Department. We worked together at this event for the past three years. They were cordial and professional as they interacted with each family who brought their pets in to be photographed. They also worked calmly and lovingly with the animals placed on or near their laps. I enjoyed working with Bob and Carol at this charity event so much, I hired them for my own Christmas mini sessions and have used them for the past two years.
When it came to my own mini sessions, I found that Bob and Carol work just as well with people as they do with the animals. My clients absolutely rave about them. Not only do they look authentic, but they are extremely good with children. The married duo are retired educators and know how to work with children who have special needs and/or who might be afraid to meet them. They are able to quickly “size up” a situation and approach my young clients in a way that makes getting those cute shots achievable. They know when not to force things, which could make matters worse and possibly more stressful. In addition, when things weren’t going as smoothly, they offered some suggestions of things we could try so that we could still get a shot with Santa in the picture without traumatizing the child.
Another thing I really enjoy when working with Bob and Carol is that they help me to feel at ease when I am photographing my minis. Oftentimes, mini sessions are scheduled back to back so the photographer can photograph as many families as possible in a short time. When you add in the factor that a child might be hesitant to take a picture with Santa, the pressure can be great when trying to stay on schedule. Together, Bob, Carol and I work as a team to get each session accomplished. Their flexibility and intuitiveness is always appreciated. They know when to step aside and let me get holiday pictures without them and when to jump in. What I really love is that when they are not needed, they interact and talk with clients who are early and waiting for their session. I have noticed that when they do this, it often “warms up” my clients so that they aren’t scared and they are ready to go when the time comes.
Perhaps my most favorite thing about working with Bob and Carol is the little bit of magic they give at the close of each session. Upon saying goodbye to my young clients, Santa pulls out a special wooden coin for each child to take and tells them to put it under the tree on Christmas Eve. He explains to the children that the coin will remind him they met and he will leave them something a little extra special that year. That look of anticipation on the children’s faces, wondering what Santa will leave them for Christmas, is priceless and takes me back to when I was a kid. Not to mention, it’s a special added touch that my little clients’ parents remember and love.
It is for all these reasons that Bob and Carol Hildreth will always be my Santa and Mrs. Claus. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing such an important role in my Christmas mini sessions.
Lens 2 Life Photography
For the past 3 years, we have had the pleasure of having Santa Bob and Mrs. Clause (Carol) assist us in our Santa Connection. This is not a normal Santa gig. Santa brings his experience virtually to children in some Chicagoland and Wisconsin hospitals. Using video conferencing and telehealth solutions, Santa delivers his message and joy to these children. The smiles on their faces are inspiring to all of us on the technology end of the call.
Since we are using technology, there are challenges and obstacles, but Santa Bob and Mrs. Carol are professionals and bring smiles to the children every time.
We are so fortunate to have met this awesome couple. We get to spend 2 whole days with them every year and at the end of these 2 emotionally draining days, we make sure to schedule our dates for the next year.
Highly recommended, just don’t try to take our dates!
Sr Analyst, Information Services
1400 Kensington Rd
Oak Brook, IL 60523
December 17th, 2018
To Whom It May Concern:
I couldn’t be happier to recommend my close personal friends, Robert, and Carol Hildreth, otherwise known as Santa and Mrs. Claus. I have had the pleasure of working with Robert and Carol for the past three years and can confidently say that they are absolutely the most kind and caring people to work with.
Robert and Carol have assisted the Elgin Police Department Animal Control Unit with our annual “Pet Photos with Santa” event since 2016. Robert and Carol have volunteered their time each year to sit and meet with pets from around the Elgin area, without any request for compensation or recognition. Robert and Carol truly embrace the rolls as Santa and Mrs. Claus as they are patient and loving with the pets, but also take time out to talk to each child that comes in for photos with their families.
Ever since we first met, Robert and Carol’s incredible friendliness and interpersonal skills have always impressed me. They truly embrace the magic of the season, from their tailored costumes to the custom wooden coins they hand out to the children. More importantly, everyone who interacts with Robert and Carol are always blown away by their selfless, kind, and warm-hearted nature, making it very easy to believe in Santa once again.
It is truly a privilege and an honor to have worked with Robert and Carol, and I look forward to working them in the future. I wholeheartedly recommend their services to anyone looking for a Santa and Mrs. Claus and assure you that their commitment to their characters are without a doubt the best I have seen. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Matthew S. Ciesielczyk
Animal Control Officer
Elgin Police Department
Dear Robert and Carol aka “Santa and Mrs. Claus”,
Thank you so much for making our annual Breakfast with Santa spectacular. We have received many calls, emails and social media comments on how authentic you both are from head to toe. One of my most favorite comments comes from a guest in her 50’s stating that every year she comes to the event, because seeing you both makes her “believe”. Guests of all ages enjoy seeing you; even we employees can’t wait to hear that “Santa and Mrs. Claus are on grounds.”
I am honored to work with the real Santa and Mrs. Claus year after year! Thank you for all you do for us.
All the best-
Chicago Botanic Garden; Coordinator Visitor Events and Programs
To Whom It May Concern,
It’s my absolute pleasure to recommend Robert and Carol Hildreth to portray Santa and Mrs. Claus at your next event.
I have known the Hildreth’s for four years now and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with them. They have portrayed Santa and Mrs. Claus at our annual Breakfast with Santa and Polar express events, as well as participating in our July 4th parade.
When you think of the traditional Santa and Mrs. Claus, you imagine jolly, friendly, smiling people who bring joy to all around them. In addition to Roberts’s natural beard and Santa-like presence, and Carol’s bright personality, they both fully embody these characteristics. They have helped take our events to a new level and have been an absolute pleasure to work with.
Without a doubt I confidently recommend Robert and Carol, as Santa and Mrs. Claus, to join your next event. I know they will be a wonderful addition and asset to your organization.
Please feel free to contact me at should you like to discuss the Hildreths’ qualifications and experience further. I’d be happy to expand on my recommendation.
Manager of Parks & Recreation
Village of Hinsdale
Santa and Mrs. Claus have been visiting the kids here at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago for the last few years. We get so excited for their visit. They make sure all the kids are seen in our outpatient clinic to our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Santa and Mrs. Claus are the real deal.
Santa is so patient and takes the time to listen to the kids share their stories and what they wish for Christmas. He has a way to communicating with our patients no matter their background, their age, or their interests. He can spontaneously have a conversation with ease and can even answer their questions about the elf on a shelf. Santa has a myriad of knowledge as he has proven he can relate to any child at any age.
When you look at Santa, you believe. The authenticity is remarkable. The kids AND adults stand in amazement and take a double take as if they are saying to themselves “Do you see what I see”? As a children’s hospital we get many characters visit during the holidays. Many of our teen patients are not interested in approaching them at all. THIS Santa however is different and ALL of our patients whether 2 or 21 enjoy talking with him and invite them in. He has the ability to touch the hearts of so many with his warmth and caring nature.
I highly recommend Robert for your holiday events. He is authentic and has a heart of gold. You will not be disappointed.
Darlene Kelly, CTRS
Director Recreation Therapy/.Child Life Department
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago
I have worked with Bob and Carol now for about 5 years. Our relationship started out with portraits of them, Santa headshots, and quickly moved to working together on many projects as Santa. From small quaint occasions to all out hundreds of people waiting in line. Each time I am impressed with him. I hear that time and time again from different clients we’ve worked with as well. No matter the crowd he makes it seem like you’ve known him for years. Children aside, he knows how to handle adults as well, which is very important. When it comes with dealing with children is where Bob shines the most. Yes, he makes an outstanding looking Santa but his skills with the kids is where he really shines. He makes each one feel special, even in a group setting. He talks with them, laughs with them, he listens to them. Bob and Carol are very professional and both love kids dearly, they know how to care for them, and how to manage them as well. I would recommend Bob in a heartbeat, I love working with them.
Aldo Risolvo, Photographer
I have known Bob Hildreth for the past three years. I am the media specialist at the school where Bob is principal. During this three year period I have had many opportunities to observe and admire his great character and abilities to work with many different personalities in children as well as adults. We have a Family Reading Night every year right before Christmas and Santa (Bob) is our major draw. Parents and children line up to have a chance to talk to the REAL SANTA. When the children lay eyes on him they are in awe. His appearance is eloquent:
real hair, real mustache, and a very sophisticated and magnificent Santa suit. They stand in amazement and just stare for a few minutes before they finally approach.
The children warm up to Bob in a special way. He has the ability to focus on each individual with warmth and care responding spontaneously to their requests and concerns. These excellent people skills along with his striking appearance have set him apart from the run of the mill Santa. His appearance is eloquent and classic.
I highly recommend Bob for any occasion or activity where a Santa is needed. He will exceed any expectations you may have for the event. It will be a magical wonderful experience for all.
Kerr Middle School
We want to thank you for making our family Christmas celebration so special again this year. As we gather on Christmas Eve, your visit is a highlight. Our younger grandchildren are convinced that you are really Santa and they are so excited to have you with us. When we look at the pictures and see their faces again, it gives us so much joy. The older ones believe in Christmas magic again when you arrive and they really enjoy watching their little cousins interact with you. The adults also look forward to seeing the joy of Christmas that Santa can bring amid remembering the birth of Jesus so many years ago. We all become kids again for a brief moment.
We hope that we can look forward to more visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus in the future and we wish you a very Happy New Year.
With our appreciation,
Barb and Jim Holmes
Dear Santa Robert,
I would like to thank you for the huge part that you and Mrs. Claus play in my daughters holiday season. For the last few years you both have been coming to our cookie exchange party as a secret visitor. When you walk in the door all eyes are on you, not just because of the red suit, but because you both personally have made a heartfelt impression on my girls and their friends. They LOVE how you take the time to listen to all the things they have to say, not just their wish list of toys. Continue reading