Spreading Christmas Cheer, Hope, and Joy
“I still believe in Santa!” an elderly man whispered to Mrs. Claus, while she was shopping locally. “Look there’s Santa!” another little boy cried! The delight Santa and Mrs. Claus observe on excited faces during the Christmas season is one of many reasons why the couple has started the nonprofit organization, “Making Lives Jolly.”
Adam and Shannon Quail were married in December 2015 at Christmas. They both love the Christmas season and joked about dressing as Santa and Mrs. Claus for their wedding. From there, the couple began attending events as Santa and Mrs. Claus, with the purpose of bringing smiles and joy to people of all ages.
“We love to see the joy and hope on people’s faces. No matter the age,” Shannon shared. “We want to spread joy, hope, and happiness – sharing the real reason of Christmas!”
One of her favorite memories came while shopping in Wal-Mart and a little boy was misbehaving for his mother. As they were walking out of the store, Mrs. Claus walked up to the little boy and said, “Santa is always watching!” Suddenly, this little boy stopped being naughty and his mother was able to easily get him and her purchases into the vehicle.
“I sat in my ‘sleigh’ and watched as she got in her vehicle and visibly sighed in relief,” Shannon said. “If I can help a stressed-out mom have a brief moment of relief that is joy to me.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus enjoy dressing up for all their events, talking to kids of all ages. Mrs. Claus welcomes the children as they get up to Santa. She asks how old they are and if they’d like to tell Santa what they’d like for Christmas. “I love seeing the smiles on their faces,” Adam said. “Hearing them say, ‘Santa is real!’”
Some children bring lists and others are too shy to share. They take pictures with the children who visit and listen for ways they can help. “High schoolers love the picture taking almost more than any age,” Adam added.
Shannon shared that little babies are good with Santa until about eight months old and then they get a little uncertain. “Sometimes a child only gets as far as Mrs. Claus but that is okay!”
Santa and Mrs. Claus were really excited this past year, when a family with a special needs child gained the confidence to take a picture with Santa. “The time was right! We were shopping at the store and had our elves with - the child came running up wanting a picture!” Shannon shared. “The family had tried several times over the years but this time was right.”
The couple’s elves are their kids and sometimes their friends. They help with bigger events and help bring smiles and cheer.
The couple has done photo shoots and visits at family gatherings, and at events at places like Del’s Garden Center, Paullina Hometown Christmas, Turq, and Allure & Co. This July, they enjoyed “Christmas in July” with a family celebrating Christmas early.
“Our favorite is when we make a stop after an event and we’re still in our clothes. The kids get so excited,” Adam said. “One time we stopped at Fareway after being at Del’s Garden Center. The kids would be peaking down the aisles, whispering. When we got to the register, there was a line of workers wanting pictures with Santa. We said, ‘Of course!”
Similarly, to the original St. Nick, the Quails desire to help families and individuals going through unexpected life circumstances. They want to give hope and joy to families in need or who could use some extra cheer. “We want to be able to spread Christmas cheer, hope, and joy all year long,” Shannon said. “This is one of the reasons why we started ‘Making Lives Jolly.’”
After Shannon lost her first husband to cancer, her family received anonymous gifts of cheer. “It meant a lot to us and showed that people cared during a really hard time,” she said.
Their nonprofit organization “Making Lives Jolly” asks for a $100/hr donation for Santa’s services, which goes directly back into spreading cheer, hope, and joy to those in need. Last year, they gave back to Upper Des Moines and Shannon’s hometown of Paullina.
“We talked to the grocery store in Paullina, and they knew which families could use a little extra cheer, so they were able to give them gift cards. Our dream is to be able to make someone’s day with that extra cheer when they need it most,” Adam shared. “I want to be able to go out and randomly hand out gift cards and make someone’s day.”
If you would like to help spread some Christmas cheer, feel free to send donations to "Making Lives Jolly." Someday, the couple would also like to purchase a sleigh to ride into town, spreading more joy and cheer. Santa and Mrs. Claus dream of big ways to give back to kids and families in the Iowa Great Lakes area and are always looking for ways to collaborate with other organizations. “We hope ‘Making Lives Jolly’ grows so we can give back even more to our communities,” Adam said.
To contact Mrs. Claus for upcoming events, call 712-299-3570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The couple looks forward to spreading cheer and joy this upcoming holiday season.
“We are so excited to see all the smiles this Christmas season,” Shannon shared. “I start wearing my Christmas red in November and it’s so fun to see how that brings out happiness.” So, children of all ages, be watching for Santa and Mrs. Claus this Christmas season! You never know where you’ll see them!
LETTERS TO SANTA:
Santa can be reached after Thanksgiving at:
1602 Jackson Ave.
Spirit Lake, IA 51360.
Mail can be dropped off at the red mailbox or sent through the mail.