CANTON — Anyone driving past the post office in the past two weeks may have spotted an unusual sight — Santa Claus, waving at passers-by, standing next to a large red stocking and a sign that reads, “I work for cookies.” Farther down the road is a larger sign that reads, “Help Canton's Angels fill stockings.”
Three days a week, Chris Dailey, owner of Dailey's A&Z Self Storage and the mystery man beneath the Santa suit, stands at the corner of Pleasant and Main streets, attempting to collect money and presents for the children in town.
“I'm here on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” Dailey said Thursday afternoon. “Usually, it's some time in the afternoon that I come out, and I try and collect as much money and gifts as I can for the Canton children.”
Next to Dailey's tent is a small bowl of candy canes that he gives to anyone who donates money or gifts. In addition to collecting gifts, Dailey said that he tries to do something nice for the children who choose to visit him.
“I always offer the children and their parents an opportunity to take a picture with me,” Dailey said. “Some parents even give me their email address so I can write their kids a letter.”
Dailey said he hopes that more children and their families come to visit his spot before Christmas.
“Right now, only a couple of families have showed up to visit Santa,” Dailey said, “but a couple is better than nothing.”
Dailey added that he's received an impressive amount of donations.
“Right now, I've raised about $225, and several people have brought gifts for my stocking,” Dailey said as he pointed to a large stocking pinned against the nearby telephone pole. “I posted what I was doing online, and a gentleman from Florida even sent me a blanket.”
Despite the cold weather, Dailey said he'll continue to stand outside and collect donations because he has always loved Christmas and wants Canton children to enjoy it, too.
“I grew up in a different era,” Dailey said. “I've always wanted to help people, and this is a great way to do so.”
He added that even after he leaves his post, he'll likely keep the suit on.
“I have a doctor's appointment in an hour, and I'm just going to wear the suit inside,” Dailey said with a laugh. “That way, I'll have an excuse for my weight when he asks.”