Hilltop Santa returns for the holidays

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Tom Reynolds is going on his ninth year playing Santa and even his recent cancer diagnosis isn’t stopping him from hearing children’s wishes. Photo by Matt Nagle

Tacoma’s very own Hilltop Santa (a.k.a. Tom Reynolds) is back again this year ready to hear children’s wishes for what they’d like the Jolly Old Elf to leave under their Christmas tree. He will be at People’s Barbershop, 901 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, on the first two Saturdays of December, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 from noon to 3 p.m. Parents/guardians are welcome to bring a camera or use phones to take photos of their little ones on Santa’s knee, and each child will receive a special gift from Santa.

It was about eight years ago that Reynolds first donned his authentic Santa outfit just for community children who may have a lean Christmas in order to bring them holiday joy as every child deserves. Throughout that time he has never missed a Christmas. Now all these years later he is fighting very serious health problems that he was diagnosed with seven months ago: stage 4 prostate cancer that has spread through his bones and body. He, of course, has “on” days and “off” days as he struggles to deal with his diagnosis but he is determined to not let it stop him. In between hospital and emergency room stays he has been working on getting everything lined up for his appearances this holiday season.

“I’m going to keep doing this for as long as I can stand up,” Reynolds said. “Nothing is going to stop me from making the little children’s Christmas merry this year.”

Santa is still gratefully accepting donations of candy and treats, toys and small gifts for boys and girls and anyone who would like to help out can leave donations at People’s Barbershop, open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, contact Reynolds at either (253) 576-0321 or (253) 341-3510.

Special thanks and a sincere “Merry Christmas” to People’s Barbershop owner Rayland Jensen for hosting Santa this year, and to Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Ed Troyer for helping out every year with donated toys.

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