Country artist turns mall Santa - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Country artist turns mall Santa

Chas Watkins spends November through December working as Santa at West Park Mall. Chas Watkins spends November through December working as Santa at West Park Mall.
Watkins says his favorite part about his job is the kids. Watkins says his favorite part about his job is the kids.
Watkins was a country artist before he realized playing Santa was his true calling. (Source: Chas Watkins) Watkins was a country artist before he realized playing Santa was his true calling. (Source: Chas Watkins)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Hundreds of kids lined up to tell Santa exactly what they wanted for Christmas at West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Wednesday.

It takes a special person to listen to each and everyone of them.

Chas Watkins has been entertaining kids at the mall for the last three years, but it wasn't always that way.

He's spent years on stage as a country artist.

"Traveled all over the United States, toured with everybody in the late 90's that was popular," Watkins said. "10 years in Nashville, recording contract, played stages with 80 thousand people."

While music was Watkins original plan, he said things changed when he first volunteered to be a last minute Santa.

"I always thought my calling in life was to make music and make people happy that way and come to find out, God had a different plan for me. He said, nope, you're going to be Santa Clause," Watkins said.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas he's trading in his guitar for a big white beard, and a jolly ole belly.

"It gave me a great excuse to gain 30 pounds and eat pizza, and cookies and donuts and hamburgers and hot dogs, all that stuff that's really good for you."

He said it's all about creating an image for the kids.

"You're like the ultimate super hero," Watkins said. "I mean you're everyone packed into one for two months... They believe and that love you can only see in a child's eyes."

It's that love that keeps this Santa coming back each year.

"I didn't plan this," Watkins said. "I didn't know it was coming, but I know I'll keep doing it, forever."

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