LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Santa is coming to town, appearing at the Longview Mall for the fortieth year.
Santa has been sitting in the same green chair for the last twenty of those forty years. That’s a lot of Christmas wishes.
Interior Designer K.J. Gleason has been setting up Santa’s space for seven years now, recreating a bit of Santa’s House for the last three when they decided to make a change.
“Radically changed the entire set and made it more of a living room environment and less of an exterior. We did include a smaller exterior portion so you can see the sleigh and the packaging and all those things, but we really wanted to make a more intimate, warm environment,” Gleason said.
Which makes sense, especially considering the chair. It’s green velvet, not exactly conducive to the North Pole outside.
“How may Christmas wishes do you think that chair has heard?” I asked Gleason.
“I would say somewhere in the hundreds of thousands if I had to guess. I know how many wishes I put in it every year when I’m walking around it and moving it around,” Gleason revealed.
Julie Rigby, Mall General Manager, says the chair is now multi-generational.
“Coming with their grandchildren, coming with their great-grandchildren to share the same memories and the same experiences that their children experienced,” Rigby pointed out.
Gleason says the chair is green because it’s the perfect neutral color.
“It goes with everything color-wise, but then it also represents peace and neutrality. And it is an evergreen color so it represents new growth; it represents sustaining growth through wintertime,” Gleason explained.
And, speaking of new growth, a kid named, oddly enough, Hunter, and his mom had to check out the Santa seat before Santa is in place.
“As far as Santa’s house goes, which room is this?” I asked Gleason about the set.
“This would be the hearth room, of course, because it’s next to the fireplace,” he replied.
Judging from the lack of wear, Santa is not a wiggler, and he’s conscious of:
“Keeping the weight ratio under control, so we don’t have to worry about the support structure of the chair,” Gleason stated.
For now, the seat-filler holds Santa’s assigned chair, although considering it’s a penguin, I’m not sure how warm it will be when he sits down.
Back in 1998 the previous chair was replaced with the big green chair, and although it’s been in use two decades, they plan on using the chair for many years to come. Santa takes his assigned seat at Longview Mall beginning November 17.