Sunday profile: Halloween outfit turns into Christmas tradition for Silt resident
December 22, 2018
From monkeys to Legos and even bacon, Silt native Kim Antonelli has been asked for it all while playing the role as Santa Claus over the years.
It all started at a church harvest party, when Antonelli and his family showed up to the costume party dressed as Santa and his helpers.
"You never go to a Halloween party and see Santa," Antonelli said. "That's what got me into it. It was just a lot of fun."
"There had been conversation about how he would make a good Santa," said his daughter, Lanetta Manriquez. "We hoped it would turn into something more but didn't know that it would."
“I try to zone everything else out and focus only on that one child … I just want them to feel special.”
— Kim Antonelli
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Year-round, Antonelli is the owner and operator of the Holy Cow meat processing company, located in the basement of his home.
"I drove a truck for 35 years and would do meat processing at night," he said. "After being laid off, I went full time with my meat-packing company."
His Santa suit, handmade by two of his daughters, makes its way out of the closet every December, and the magical moments start flowing seamlessly.
Antonelli has been playing the role of Santa for six years, and has taken part in Glenwood Springs' Grand Holiday celebration for five. It's the joy and excitement displayed on the faces of the kids that have kept him suiting up year after year.
"It's a lot of fun, and that's mainly why I like doing it," Antonelli said. "We all grow up too quick, and just to see the excitement on their face when you walk in … it's just the most awesome feeling in the world."
Antonelli makes it a goal with every kid to give them their own personal one-on-one time to make them feel special, as if they are the only one who matters right then.
"I try to zone everything else out and focus only on that one child," he said. "I just want them to feel special."
Antonelli has 13 grandkids. So, what does he tell them? "I just tell them I'm Santa's helper and they love it."
"Most of the grandkids think that he really is Santa," Manriquez said. "They won't even go to the mall Santa; they think that they have the real deal. It's the best when your grandpa is Santa."
WHAT KIDS WANT
Kids say and ask for the darnedest things, and that doesn't stop when it comes to conversations with Santa.
"I had a little boy ask me for a monkey," Antonelli recalled. "I said, 'Buddy, I can't deliver that — last time I had a monkey I couldn't keep it in my bag."
Another little girl said all she wanted was all the boys and girls to have clean water and food.
Antonelli added that a lot of kids ask for iPhones and iPads, and he tells them he can do his best but can't guarantee anything.
"One little kid asked me what I ate for Christmas dinner. I didn't tell him reindeer," Antonelli said.
"He loves the magic of Christmas and what it means to be a kid at Christmas time," Manriquez added. "His attitudes about it all just embodies what Christmas is."
"Unless you try it and do it, you wouldn't really understand that feeling," Antonelli said.