Santa coming in oil truck to Prairie Hills MallChris Hammond and Kris Kringle, best known as Santa Claus, have more in common than a similar first name. They have a heart for children. As Santa, Hammond is arriving at Prairie Hills Mall at 11 a.m. on Saturday. He’ll be riding an oil field truck, escorted by Dickinson fire and police vehicles. The Dickinson High School band will play Christmas carols when he arrives.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Chris Hammond and Kris Kringle, best known as Santa Claus, have more in common than a similar first name. They have a heart for children.
As Santa, Hammond is arriving at Prairie Hills Mall at 11 a.m. on Saturday. He’ll be riding an oil field truck, escorted by Dickinson fire and police vehicles. The Dickinson High School band will play Christmas carols when he arrives.
“Santa loves Dickinson — it’s one of my favorite places to come and visit,” Hammond said.
To recognize the families who are working in the Oil Patch, Hammond will make a one-day appearance as Oil Field Santa from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, at the mall.
“I’ll be dressed in a traditional oil field workers’ bright red, fire retardant suit, with Santa work gloves, Santa hard hat, Santa safety glasses and steel-toed safety shoe,” Hammond said. “Santa likes driving truck and getting dirty too,” he said.
The appearance is an opportunity for anyone, especially children with ties to the oil field, to have their picture taken with Oil Field Santa. Families may bring hats associated with their businesses to wear for the photos.
Several hats representing oil field companies will be available for the photos.
Prairie Hills Mall looks forward to having Santa come each year, Manager Peggy O’Brien said.
“For me, one of the highlights of decorating for Christmas is preparing Santa’s home.”
She described the mall’s atmosphere as one filled with excitement and magic.
“Children have a twinkle in their eyes when they meet Santa,” she said. “He listens to their wishes, hands out candy canes and the mall provides reindeer ears for all the kids.”
This is the third year that Hammond is Santa. With homes in Annandale, Minn., and Dickinson, he works in the oil fields, hauling production water. But when the holidays arrive, he makes time for Santa.
He said the magic of Santa is talking to the children.
“The kids are so curious — they want to know all kinds of stuff — that Santa is not a figment of their imagination, that he’s real,” Hammond said. “Kids want to know what’s going on in the North Pole. I tell them about my flying buffalo — Santa’s sleigh is getting heavier so we’re trying to get flying buffalo in my herd. I even have a Max-the-flying Buffalo song.”
While the mall is hosting Santa, the photos are a partnership between White Drug and the Best Friends Program. The cost is $10 for two photos.
“When I met Santa a few years ago, he told me he always wanted to be Santa,” Best Friends Director Kris Fehr said. “He’s very much able to converse with the kids and establishes a good rapport with them. He’s got his regulars who come back, maybe every week. We’re pretty lucky to have him.”
The idea of an Oil Field Santa is an opportunity to recognize the energy industry, Fehr said.
“It might be fun to have a picture of Santa dressed in a fracking suit and wearing a hard hat from a particular company,” she said. “It can be a unique keepsake — how many places get to see Santa wearing oil field clothes?”
A percentage of the Santa photos goes to support the Best Friends — a mentoring program for at-risk youth in southwestern North Dakota.
For more information, call the Best Friends office at 701-483-8615.