Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus: 25 Years of Santa Stories

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BookBaby, Sep 5, 2019 - Humor - 100 pages
5 Reviews
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When Don Kennedy's friend, a volunteer Santa Claus, fell ill the night before a Boys & Girls Club Christmas party, he asked Don to put on the red suit and beard in his place. What was originally meant to be a temporary gig turned into a passion, and Don began to volunteer for organizations that didn't have the funds to hire a Santa--children's hopsitals, military bases, women's and children's shelters, schools, churches, and everything in between. After asking children what they want for Christmas for 25 years, he's heard just about everything, and here compiles the best of the best.

Sometimes funny, somteimes sad, but always touching and sweet, Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus will entertain and warm the hearts of readers.

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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus: 25 Years of Santa Stories by Don Kennedy is a collection of ten true stories about how this Santa handled
playing his part. He is right that being Santa Claus at events, or special places, is very different from seeing children briefly in a Mall booth – “a quick hello, what's your name & age, what is your wish for Christmas, smile for the photo, and done” – as Don Kennedy puts it. The comedy comes mainly from fast answers to potentially awkward responses. “Story” does not indicate a merry tale; there’s a serious side to every chapter. Given time, children confide in the man in the red suit with the fluffy beard and his response can change lives, especially when he picks up on abuse and takes action.
I was hooked by the first chapter, “The Military”, and in tears over the boy who “didn’t talk about Daddy cos it made Mommy cry”. Shocked by “Shelters” and the security surrounding them – even Santa isn’t told their location until he arrives accompanied by the staff! There is laugh-aloud comedy too. In “Young Love” Santa is asked to marry two six-year-olds “before our mommies get back”. “Siblings” features rivalry, including a girl who begs a ride on the sleigh for her brother, so Santa can dump him on Mars. Every reader will have their favorites. Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus: 25 Years of Santa Stories by Don Kennedy is a winner that would make a super Christmas gift.

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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus: 25 Years of Santa Stories by Don Kennedy is a short non-fiction memoir about Don's experiences as a
volunteer Santa Claus for organizations that cannot afford to hire a "professional" Santa during the Christmas holiday season. In this book, Don describes how he got started on this gig when he filled in as Santa Claus for someone who couldn't make it. Through this, he realized he enjoyed it and developed a passion for it, especially at places where he could volunteer his services for free such as charity organizations, non-profit foundations, etc. The book is organized into a few chapters which detail Don's experiences with children at fire shelters, hospitals, children's centers, women's shelters, military bases, and such. There is also a short author bio at the end of the book.
Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus is an entertaining book that describes the various things that kids say to Santa Claus, some of which are funny and amusing and range from simple things to lavish ones. There are sometimes also cases of abused or neglected children that express things to Santa which are disturbing and Don rightly informs the organizers and social services when there is any hint of abuse. Don writes in a basic, straightforward style that simply describes the child's wishes and dreams. His passion for this volunteer work which he has been doing for 25 years comes through strongly in the book. Overall, this is a collection of fun and entertaining anecdotes of what kids ask for or say to Santa Claus.

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About the author (2019)

Don Kennedy is a resident of Makaha Valley on Oahu, Hawaii. He was a longtime resident of Nevada: Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe. He's a first-time author, or as the infamous W.C. Fields called it, a "scrivener." Born and raised in Wisconsin, he is a graduate of Concordia College. He began writing as the editor of his high school newspaper and sports reporter for the local city newspaper. He's a member of the Hawaii Writer's Guild.

He was a radio and TV broadcaster as well as a print editor/publisher for more than a decade. He was a city editor and sports editor for the Henderson Home News and Boulder City News, a reporter for the Pahrump Valley Times, an editor of Vegarama, Las Vegas Top Spots and Las Vegas Pizazz magazine, a publisher/editor of Going Places/Southwest Traveler magazine, and a feature writer for Valley Electric's Ruralite magazine. He was also a radio personality on KVOV and KREL radio stations while simultaneously hosting a syndicated travel radio program, "Going Places," on the local NBC Talk Radio station. He provided voice-overs and commercial broadcasting for several TV stations.

For the past 35 years, Kennedy has been a casino marketing executive with titles of manager, director, vice president, corporate vice president, AGM, and CMO in seven states: Nevada, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Louisiana, Indiana and Oklahoma. He has served as a judge for the prestigious Romero Awards and been a guest speaker/lecturer at numerous seminars, conferences, conventions and several universities. He has worked the past decade as Player Development Manager at Primm Valley Casino & Resorts, part of Affinity Gaming. A Roast/Toast celebrating his career was held in 2015 and is available on YouTube, titled "Don Kennedy Roast Primm 2015."

In his rare free time, Kennedy enjoys travel, especially where there are lakes and oceans. He has been an active member and officer of the NFL Alumni Association for 20 years as an Associate Member. He's a proud uncle to two nieces, a nephew, grandniece and grandnephew, and has an older brother.

His passion, every December for the past 25 years, has been serving as a volunteer Santa Claus for all those who needed to be seen, heard, and given a little Christmas spirit.

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