From our humble beginning in 1983, The Magic of Christmas has grown to a volunteer family of 6,000+ Santas and elves. Every Christmas Eve, our charity:
- uses 20 donated Calgary Transit buses, which we magically transform into Santa’s reindeer;
- sends over 650 volunteer Santa’s and elves out on 6.5-hour bus shifts;
- visits over 650 families across the city, delivering gifts, joy, hugs and food hampers; and
- brings cheer to over 4,500 people in hospitals, care homes and other institutions.
Who we visit
Santa and his elves bring Christmas cheer into the homes and hearts of Calgarians who need it most. We share donations with recipients who are coping with emotional, physical or financial issues. There may have been a death in the immediate family, a lost job, or difficult medical diagnosis, or they might be spending Christmas in a care facility away from their loved ones.
No matter the reason, we work hard to provide each person with festive loving, caring and sharing during a time of year that is supposed to be joyful. With the help of our volunteers, we ensure the spirit of Christmas spreads to everyone on Santa’s route.
How we do it
Together, Santa and his elves:
- raise funds through special events, Christmas shows and donations;
- work with City of Calgary social services and the Calgary Police Service to make sure Santa doesn’t miss anyone who needs a special visit;
- operate out of a donated warehouse, which we lovingly refer to as Santa’s workshop;
- fill reindeer buses (donated by Calgary Transit) with the compassion of hundreds of benefactors and volunteers who commit their time and heart; and
- work alongside key organizers who ensure a high-quality and consistent program for our recipients year after year.
How we started
In 1983, a man named Bob Johnson launched a charity called The Spirit of Christmas. Bob wanted to fight the despair that can be found even during the most joyous time of the year – Christmas.
Bob believed in Christmas beyond material goods; he believed in the spirit that the holiday brings. And those who knew Bob know that he wasn’t one to sit around – his incredible heart and ideas always generated action.
Eager to give his daughters something positive to think about on Christmas Eve, Bob rounded up a Santa suit and a few small gifts. Together, they went to cheer up a troubled family in the neighbourhood. After witnessing the tremendous joy he brought to them, Bob sought other families who could use a visit from Santa to brighten up their Christmas Eve.
Thus, The Spirit of Christmas was built on the motto that carries on today: “Loving, Caring, and Sharing.”
A few years later, the charity’s name was changed to The Magic of Christmas. To this day, Bob’s selfless idea has gone on to be realized in other cities, and even countries.
Of course, here in Calgary, his legacy lives on every year when we load our sleighs.