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'Santa Vic' making sure all kids see themselves in the magic of Christmas

Santa Claus visits Hampton Roads
Posted at 1:27 PM, Dec 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 16:25:51-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WTKR) — Victor Manuel is a man of many different nicknames.

"I've been called Santa, I've been called Christmas, I've been called Ho, Ho, Ho, but all of them pretty much recognize me," said Manuel.

His most recognizable name is Santa Vic.

"Even before growing the beard, I would wear a hat like this under my hard hat and most of my coworkers would call me Santa Claus," he sad.

About two years ago, Manuel said he discovered there was a need for Santas that looked more like him. So, he grew out his beard, bought a red hat and coat, and immediately started getting booked up.

While juggling a full-time job, he's visited daycares and schools.

"I probably was booked the first week of December enough for the whole month, but I've been trying my best to squeeze people in," he said.

Santa Vic said his popularity isn't limited to Virginia. He's done personalized video calls to children up from California to Nova Scotia.

Manuel admits that some kids have questions about his appearance. His message to them is one that resonates all year long.

"Sometimes you can see the questions rolling around in their head and there's some that come straight out and let me know that I'm not the Santa that they're used to seeing and the best I can say is everyone is the same no matter what color they are," he said.

This story was originally reported by Danielle Saitta on wtkr.com.