Friday, December 24, 2010

Miracle on 22nd Street - A QNY interview with the Gay Santas

By Tony Adams

You've watched the video and read their story. Here's my QNY interview with the new gay Santas.

What happens when two guys living in New York City’s Chelsea gayborhood mysteriously begin to receive an avalanche of mail addressed to Santa? That is the premise of the beautiful and touching story of Jim and Dylan, a gay couple who have inadvertently found themselves at the center of this year’s biggest Christmas miracle. How and why hundreds of letters to Santa from kids in various New York neighborhoods ended up in their mailbox is still a mystery, but their response to this situation has done us all proud. Rather than ignore the letters, they decided to answer them and to send gifts to the children who wrote them. They enlisted friends and co-workers to help with the daunting task. Their story was featured in the Christmas Eve edition of the New York Times, and I had a delightful conversation with Jim soon afterwards.

Jim and Dylan have been a couple for a respectable three years and became engaged in Paris during the summer. They are planning a Spring wedding perhaps in Massachussetts. Dylan is in the publishing and communications field and Jim does advertising and marketing for off-Broadway shows. They might be safely described as your typical young, energetic, successful, attractive, entertaining New York City gay couple, with one difference: they are Santa Claus. After I read their story as told by Sarah Klein in the New York Times, and watched her lovely video I had a number of questions for the newly minted gay Santas who are as delightful and humble as you’d hope them to be. Jim, who is less shy than his partner, responded for them both.

How does it feel to suddenly find yourselves at the center of a Christmas miracle?

Jim: I think literally I’ve cried like six times today, because of the beautiful comments I’ve received from friends and strangers. It’s really amazing to know that people really care and it makes you feel like you are part of a huge community. The part that I feel bad about is that some of the letters didn’t get fulfilled. Time ran out. I’ll finish the remainder when I get back to NYC. [They have just traveled to Kansas City to be with family for Christmas].  

Have you been able to discover why you are getting all this mail addressed to Santa?

Jim: No. We still can’t figure it out. It has been suggested that it might have something to do with the fact that Clement Clark Moore who wrote “Twas The Night Before Christmas” lived in Chelsea, but the mail is specifically addressed to our building and to our apartment. Our super didn’t have any explanation and finally we decided to stop trying to figure it out once we made the decision to fulfill the letters.

So how do you feel about being suddenly highlighted as gay heroes or role models?

Jim: Well we’ve supported gay causes, but Dylan and I are now thrown into being activists. No, we didn’t sign up for this. I guess I’m more of a public person than Dylan, but we need to make some decision about how to proceed. The thing is we had to ask ourselves were the letters intended for us? We talked it over and decided that it didn’t matter.

It’s interesting to think about kids growing up and learning that Santa was really two gay guys in Chelsea. How do you think that will make them feel?

Jim: By the time they grow up, it won’t matter. Years from now, they won’t even think in terms of gay or not-gay.

Was it hard to get people to help you fulfill the letters?

Jim: No. Between Facebook and friends  we recruited about 150 who promised to fulfill them. There was only a little cynicism and suspicion that it might be a scam. You should see these letters. Some are heartbreaking. Others are simple wishes. One I thought was cute was from a boy named Diego who got right to the point by saying he was good all year and wanted a Playstation3. Period.

Are you going to do this again next year if the letters come again?

Jim: Literally yesterday we dropped off the last batch. We started the fulfillment so late. It’s overwhelming but it’s so inspiring to me. Something bigger than just Dylan and me and I can’t imagine sitting on the side and not doing it. Facebook would be a great way to get it done. I could set up a page, but yes, I think the answer will be yes, we’ll do it again.

Well maybe the Latino kids won’t mind getting a late response from Santa this year because they have the tradition of receiving gifts on Three Kings Day in January.

Jim: Or maybe we’ll just tell them that Santa was partying hard at a gay bar in Chelsea and got a little behind schedule.


  1. heartbreakingly wonderfully mysterious.

  2. I was so moved by the story and so appreciate this follow up interview.

    These guys are the TRUE spirit of Christmas!!!!!


  3. Simply put ... You said yes to the miracle of Christmas, and got many others to say yes as well. That the universe chose you is another miracle, because it is in giving that we receive. You'll never know how you changed a child's life in answering just one of those letters.

    Well done.
    Jeremy in Montreal

  4. An amazing couple with an amazing story, which I hope gets told nationwide.

  5. I wonder where in Kansas City they are. It's where I live. I was so moved by this story, I'd love to meet them.

  6. fantastically moving story. well played jim and dylan!! you have built incredibly good karma and i can only imagine the good that's coming your way. merry christmas to you, and thank you for making a difference!!

  7. There are two clear parts to this story:

    1) Human beings often, given the opportunity, will rise above expectations. We are most human when we give and help others.

    2) Gays are human beings.

    That the two come together in this story is altogether normal. Perhaps one day this won't be such a surprise.

  8. There is a mistery how did they get the letters why not ask any of those children where they got the address from.... it was easier....

  9. Absolutely amazing, awesome, and inspiring. :)

  10. This story is the best gift I'll get today. Thanks, Tony.

  11. I like Jim's response to why Santa is tardy with the gifts.

    Thanks for the follow-up, Tony. It rounds out the story.

  12. Ty for sharing, Touching story and excellent interview. Merry Christmas!

  13. Thank you for posting.. this made my Christmas Day..

  14. Beautiful quote:
    "It’s interesting to think about kids growing up and learning that Santa was really two gay guys in Chelsea. How do you think that will make them feel?

    Jim: By the time they grow up, it won’t matter. Years from now, they won’t even think in terms of gay or not-gay."

  15. The letters might have something to do with Operation Santa. Children write letters to Santa at the Post Office in Manhattan. Citizens can go and pick up a few and send the desired gifts to the young ones. I went and picked up two or three letters around six or seven years ago and sent gifts with my P.O. Box in the return address. For several years afterward, I had Santa letters sent directly to my address. Perhaps the previous tenants in the couple's apartment did the same thing and their address somehow got passed around in schools or on Facebook. New Yorkers can check out Operation Santa at the Farley Post Office on 8th Avenue if they want to send some gifts next year. I remember sending an incredible Barbie to a little girl in the Bronx and shopping for it was the most uplifting thing I did that Christmas season!

  16. I live in Chelsea as well. I would have been happy to help if I knew these two gentlemen. They are Christmas!!

  17. The Children's Aid Society at 105 East 22nd Street.

  18. I'm a total Scrooge, this time of year brings nothing but bad memories for me, but this story has me sitting here with tears in my eyes. Thanks Dylan and Jim.


  19. wiping my eyes. amazing and lovely.

    thank you for Jim and Dylan for teaching us such a simple lesson about humanity.

  20. Sweet couple! May they be blessed with 35 Christmases like we two husbands have been! We lived in Chelsea at Kensington House, 1979-1984!

  21. i cried many times this past weekend - twice after watching that video. It was beautfiul to see you two answer them! I loved it! Thank you for your example - and yes - next year, please let us know how we can help!

    Signed: Proud to be Gay in Utah!