From our humble beginning 33 years ago, 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 Santas and elves out on 40 half-day bus shifts,
- visits over 600 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
Simply put, Santa and his elves bring Christmas cheer into the homes and hearts of Calgarians who need it most. All donations that come our way are shared with someone who is 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 ensure they experience loving, caring, and sharing during a time of the 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 from corporate and private citizens,
- 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,
- fill reindeer buses (generously 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 recipient families 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 also know that he wasn’t someone to sit around – his incredible heart and ideas always generated plenty of action.
Eager to give his daughters something positive to think about on Christmas Eve, Bob rounded up a Santa suit and a couple of small gifts. Together, they went to cheer up a troubled family nearby. 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 many other cities, and even countries.
Of course, here in Calgary, his legacy lives on every year when we load our sleighs.