Glendale man with striking resemblance to Santa uses magic to spread holiday cheer

GLENDALE (WITI) -- The spirit and soul of Saint Nick alive and well in a Glendale man! He's giving new meaning to the term "Santa's Helper." It's his mission to get all of us to believe in the magic of Christmas.

"Everybody knows Santa. He's the most recognizable character there is," Lynn Miner said.

Miner does more than simply embrace his resemblance to Santa. He lives it!

Miner spent years as a grant writer -- helping to secure nearly a half billion dollars in grants. He gets excited about fulfilling wishes, so his next move seemed only natural. He carved out a second career fulfilling wishes -- working out of the basement of his Glendale home.

Miner has set up a sort of Santa's workshop, complete with a pile of life lessons.

"What happens to coal under heat and pressure?  It becomes diamonds. Coal is the mother of all diamonds. I learned that years ago, and I keep mine in my own pocket, just as a reminder that it's important to be patient. The elves make the toys, and I kind of help do the quality control," Miner said.

Of course, every Santa starts out a bit rough around the edges, so Miner went to a world famous training academy: the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. He would add a special twist from his past: magic!

"I had been doing the magic for a long time," Miner said.

Miner worked his way through college serving as a musician alongside famous entertainers like Dom Delouise.

"But I didn't have a persona that I wanted to settle on.  Well, I didn't have to decide.  Other people decided that for me," Miner said.

Miner would become something of a holiday Houdini -- bringing the sleight of hand to Santa's bag of tricks, spreading magic across Milwaukee to children of all ages.

Miner has the suit and the soul of Santa, but it's the children who really bring the magic.

"What does Santa really represent? At the end of the day, Santa represents the spirit of loving and giving -- and that's bigger than any one person," Miner said.

Miner says the story of Santa gives us something much more valuable than any present under a tree. It's the gift of possibility that allows us to believe.

"What is belief?  Belief is really the motivator.  That's the thing that keeps you going.  That's the reason for getting out of bed," Miner said.