The innocence of the moment, the joy of the season, everything twists together into a perfect holiday helix for Woods.
About 15 years ago, a little girl sat on his lap and stared at the floor. And Woods, always in character this time of year, began one of those magical conversations.
“Would you ever do something special for mommy and daddy, and it doesn’t mean money. It means, are you a good artist?” Woods asked her.
“She told me, ‘Yes, I am.’ So I asked if she could draw a picture, color it, fold it up and put it inside an envelope for mommy and daddy on Christmas Day,” Woods said.
“And she said, ‘Oh, yes! Yes, I could!’ Suddenly, everything changed. The little girl went from not wanting anything to do with me, to telling me what she was going to draw and how she was going to color it,” Woods said.
These are the precious gifts that Woods receives each year, the stories that don’t fit into a velvet sack because the hearts of children will always be too big.
Rest assured, Woods knows a few things about big hearts.
“My Santa suit was made by my mother and my aunt, probably about six months before my aunt passed away of breast cancer,” he said. “The two of them put it together from an old suit I had purchased from a department store. They took it apart to form a pattern and then they put it back together, better than ever. And I’ve worn it ever since.”
A wistful smile appears as Woods rubs his chin, ever so slowly. The twinkle is the perfect accessory, a beautiful reflection of the jolly old elf and the professor who brings him to life.