Santa Visits the Isla

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Don Wood, the Santa of Isla de la Piedra

I’ve been touched by the cool tradition of the “Gringo Santa” who hands out candy to the children on Stone Island. I find it encouraging when someone does their best to spread good cheer to others, and especially so when that someone is an immigrant in an adopted home.

So when our friend Dallas and his wife Rocio invited us to join the parade this year, to meet Santa and his helpers and enjoy the fun, we were ready to go! Danny and Rohit joined us, as did our friend Genaro and his kids.

Don Wood has been playing Santa on the Isla for about nine years now. He has a wonderful team of helpers who support the effort. The crew purchases 8000 pesos worth of candy-stuffed stockings, and then they pull a sleigh with a three-wheeler to be sure kids—old and young alike—get one. Click on a photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

We spent about two and a half hours handing out candy today, winding along the streets and alleys of the village and, at the end, right down the beach as well. The kids were so excited! Albañiles stopped working, and grandparents came running as well, so candy is obviously not just exciting for the little ones.

Santa has some very well-dressed and happy helpers, and the recipients of the candy stockings were all quite thrilled as well. Since Dallas drove the three-wheeler that pulled Santa, and Rocio played Mrs. Claus, Greg drove the rest of us in Dallas’ truck. Oh did we have fun!

After all the hard work, we enjoyed a terrific lunch together with our new friends at a palapa on the beach. We are very grateful to have been included. It was a great warm-up for handing out chickens tomorrow morning!

Below are just a few more pics I took today.


Happy holidays, everyone! And, Dallas, Rocio, Don, Nancy and crew—thank you and God bless you for what you do each Christmas!

About Dianne Hofner Saphiere

There are loads of talented people in this gorgeous world of ours. We all have a unique contribution to make, and if we collaborate, I am confident we have all the pieces we need to solve any problem we face. I have been an intercultural organizational effectiveness consultant since 1979, working primarily with for-profit multinational corporations. I lived and worked in Japan in the late 70s through the 80s, and currently live in and work from México, where with a wonderful partner we've raised a bicultural, global-minded son. I have worked with organizations and people from over 100 nations in my career. What's your story?

3 thoughts on “Santa Visits the Isla

  1. Thank you so much for the beautiful story! I love to see all my friends faces so happy. I can’t wait until I’m back on the island again!

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