Santa makes Christmas house calls

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— Imagine you are 5 years old and you hear a knock at the door Christmas morning. When you run to the door in your Spiderman pajamas to see who is outside, you discover it is Santa Claus.

Needless to say, Utah Schamanski, 5, had a lot to talk about.

"Santa, I didn't even hear you on the roof last night!" Schamanski said.

When Schamanski, who might be the most careful 5-year-old ever to unwrap presents, finally got through his pile, he couldn't believe his eyes. He was sitting in his living room with Santa Claus and his "cool" new hockey gloves, hockey skates and LeapPad games.

Schamanski was one of four boys who received a personal visit from Santa Claus on Christmas morning. The idea of Santa making home visits was born in the heads of newlyweds Bo and Megan Nickey, who don't yet have children but wanted to make the day special for other youngsters.

"You can only have so much before it's time to share," Bo Nickey said.

The Nickey's got together with the children's parents -- two single moms and a single dad -- and arranged for Santa to bring the boys some things they wanted.

"This isn't about charity," Nickey said. "This is about taking care of kids."

Nickey grew up in Steamboat Springs and wants to give something back to the community members who showed him support through the years.

Nickey has a troubled past that includes prison and jail time for drug use and theft. He talks openly about the wayward path he took when he was younger, but now, with a new wife, a home in Hayden, and his own business, Soul Proprieter Entertainment, he is headed in the right direction.

His job as a disc jockey helped raise money to buy gifts to give to the children, all boys of friends who supported him through his rougher years. Celebrations gave Nickey a deal on the Santa Claus costume. Going door-to-door with candy and presents, Nickey played the part of Santa Claus well.

"Bo always goes out of his way to help people," his wife said.

And Nickey knows one of the greatest gifts to give children is happiness, especially on Christmas.

He may have gotten a few stares driving his Volkswagen Passat through the streets of Steamboat dressed as Santa Claus. But the reaction he received when Miles Buchan, 4, ripped open his presents was worth it.

"I am so spoiled," Buchan said, holding his new Spiderman fleece blanket.

That was exactly how Nickey and his wife felt, sharing a few magical moments with friends Christmas morning.

Nickey and other area DJs are actively involved in helping area residents. For more information on upcoming fund-raisers or next year's Santa Claus visits, call Nickey at 846-3023.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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