When most people think of Christmas, they think of family, gifts, religion, lights, candy canes, cookies, more lights and finally Santa. The people of Butte County, more specifically Chico, are no different. The only thing that might be a little different is that when Santa comes to Chico, he’s blue. That’s right — Blue Santa.
So what is Blue Santa? Blue Santa is the Chico Police Departments, Santa Claus. He wears a blue police uniform, complete with Chico P.D. patches and his very own department badge with his name on it.
The Chico P.D. and the Chico Police Officers’ Association began the Blue Santa program as a way to connect with the community by supplying gifts to local children who might not be as fortunate as others. Blue Santa and his “elves” — Chico POA members — collect, wrap and distribute gifts to children a few days prior to the Christmas holiday. The Blue Santa program has continued to evolve over the past few years and has branched out throughout the Chico community. Blue Santa now visits the local Boys and Girls Club, kids’ Christmas parties, Toys for Tots and the pediatric ward of the Enloe Medical Center, where he drops by on Christmas Eve to provide children with presents and treats. Blue Santa has been quoted saying, “Every kid deserves a Merry Christmas, even if they have the unfortunate luck of being in the hospital during the holiday season.”
Every year, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, the City of Chico closes its downtown streets, businesses decorate their storefronts and the community comes together to kick off the Christmas season. There is hot chocolate, apple cider, coffee, cookies, singing, dancing and holiday cheer throughout the downtown area. In recent years, Blue Santa has attended the holiday event, arriving in his 1940 Dodge police car to take photographs with and hand out small gifts to all the children.
Blue Santa has been a great way for police officers to get out in the community and connect with kids as well as their parents. If we start building positive relationships between children and our police department at a young age, those relationships will continue to thrive into adulthood for these kids.
During these events, there are always a few questions from kids, like “Mom, why is Santa blue?” Usually, the response is something similar to, “He’s the police Santa. Policemen wear blue uniforms.” The kids usually respond, “Oh, that makes sense. Everyone needs a Santa.”
The Blue Santa program is 100% funded by donations to the Chico Police Officers’ Association through local fundraisers. The funds are donated by the Chico community and spent in the Chico community. If you are interested in donating to the Blue Santa program, please contact the Chico Police Officers’ Association president at firstname.lastname@example.org.