One of the most cherished parts of the Christmas season is the magic and mystery surrounding the jolly ol’ fellow, Santa Claus. To many, the beloved holiday icon holds such a special place in their hearts that they will do everything in their power to keep children believing in him. Parents especially will go to great lengths to maintain his existence, hoping that when their children grow up they will do the same.
Mr. Hussain is no exception.
Mr. Hussain feels pretty strongly about keeping the magic of the holiday season intact. A shining example of his beliefs came one day in 2013 when he was meandering through the streets of Tooting, England.
He never expected anything life-changing to happen that day.
In the same area of town was Tracy Ashford-Rose, who was walking with her young son, Alfie. Upon noticing Mr. Hussain, who maintains a white beard fitting the modern characterization of Santa, Alfie became very excited.
“’Look it’s Father Christmas!’” Ashford-Rose recalls Alfie exclaiming.
Alfie approached Mr. Hussain, who was charmed by the boy’s reaction. Refusing to crush Alfie’s Christmas innocence, he reached into his pocket and handed him some money. Wide-eyed and amazed at having just met Santa, Alfie was ecstatic with the experience.
However the story doesn’t end there.
Ashford-Rose went on to say that Mr. Hussain “got three houses away and came back to knock on my door; he said he couldn’t pass without giving a gift as my little boy thought he was Father Christmas.”
Ever since, Mr. Hussain has to come to Alfie’s home to give out presents at various times of the year. Currently, this tradition has been going on for four years. Mr. Hussain has enjoyed doing so all the while.
“This was four years ago, and we still exchange gifts to each other,” Ashford-Rose explained. “He comes to see Alfie and my daughter Hayley on their birthdays and gives gifts, he never forgets, the dates. We now call him Grandad Christmas. We see him throughout the year, he shakes Alfie’s hand, and has a cuddle.
“Christmas wouldn’t be the same without him now.”
Amanda Taylor-Purchase is a former neighbor of Alfie’s and was talking with the family when Mr. Hussain came for a visit. Touched by what he was doing, she was the one who shared the story.
She especially noted how excited Alfie was to see him.
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“It’s not very often that I get a tear in my eye at a photoshoot, but that guy just did it for me. I thought I had to tell that story,” Taylor-Purchase shared with BuzzFeed News. “I’ve known Alfie since he was just a baby, there’s not much that stops him in his tracks, but when he saw ‘Father Christmas’ he came running into me and said ‘you’ve got to come, the real Santa Claus is at our door, he comes to our house.'”
Grateful for his new friend in Mr. Hussain, Alfie continues to look forward to the holiday season. The magic and wonder still very much alive in his eyes, and with Mr. Hussain in the picture it’s likely to stick with him for many more years to come.