The Soul of Santa is a holiday figure whose legacy should live on and on.

If you’re not hip to the Soul of Santa, you’re missing out.  

With his well well-tailored red suit, red dress hat and his immaculately trimmed gray beard, the Soul of Santa is a holiday figure whose legacy should live on and on.  

Instead of dressing up like a Black Santa, Kansas City resident Trent Lott, 72, blesses the Kansas City community with a culturally rich holiday persona, the Soul of Santa.   

The Soul of Santa isn’t just Santa in different clothes, says Lott.  The meaning is much deeper.  

Lott says the idea for the character he portrays came to him almost 30 years ago in a vision.  Christmas had been tough for him growing up as a child in a large, poor, but loving, Black family.  There weren’t often many shiny new toys under the tree.  

In his vision, he tussled with this character – the Soul of Santa—about the unfairness of a holiday where some people – especially the children – didn’t get much or anything.  The message that he received is that Christmas can be celebrated in many ways because Christmas isn’t really about all of the traditions we’ve grown to expect. Christmas is about what’s in our hearts – our souls – hence the Soul of Santa.  

“The Soul of Santa lives within all of us.  He lives within our heart,” wrote Lott.  “He is every color he needs to be. For me, he is Black. It’s not his color that’s important, it’s what and who he represents.”

“You must look at your spirit first, the one that dwells on the inside and who is not judgmental. Your spirit cares about you and those around you,” Lott told IN Magazine for a 2019 interview.  

Immediately after the dream, he found a design student at Central Missouri University to help him develop the costume.  He’s been portraying the Soul of Santa ever since, with four years at the 18th and Vine Jazz District’s Christmas Tree Lighting.  

He’s developed a nonprofit, The Do Good Foundation.

“The Do Good Foundation mission has always been to bring joy and happiness to the inner city to those in areas of the city that are under served,” Lott said.

While the foundation does work and gives back to the community all year long, its major focus is on events centered around the Christmas holiday.  

Each year, with the help of sponsors, the foundation puts on the free Soul of Santa Community Breakfast for children in the community, and this will be the fourth year for the Soul of Santa Benefit Concert, held at the Gem Theater.  

Proceeds from the ticketed concert help fund the community breakfast and other giving activities the Do Good Foundation puts on throughout the year.  

Here’s the lineup for this year’s Soul of Santa events, all in the 18th and Vine Jazz District, Kansas City, MO. 

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Celebration is set for Fri. Dec. 2, at 6 p.m.

The Holiday Benefit Concert  follows the Christmas Tree Lighting, and begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gem Theater.  This year, the contest features performers Eric Benet, Chante Moore, and dynamic musical performances by Kim Keys, Andrea Tribitt, Amber “Flutienastiness” Underwood, Doris Donley and more, and all produced by Grammy-nominated producer, singer, and songwriter Joseph “Jo Blaq” Macklin.  

Tickets start at $85, VIP tickets including a reception to meet the performers and event sponsors.  

To purchase concert tickets, visit:  

The annual Soul of Santa Community Breakfast for the children is Sat., Dec.3, at 9 a.m. on 18th and Vine. This free event includes a toy giveaway, face painting, storytelling, and children can take a photo with the Soul of Santa. 

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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Simone Garza

Simone Garza was a reporter in our Kansas City office. In addition to general reporting on Kansas City’s African-American community, she reports on economic inclusion for the African American community....