A Christmas miracle in March: Montreal Santa arrives in Tizimín

Many of the children who received gifts said they thought Santa had forgoten about them in December. Photo: File
Many of the children who received gifts said they thought Santa had forgotten about them in December. Photo: Courtesy

It’s a little late, but Santa Claus said he is needed now as he headed to Tizimín with gifts.

Children in the community flocked around the bearded man as he handed out presents.

The springtime Santa turned out to be a 78-year-old Montreal native, William Jioi, who is “on a mission to bring smiles to children.” 

He came with credentials. When asked by the children if he really was Santa Claus, he showed them a passport which identified him as Santa Noel from the North Pole. 

When walking around town, Jioi noticed a child helping her grandparents cutting weeds. The girl told Jioi that she could not believe what she was seeing, as the man handed her a gift and told her that it was a very good thing that she helps her grandparents. 

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Jioi explained that he had been abandoned as a baby and that he is gravely concerned for the welfare of children living in poverty. He has been playing the part of Santa Claus for 15 years, the first five in Chile and the subsequent 10 in México.

Jioi runs an NGO called Santa Claus Without Borders, which is described by its website as “a Canada-based organization created to take the joy of Christmas to underprivileged boys and girls in different countries.”

In the last three years, Santa Claus Without Borders has given over 450 pairs of shoes, 750 sweaters and over 2,000 toys to deserving kids in Mexico.

Santa Claus Without Borders is accepting donations to help the organization continue with its work. 

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.