Santa Provides Comfort to Family by Posing with Late Son's Teddy Bear

Pennsylvania local Amanda Berman wasn't sure how Santa would react when she presented him with Ian's bear.

Ian Bear Holidays
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Berman

Losing a loved one is painful, especially around the holidays—as Amanda Berman knows well after the death of her son, Ian, during her pregnancy. With Christmas just around the corner, Berman was looking for ways to cope with her loss and found comfort in honoring Ian's life with a stuffed animal bear given to her at the hospital by Sweet Grace Ministries. Berman and her husband often keep the bear with them and photograph it during special occasions as a reminder that Ian's memory still lives on. To memorialize him this holiday season, Berman and her husband Alex took the adorable brown bear to see Santa Claus, in hopes they could capture a photo.

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“I thought people would think I was crazy,” Berman told USA Today. “I wasn’t sure how the Santa would react.”

However, the Santa sitting inside of York Galleria didn't seem to question the couple, accepting the bear with a warm welcome. This Santa even went above and beyond by chatting with Berman for a few minutes, attempting to make her visit a little more special than usual.

“When I first saw her coming and saw her carrying the teddy bear, I pretty much knew right away what this was going to be about,” Santa, played by Thomas Timmons, of Lansdale, told USA Today. “I knew this must have been a tragedy.”

Berman and Timmons conversed over feeling the loss of family and honoring the memories of others. Then he treated the teddy bear with the same respect he would have treated their baby, by placing it on his lap and posing for a photo.

Throughout Berman's experience, she was filled with warmth over the kindness she was receiving from Timmons, and others on social media. In her search for an inexpensive photo with Santa, Berman took to Facebook for recommendations—even though she was prepared for critical comments.

Instead, dozens of supportive comments came in offering their condolences and recommendations—one individual even offered to cover the fee of the York Gallerie images.

“It’s just so overwhelming,” Berman said to the news outlet. “I was just in awe of the kindness and generosity of people in the community…Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

It is amazing how such a small gesture can go so far for one family—proof that embracing the holiday spirit can make a difference in someone's life.

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