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GLOCESTER, R.I. (WLNE-TV)—  Santa Paul has been the jolly face greeting families at "Chepachet Farms & Carriage Works" in Glocester for the last 20 Christmas seasons.

“The children. Just watching them grow. It brings a tear to my eye now,” he said when asked what kept him coming back year after year.

Santa Paul has a way with the little ones. He always remembers their names and the kids feel comfortable telling him their secrets and wishes.

“Oh do they ever! And all that they want too!” he said.

Donning the red coat means everything to the Webster, Mass. man. But this holiday season, Santa Paul is taking a break to focus on his health.

“The first of the year I came down with cancer. The big c. I'm battling it. I hope I win it. But with the loss of the hair and the loss of my beard, I couldn't be Santa,” he told ABC6 News.

“It is hard,” said Jody Esposito, co-owner of Chepachet Farms. “He's not just Santa. He's a friend and he's part of our farm family.”

Wanting to help, Esposito came up with a way to try and boost the spirits of their Kris Kringle. In the spirit of the season, they’re asking visitors to stop by and drop off a note, a card, or a past picture with Santa Paul so he’ll know everyone is thinking of him.

“I know it will mean the world to him,” said Esposito.

They've set up a special mail box and the notes that were already sent in have reached Santa in the North Pole.

“How people that you see once a year have such feeling for you—not just because I’m Santa but because of who I am. That means a lot,” said Santa Paul.

Another one of Santa’s helpers will fill in this year. But Santa Paul hopes to be back in the sleigh next Christmas. Until then, he has a special message for all the good boys and girls.

“I wish them a merry Christmas and a happy new year.”

If you’d like to send a special message to Santa Paul you can stop by the farm from 1:00-400 on December 2, 9, and 16th. If you can't stop in, you can also mail a letter to Chepachet Farms 226 Tourtellot Hill Rd. Chepachet RI, Attention: Santa Paul. They’ll make sure he gets each and every one.

© WLNE-TV 2018