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Arkansas woman steps in for Santa as he prepares to deliver Christmas gifts

Melissa Rickard is the only Arkansas woman who steps in when Santa gets too busy. And she's been filling his shoes for 27 years... literally!

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Right now, Santa is busy getting ready to travel across the world to give presents to good boys and girls. So, he has special helpers that step in to see children when he can't.

He's making a list... and checking it twice. 

Allowing some another look... maybe thrice.

It's the final hours before Santa sets off in his sleigh,

to bring toys to all the good girls and boys on Christmas day.

So, when he can't make his last rounds to see the children,

he has some special elves who step in to help him.

"It is such an honor. I'm tearing up a little bit. It's such an honor," said Melissa Rickard.

Melissa Rickard is like a Christmas magician.

The only woman in Arkansas who fills St. Nick's position. 

"You get to share in the magic of children and adults alike. It is so neat to get to see someone's eyes glisten and just sparkle with the love of the season and the love of the holiday," said Rickard.

She's been Santa's helper for 27 years.

She says it was fate that brought her here.

"We were volunteering at the Shriners hospital in Philadelphia when we were kids and one of our Santa's got very ill. And I'm the only one with the cookies owned to fill the suit... just seeing their smiles, their love, and the magical look at Santa I was hooked. I was absolutely hooked," said Rickard.

She's perfected Santa's git up... 

from his nose a 'glow

down to his jolly ho ho ho.

But as she meets the little ones

and greets those with wishes on their tongues

Melissa believes she is the one blessed by the Christmas spirit.

"It's humbling. You know, to be one of Santa's helpers it's just amazing. It's just amazing and the big guy appreciates us," said Rickard.

To learn more about Melissa Rickard and her work as a female Santa, you can click here.