The Story Behind Toby Keith’s ‘Santa I’m Right Here’ Ahead of Christmas 2020

by Suzanne Halliburton

The words of the Toby Keith Christmas standard “Santa I’m Right Here” tug at your heart. So does the entire video.

As Christmas season approaches, let’s look back at the classic from 25 years ago. It almost seems like it could take place in 2020, given the economic anxiety caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The song opens in a Nashville homeless shelter. A little boy is writing a note to Santa. He’s worried that Santa won’t be able to find him, since the kid’s family lost their home.

The letter the little boy writes is so touching. Keith narrates it in the song. He asks for a coat for his mama. He wonders if Santa can give his dad a job, building toys for the children.

One scene of the video shows the little boy crying on the shoulder of a Santa in Nashville.

But Santa knows. We see St. Nick in a business suit, keeping an eye on the little boy as he walks the streets, looking into store windows with toy trains.

Yes, There Is a Happy Ending to Toby Keith’s Song

Keith is shown singing in front of the homeless shelter. In the night sky, we see what looks like a comet. Or was it Santa and his sleigh?

The final scene is of the little boy asleep in a bunk bed in the shelter. It’s Christmas Eve. On the top bunk, we see that Santa left presents, including a coat for the mom and a circled job in the classified ads.

The song reached No. 50 on the Hot Country Songs chart for 1995.

The first verse will always get us:

“I was downtown Christmas shopping. Such a busy city street. I don’t know how I noticed the piece of paper at my feet. But somethin’ made me pick it up, instead of goin’ on my way. I stopped and froze right in my tracks. As I read what it had to say.

“Oh Santa, if you can’t find me. We’re livin’ out here on the street. But I’ll be watchin’ for you, you’re not gonna forget me, are you? Daddy says he knows you’ll try. But we might be too hard to find this year. Oh Santa, I’m right here.”