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Growing Up Santa

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Something I Never Thought About

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Legendary Santa Claus

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Last week I gave an interview to a regional publication for their upcoming December issue about being a real fulltime Santa Claus. It was the typical type interview discussing my life growing up as Santa and being able to make it a fulltime career. I do know that very few have had the opportunities and the good fortune that has been unfolding in my life ever since I was 4 years old.

During the conversation with the reporter, he asked what I plan on doing when I retire. The question really threw me. Unlike 99% of other Santas who become the character while working a different job and made it a hobby/part time thing or a guy who retires from years of work someplace to grow a real beard and then Santa becomes his retirement hobby/job, I have only been a professional year round Santa.

The question of retiring from Santa was a good one. I am a little over a year from turning 50 years old and the Santa business has been very good to me. DeAnn and I have made some good investments, so planning for that part of our future is secure. Like most everyone else there is always some sort of health issues that can or could pop up. But that is under control too.

So the question goes back to what the reporter asked… “What are you going to do when you retire?” Well, as odd as it seems to some, I don’t want to be Santa forever. In fifteen to seventeen years when I am in my mid 60s I do plan on retiring from the professional world of Santa.

Most folks retire from being a labor, lawyer, teacher, accountant or such but does someone really retire from being Santa? When I retire that is preciously what I will be doing. DeAnn and I look forward to just traveling and enjoying not doing anything at all. I’ll let my hair and beard grow out and then go fishing.

And as for Santa, well I look forward to having him go back to being what he was to me before I became him…a magical and inspirational elf that brings the message of love, hope, and peace in a sometime dreary world. And I think that I will appreciate Santa more by not being him.

At one time I thought 50 years old was a long way away. But it is sneaking up on me. Retirement is a while away, at least for now, but with all aspects of life you have to plan ahead.

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John Johnson


Great post, but that has GOT to be one hard decision.

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Kris Claus


My father "retired" from being Santa when his grandkids became too old for Santa, in his opinion. But I see no reason why I won't be donning the red suit into my 70's, and perhaps 80's. At least by then I look old enough for the part.

I suppose anything can happen which would change my mind.

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Santa Paul G


Interesting post. It makes me ponder can I retire from Santa? I was raised in family that had very little but yet always found ways to give to others. I taught my children to give to others and now they see me as Santa and love it. Today on the way to lunch, while my wife and I were talking about I could be a better Santa, she mentioned it was a hobby. It took my by surprise and I told her I don't look at it as a hobby but more as a service to children. She thought about it and said I was right. I personally receive more blessings from giving to others than ever receiving. So could I retire from being Santa, not as long as my health will allow. I want to leave this world know I brought happiness to people especially children.

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You truly are a legendary Santa,After the Jim Yellig Conference in April 2011 I started growing a beard to see what it takes to be a real bearded Santa I had planned on getting it bleached about the last of October but then I was invited to participate in the Columbus Ohio Extreme Home Makeover Edition.getting whitened up for the event and keeping it white afterwards and taking care of long hair and a beard is not an easy task .I have a whole new respect for the real bearded Santas after being a Santa with a designer wig and beard for quite a few years.The children give you a whole new look.I have plans to attend Clausefest in Gatlinburg and then the Jim Yellig Conference in Santa Claus In and hopefully a gathering in Portland MI in June.I love being a Brother in the red suit and with the long hair and beard I try very hard to keep the persona year round now.I think you are probably the best Santa Ambassador we could possibly have and when you "Retire" you keep up your good work.

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Morgan Putnam


We're about the same age. I"m in medically forced retirement.

Retirement...ain't all it's cracked up to be. Your world...shrinks.

You still make a powerful, positive difference in 1000's (maybe 10's of 1000's) of lives every year.

My advice for what little it's worth: don't be in a hurry to give that up. No matter how old the calendar says you're getting.

Wishing you decades of continued red suit wearing, positive difference making fulfillment.

All the best!

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Ricky Claus


If I retired I would still probably portray Santa. If you ever need a Santa I would love to help out. It would be a dream but I am in law enforcement and only 23. So Retirement is a while off. Thanks for being a great Santa and I hope to bring joy to the world as you. No I don't care for publicity but I enjoy the expression from the children all over when I bring a bit of hope and belief.

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