Mr. and Mrs. Claus

In November, Mr. and Mrs. Claus took the time to meet with me prior to the mad rush of the holiday season. While they admitted they were a wee nervous to leave the elves to their work back at the North Pole, they also confessed their love for our mountain town and were happy for an additional excuse to visit.

Not surprisingly, the Claus’ schedule is packed with events. You see, on top of preparing and delivering presents to children around the world, they are committed to giving back to communities. In our area (from the Crowsnest Pass to Jaffray) they do this by attending events. Christmas parties, celebrations at schools, community gatherings such as the Light up the Night or Holiday Train, there is nothing too small or too big and believe it or not, they have never said no!

“Whether it’s a few minutes or five hours, a staff gathering or kids party, we get so much energy from these events and always feel on top of the world after leaving. When you do this, your own personal troubles disappear,” says Mrs. Claus.

All of the money the Claus’ raise by attending these events stays in the communities they visit. Having done this for 17 years, with the last five to six becoming quite busy, they share that with events such as the Festival of Trees partnering with multiple organizations they have been able to give back up to $27,000 in a year, and last year on their own a wonderful $7500.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus have become a beacon of hope during the holidays for those in need. Last year a family was in a car accident near Fernie and had an unfortunate change of plans with their Christmas. While their mom received care at the hospital, the children and father stayed at the Super 8. The staff at the hospital had an in with Mr. And Mrs. Claus, who jumped (or should I say flew) at the opportunity to brighten this family’s Christmas. “It was awesome. So great for the kids and helped put a different spin on things for the parents,” adds Mrs. Claus.

They also make sure to spend time with those who might feel alone this time of year, specifically at retirement communities or assisted living homes.

“The oldest person I have had on my knee was 102 and a half years old, and the youngest two days old,” Mr. Clause tells me. “Everyone at Rocky Mountain Village knows us, regardless of the time of year.” From singing Christmas Carols to attending luncheons, these two admit they think of others before themselves. “We will give up something if it can help others, as it’s better to give than receive,” they say. “And we have so much fun with the kids, it’s an absolute hoot. The reactions are priceless, from the ones who are scared to the ones who are so brave and jump right up on my lap! And kids never lie!” I can only imagine some of the things Santa has been told or asked for over the years!

What is truly remarkable about these two is the magic and energy they personify. It’s infectious! Mrs. Claus tells me she has over 700 Santas in their home. “On every flat surface! I have a friendly competition with a friend who collects Snowmen.” I have a feeling she’s winning. Their love for what they do is also apparent, alongside their belief in magic. And this is what they hope they share.

“Think of the people just in your community who don’t have family around, or those who need a loving hand. They need to know that you care and that people are looking out for them,” Mrs. Claus says.

“And have a Merry Christmas, one and all… and be good! Because we are watching!” Mr. Claus adds.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Know that this mountain town loves you right back.

1. When did you first arrive in the Valley and what brought you here? We discovered the valley ages ago, as it allowed us to get coal for all of the bad boys and girls!

2. Who did you first meet? The Griz!

3. Do you remember your first general impression of Fernie? A friendly, winter town! A village I guess at that time.

4. What keeps you coming back here? All of the good little boys and girls.

5. Do you have a favourite Fernie pastime? Because we have special permission we can go night skiing by ourselves at the ski hill.

6. What time of the year do you love most in Fernie, and why? Winter would have to be the favourite - how else do you get the sleigh in? We need snow! Rudolph doesn’t do well on gravel.

7. Where do you see or hope to see Fernie in five years? We hope to see it still a friendly, happy, welcoming snow town.

8. How do you start your day or what is one of your daily rituals? Feeding reindeer! Making sure the troops are ready to go. And making sure the elves are doing what they are supposed to be doing and not misbehaving, as they do sometimes.

9. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. Santa wears a very bright floral, Hawaiian shirt all summer long!

10. Quote to live by: Don’t believe, don’t receive.