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Off-Season Santas
An ongoing portrait series of off-season Santas
©Mary Beth Koeth
Santa Joe is a large and lovely Irish Catholic from the Bronx and also the New York City Bloomingdales Santa. Several years back, Santa Joe and his wife bought a condo in Oriole Gardens Retirement Community in Margate, FL. Eighty of the units in the community are filled with his family/friends from back in the Bronx. He said, "We all grew up with each other and want to grow old together."
Santa Joe
Santa Gregg Henry is a carpenter at Michael Rybovich & Sons Boat Works in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. "I make big, expensive toys for very wealthy boys and girls." His career in woodworking started with a love for building things and is now 40+ years in the making. "The only thing I haven't done is coffin making. I don't really have much interest in that." Many years ago, following a painful divorce, Santa Gregg spent two years being a male exotic dancer. "My stage name was Grizzly Gregg because I had the beard and everything back then. I found that taking off your shoes is really hard to do when you're standing up."

In his off time, Gregg is a club officer and rear commodore with the Gulfstream Sailing Club in Fort Lauderdale. 

Santa Gregg
Santa Roy is a retired police officer who was named one of the Top Ten Law Enforcement Officers in the State of Florida in 1984. He currently operates his own investigative agency and has a total of 40+ years in the law enforcement and investigative field. In his spare time, Santa Roy plays banjo with his son and sings with the Great American Dixie Band. He also collects American political memorabilia, old flags, and Japanese Swords (he reads and translates Japanese). 
Santa Roy
Santa Ernie Tedrow is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to Orlando after his mother passed away and started in the hotel business where he worked his way up to Director of Sales and Marketing. “One week a month I would travel. I’d fly to Chicago in the morning, pick up the client in a limousine, take them to Oprah’s restaurant for lunch, sign a half million dollar contract, take them back to the office, fly back and be home for dinner. I absolutely loved it.” Ernie now lives in Tamarac, Florida with Everett, his partner of twenty-three years. He is a community association manager for condos and HOAs in South Florida.“I figured, I’m fat, old, and bald...and I have a career!”
Santa Ernie
Santa John Snyder, 67, is a Purple Heart Vietnam vet, born and raised in Queens, New York. “When I got out of the army, I wanted to be a playboy for a while before I settled down—sow my wild oats so to speak. Well, I met my wife, fell for her and married her right away, so I had to give that all up.” John served as President of Mensa, the largest and oldest high IQ society, for several years in South Florida. Snyder and his wife Theresa are both active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and currently reside in Kendall, Florida. 
Santa John
Santa Lance Willock, 77, is a former salesman from Peoria, Illinois. Music has always been his passion. He would run home from work on Fridays, dapper up, and meet with his band to entertain at one of the many local hotspots. "I met my wife, Rosemary while playing in a club. She never knew it was going to end up like this...In fact, she'd probably run the other way if she thought about it." Lance and Rosemary live in a retirement community in Stuart, Florida.
Santa Lance
Twelve years ago, Don Fasig’s wife, an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing, urgently needed a Santa for the hearing-impaired students at her elementary school. Mr. Claus had canceled, so she volunteered her husband. At the time, Don didn’t even own a Santa suit. He went out and bought one off the rack.

He remembers the first time the children saw him. As he walked in, he signed “Merry Christmas,” and they got very excited and started signing to one another: “Santa signs! Santa signs!” “I was pretty much hooked after that,” he says. Every year since then, even as he takes on new work, he always visits the deaf and hard of hearing at the elementary school.
Santa Don
Santa Mike Binis, 62, is a voice-over artist and hotel concierge in Auckland, New Zealand. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, he moved to New Zealand because "It's the first place to see Christmas morning." When little ones see him out and about, they drop their jaws, point, and say, “Santa!” He smiles and whispers, “Don't tell anyone…the elves don't know I'm here.” Mike has shared is Santa magic with children in the states and abroad for over six years.
Santa Mike
As a young man, Santa Jim, had a passion for music and frequented rock concerts. “I like such a wide range of music. Anyone from the Beatles, to Liberace to Frank Zappa. It’s hard to pick a favorite.” He invested in equipment to feed his passion and paid for it by disk-jockeying at events. In the off-season Jim spends his time in the hot tub drinking mojitos. “I make the best mojitos north of Havana. One of my friends asked me, ‘What makes them so special?’ I said, ‘I don’t really know. No one has really challenged me on that before.’ “ Santa Jim resides in Loring, Ontario with Shirley, his wife of 29 years.
Santa Jim
Santa David, 73, is a retired System Test Engineer from Viera, Florida. “I made sneaky, fun toys for the government,” he said. When I asked him to tell me everything, he responded, “I can’t. It’s top secret.”

In 2012, he won the Grand Prize in Canon’s "Project Imaginat10n" photography contest. Ron Howard chose his winning photograph. In his spare time, Santa David continues to take photos of just about everything.

Off-Season Santas

Off-Season Santas

An ongoing portrait series of off-season Santas ©Mary Beth Koeth