Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 14, 2022
Santa’s Helpers

Stansbury couple help out Santa and Mrs. Claus by standing in at holiday events 

For several years now, David Crispin has been donning red and white outfits during the Christmas season. His wife, Kimberlee Crispin joined him last year.

The Stansbury couple radiate the Christmas spirit during the holidays as they portray Santa and Mrs. Claus during family visits, photos with children, and Christmas parties.

The Crispin’s have been married for 35 years. David has been portraying Santa for the past seven years.

It all started at work.

“I was working as a substitute school teacher and I had a goatee and red hair, and the kids started calling me Santa,” David said. “So, I let my beard grow out full and I let my hair grow out long and white with chemical assistance, and I started doing Santa because of that.”

David’s first appearance as Santa was at Kibbles and Cuts in Stansbury where he posed with pets for Christmas photos. From there, he was hired to participate in a pancake breakfast.

David became so serious about his new gig as Santa that he enrolled in a “Santa School” in Denver in 2019.

“It was called the Christmas Performers Workshop,” David said. “Santa True is the teacher and he teaches Santas how to be better performers using acting and speech techniques… There were classes on how to pantomime, how to do gestures, how to greet people, how to pump up the crowd, and how to broaden your gestures during a parade or Christmas tree lighting. The whole purpose of the training was to make us better Santas.”

After graduating from his three-day Santa school, David set out to take up more opportunities to portray Santa.

During the pandemic, David conducted Zoom visits with children as Santa for free.

“We did a lot of family visits,” he said. “It was a learning curve getting everything working. Overall, I did about 25 families that year over Zoom.”

Last year, David was again able to conduct in-person visits with families again. He also portrayed Santa at the Real Salt Lake Christmas party and at Fan X.

After thorough consideration, Kimberlee decided to take up her role as Mrs. Claus last year.

“At first it was hard to find out what my role would be as Mrs. Santa…but it’s been very, very rewarding,” she said.

As Mrs. Claus, Kimberlee helps her husband set up to portray Santa. She also poses in photos with children, and shares stories with children.

Sometimes children are afraid of Santa and want to visit with Mrs. Claus instead.

“Sometimes I can hold the little ones who don’t want to go to Santa, because Santa, for some reason, comes across as a rather large, intimidating person,” Kimberlee said.

Eventually, Kimberlee wants to host visits with Mrs. Claus reading stories or crafting with children.

This year in April, David and his wife attended the “Worldwide Santa Convention” in Atlanta, Georgia with over 600 Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and elves from all over the country.

“We took classes about how to be a better performer,” David said. “It’s also important to know Santa’s whole story. We work on the background, so we will never confuse children by telling them different things. We work on having a common backstory and using it all the time. We get into the history of Santa, all the way back to Saint Nicholas, and the various nationalities, and the way Santa started in different countries… The idea is just to make us the best Santas we can be.”

During the convention, there were nearly 50 options for classes teaching Santas and the other Christmas characters how to wear their costumes, do their makeup and hair, and learn the business of Santa.

Accessories for Santa are also sold at the conventions including costumes, boots, and belts.

The convention helped David and Kimberlee to become more well-rounded in their roles.

“A lot of us don’t want to be the typical mall Santa that sits there and says, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ and then throw you off the chair, like in the movie ‘The Christmas Story,’” David explained. “We want to spend time with the children and get them comfortable with Santa.”

Worldwide Santa Conventions are held every two years. The next convention will be held in Memphis, Tennessee in 2024.

There is a rivalry between real bearded Santas and “designer bearded Santas,” according to David.

“With the real bearded Santas, they say, ‘Well, you can’t pull our beards off,’” he said. “The fake bearded Santas call us the yellow beards, because our beards aren’t as white as theirs are.”

David believes all Santa are created equal, regardless of whether their beards are real or fake.

This year, the couple has been busy conducting home visits, visiting various preschools, special education classes, work parties, and taking photos with families and children.

When David isn’t working as a substitute teacher and Kimberlee isn’t working as a civilian employee at the Salt Lake City Corporation, they are working as Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The couple plans to portray Santa and Mrs. Claus for a long time to come.

“Each family is so different and each visit is so different,” Kimberlee said. “You get to see the wonder in the eyes of the little ones and Santa’s story is so convincing that the ones on the border of that age, they will wonder. It’s so neat to see that in their eyes.”

“We love doing it,” David added. “The way the kids look at you and interact with you is so rewarding. Some of the children are 80 and 90 years old who enjoy it. It’s all age groups across the board… It’s just so much fun.”

Santa and Mrs. Claus, a.k.a. The Crispins, have a website at stansburyparksanta.com and a Facebook page “Stansbury Park Santa.”

They are also part of a Facebook group known as “Utah Bearded Santas.”

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>