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A BIT MORE ABOUT MRS. C:
Name: Jessica Claus
Address: 123 Main Street, North Pole.
Hobbies: Baking cookies; decorating and making sure there is a Christmas tree in every room of the Claus household.
Favorite songs: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
Favorite movie: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Annabelle’s Wish”
Some of her duties: Supervising the elves toy-making and helping Santa go over his list of boys and girls not once but twice.
By ROBERT VILLANUEVA
Behind every great man — so it is said — there’s a great woman.
Santa Claus is no different.
Throughout Hardin County, Mrs. Claus can be found beside the jolly old elf himself, helping children write letters and answering questions about the North Pole. Ms. Claus can be found from Vine Grove to Glendale.
Just as the man in the red suit has helpers around the world, so does his wife.
“She’s not as popular as Santa, but she is there,” Martha Farmer, a Mrs. Claus helper, said.
Farmer has been a Mrs. Claus helper for the past five years, ever since she took on a challenge by an Upton florist. At the time Farmer was selling advertising for Commonwealth Broadcasting and was trying to sell a remote broadcast, a set-up which involves the radio station broadcasting from a business’s location.
When she approached the business owner, he stipulated that he would buy the remote if they could have Santa as part of the deal.
“I said, ‘I’ll do you one better,’” Farmer said.
That was the first appearance Farmer made as Ms. Claus.
Since then she has been a featured guest in Elizabethtown’s Christmas parade as well as other community events, sometimes appearing with a helper elf named Belle.
Glendale postmaster Lisa Adrian, of Vine Grove, is another Mrs. Claus helper.
“I’ve been playing Mrs. Claus here in Glendale — this is the third year,” Adrian said.
Adrian portrays Mrs. Claus during Glendale’s Christmas in the Country. The first Saturday in December she holds a letter writing event for children, an activity that draws 150-200 kids.
“They write what they want for Christmas,” Adrian said.
Sometimes they thank Santa for the gifts they got the previous years, inquire about how Santa is doing or ask what they can leave out Christmas Eve for the reindeer to eat, she said. Mrs. Claus interacts with the children, helping them put their finished letters in a special mailbox.
Adrian answers those letters after collecting them.
“I try to write it so that it talks about what they wrote in the letter,” she said.
The postmaster also keeps a special mailbox in the lobby of the post office for children to drop off letters to Santa.
Letter-writing to Santa is pretty popular, she said.
“I even had some after Christmas,” Adrian said.
The children tend to have lots of questions for Mrs. Claus, too.
“One thing that I learned is that you have to be consistent with the stories children know,” Farmer said. “If you don’t you confuse them.”
Because of that, Farmer tries to keep up with movies and stories about Santa and Mrs. Claus, she said. She keeps up with reindeer, too.
“That’s probably the biggest question: ‘Where’s Rudolph?’” Farmer said.
Farmer explains she has her own special sleigh that she parks at the airport. Then she gets a ride to whatever event she’s attending.
Sometimes children will ask for special gifts.
“A little girl wanted a bald baby doll because she didn’t have any hair yet,” Adrian said.
In general kids talk about “everything,” she said.
“They tell all kinds of things to Mrs. Claus after a while,” Adrian said. “They tell things on their parents,”
In some ways, Mrs. Claus can interact with children more than they can with Santa, namely because many are intimidated by the man in the red suit. On the other hand, Mrs. Claus is more “approachable,” Adrian said.
“She’s more of a grandma figure,” she said.
Farmer feels it very important to stay in character once she puts on the Mrs. Claus outfit. She feels others in similar roles should do the same though she’s witnessed some who don’t.
“That kills me for people who put on the suit,” Farmer said. “You should become the character, too.”
Assuring children she will “put in a good word” for them is generally as far as Farmer will go when getting gift requests from children.
“You don’t ever promise anything to a child because you don’t know the situation,” she said.
Sometimes it’s hard hearing stories that tug at her heartstrings, Farmer said.
“If I could I’d give every child the perfect Christmas,” she said.
When Adrian worked in the Radcliff post office she did a Santa letter-writing activity for kids but not as Mrs. Claus. She finds her role rewarding.
“I love it,” she said. “I really, really enjoy it.”
Likewise, Farmer enjoys the innocence of the children and what she described as a “magical moment of trust and belief” when children first meet her.
“I will do it for as long as I can keep my figure,” Farmer said, laughing.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743.