Two Harbors Man Celebrates Playing Santa Claus for 50 Years

Jerry Carlson has played the Two Harbors Santa Claus for 50 years.

TWO HARBORS, Minn.- Many know him as Santa Claus, St. Nick, or good old Chris Cringle.

It’s a Christmas fact that Jerry Carlson DOESN’T have that same ring to it, but he’s been the man behind the holiday magic since 1969.

“Everything is so spontaneous when you play Santa Claus,” Carlson said.

Jerry Carlson started as Santa riding down the streets of Two Harbors on fire trucks with Mrs. Claus- That’s the least of what he’s experienced because of the job!

“I had a little 92 year old lady on my lap up at the nursing home. She sat on my lap and turned around and looked at me and said, ‘I waited 92 years to sit on your lap and I finally did,'” Carlson said.

Carlson plays Santa at more than 50 events every year. A stop at Two Harbors Credit Union is just one of them.

“It’s really special just to see the expression on these youngster’s faces when they come and see Santa,” credit union founder and CEO Randy Willert said.

But it’s not always fun and games- there are challenges playing Mr. Claus.

“It’s also kind of fun to deal with the screaming kids, too, because everybody loves to get a picture with the kids and sometimes they’re screaming, but it doesn’t matter, they’re with Santa,” Carlson said.

Not to mention, keeping up with trends in what toys the kids want can be tough when it’s all electronics in 2019.

“When I first started, for the boys, it was Tonka Toys and Barbie dolls,” Carlson said.

But Carlson thinks Santa Claus is a tradition that’s worth keeping up with.

“It’s been a very rewarding experience for me and I have thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it,” Carlson said.

And he doesn’t plan on stopping the gig as Santa any time soon.

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