Santa and Mrs. Claus spread joy, merriment on Christmas |

Santa and Mrs. Claus spread joy, merriment on Christmas

Santa and Mrs. Claus made their annual debut at the Parade of Lights on Nov. 29.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

The legend has been around for centuries, and although there are many versions, the basic idea is that there’s a man spreading cheer in December out of the goodness of his heart.

Considering how many places he’s got to be during the holiday season, the people of Craig and Moffat County have been fortunate enough to have this jolly old elf around for an extended period.

It may be hard to believe, but yes, there is a Santa Claus, and he and his wife are becoming more and more visible in Craig in the days leading up to Christmas Eve, appearing at numerous parties and events before the big night.

Getting around a single town isn’t too complicated compared to flying around the world, after all.

There’s a great deal of speculation as to the true identity of this couple, who lie low in the off season under the aliases George and Ann Kidder. The names may fool adults, but the children of Craig instantly recognize the man known around the planet by terms like Father Christmas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle and Sinterklaas, even when he’s not in the red suit.

Santa and Mrs. Claus make appearances in uniform — outfits Mrs. Claus has made herself — a few times during the regular year, but once Thanksgiving is complete, that’s when the real work begins. The Clauses are booked for dozens of local events each year.

The couple takes no payment for showing up to festivities, insisting that their only compensation be for people around the community to continue paying it forward by donating toys, food or funds to a worthy cause.

The other part of their job is just being available for people whose holidays aren’t always merry, said Mrs. Claus, who enjoys socializing with the residents of Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab.

They also try to teach children the religious significance of Christmas and the reason for the season. Although there occasionally are kids with a stack of paperwork detailing their every desire, there are just as many whose yuletide wishes are heartwarming and often humorous.

The Clauses sometimes see skeptics in the crowd, usually age 9 or older, some who wonder where the famous reindeer are, the answer being that they stay out of Craig during hunting season.

Others are less concerned with Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and all the rest and more with the authenticity of the telltale beard. A tug of the facial hair usually will convince doubting children, but the questions about whether he’s “the real Santa” or if Santa even exists at all are met by a simple philosophical question by the big guy.

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