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My Look: Danny Baize, Professional Santa

We recently spoke with a the fashionable man from the North Pole about what it’s like dressing as Santa. Here’s what Mr. Claus had to say.

Is the suit hot?
I wear an ice vest underneath it. Some suits have built-in slots for cooling packs.

What makes you a professional Santa?
I attended Santa school on a scholarship, and I’m a member of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas.

Where do you … Santa?
I do a lot at Sullivan’s Hardware. And other events. At a nursing home, the same woman asks me for a new husband every year.

What do you say?
“I specialize in children’s toys.” At Santa school, you learn how to respond to almost any gift request. The weirdest one I had was from a little boy who just wanted tomato soup.

It must be the most diplomatic job in the world.
Never promise anything. If I child asks for a puppy, I say, “I tried that one year, and they just kept jumping out of the sleigh.” Every once in a while, you’ll get a kid who says, “I’ve heard that one before.” You learn this stuff at Santa school.

What else do they teach?
Grooming. How to use a curling iron on your beard to make it form up nice.

How did you get into this?
A friend who’s a teacher didn’t have a Santa for the school’s Christmas program. I was clean-shaven at the time. I didn’t really want to do it, but I said I’d do it once. I liked it so much, I bought my own Santa suit and grew my beard out.

You’re pretty thin for Santa.
I’ve lost weight. There’s a movement toward fit Santas, because of that Kurt Russell movie.

What else does Santa wear?
A Hawaiian Santa shirt. I also have a Santa cycling jersey. My bike is red, too, now that I think about it.

Gallery:

Fernandez began writing for Indianapolis Monthly in 1995 while studying journalism at Indiana University. One of her freelance assignments required her to join a women's full-tackle football team for a season. She joined the staff in 2005 to edit IM's ancillary publications, including Indianapolis Monthly Home. In 2011, she became a senior editor responsible for the Circle City section as well as coverage of shopping, homes, and design-related topics. Now the director of editorial operations, she lives in Garfield Park.
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