A look into the life of a professional Santa Claus

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By Omkar Katkade, Staff Reporter

During December, old men with beards visit public places to see random children. 

These men are Santa impersonators. Since 2014, local Santa-for-hire Bernard Gasioworski has worked to spread holiday cheer to children in the district.

Gasioworski has looked like Santa for a long time. Even before he was a professional Santa, he would wear a Santa hat during the Christmas season. Eventually, enough people told him he looked like the fictional character, Santa Claus, which led him to go to a school for Santas to get a professional Santa actor diploma in 2014. Gasioworski has since worked many Santa jobs at people’s homes, breakfast gatherings and the King of Prussia mall. 

A rule about being a Santa impersonator is that they can never say they are the real Santa Claus.It will confuse children to see multiple Santas after one Santa claims to be the real one.

“So instead of me saying that I am Santa, I basically go and say, ‘Oh, and how are you doing? Have you sent your Christmas list to the North Pole yet? Oh, have you been brushing your teeth? Okay have you been listening to your mama?’ I’ll just ask them all those series of questions, so they conclude that I’m Santa,” Gasiorowski said

Kieran Raymond, who organizes events for her neighborhood, helped plan an event for Christmas this year for her community. She hired Gasioroski to be Santa

“It  felt magical, like (the children) felt Christmas magic. And they felt like there was something special happening, that little feeling of spirit and wonder that kids get at this time of year,” Raymond said.

Raymond admires Gasiorowski’s devotion towards the kids.

“I think he really genuinely enjoys what he does. It’s not like some guy trying to make extra money at the mall or something and , you know, he looks like Santa, and he grows his own beard to the character,” Raymond said. 

Because of his expertise and enthusiasm, Raymond has already hired Gasiorowski for Christmas in 2021.

“ He really wanted to give the kids that feeling of like Christmas spirit and having all of his attention for a couple moments,” Raymond said.