Tom Kliner has been playing the part of Santa Claus in Kelowna for nearly thirty years and he’s back for another Christmas as Jolly Saint Nick.
With his joyous smile from ear-to-ear and his noticeable sense of welcoming, the big-bellied man in red became the perfect candidate for the role of Santa Claus and since then, has never looked back.
"It all started out when I quit a job and there was an ad in the paper back then. I didn’t exactly realize what it was, but once they phoned I needed the money, so I thought that this will take care of six to eight weeks, so I started doing it and just totally fell in love with it,” said Santa Tom.
Kelowna’s long-time Santa has a custom red suit, a long bushy, white beard and he’s here to spread holiday cheer.
"I’m not the guy in the mall. I get out and get to do different events, I get to go to different people’s homes, I get to do special events like light ups and stuff like that, so every year there’s a little change and it just keeps it exciting,” said Tom.
“The thing that gets me the most is when the kids come to visit and stuff like that their eyes are wide open, everything is brand new to them — everything we take for granted — they still think the world is a great place, and it’s fun.”
While Barbies are the most popular wishlist item for kids this year, Santa tells Castanet there’s a toy that makes the list every year without fail.
"The one that still gets me and it’s been going on for a couple of years now is garbage trucks. So many kids want garbage trucks," Santa laughed.
Rocking the red and white from mid-November until Christmas, you can expect to see Santa Tom out and about at a variety of different public events this month.
Although his schedule fills up quickly this time of year, Santa Tom is available for bookings through the Santa Tom website.