The City Magazine Since 1975

A Claus Act

A Claus Act
December 2017

Meet a pro Santa—and his missus

Find Dale and Trish Parris at

When Dale Parris was asked to stand in for Santa at his daughter’s school event, his first thought was, “Heck no! I’m not a fat old elf; I’m a damn Marine!”

Twenty-three years later, the Murrells Inlet man has two double closets full of red and white suits, a real seven-inch beard, and membership in four professional Santa societies. “We never thought it would go this far,” says Dale’s wife, and Mrs. Claus, Trish. “But soon you realize no one’s mad at Santa, ever!” Dale continues. “You’ll be out doing regular stuff, and people’s faces light up just because they identify you as Santa.”

Adele’s of Hollywood is Dale’s preferred supplier for North Pole attire. The basic combo—jacket, pants, and hat—sets him back $800, and that doesn’t include the leather boots, belt, or antique keys he wears.

When you factor in multiple events each day in November and December, those clothes are getting a lot of mileage, which is why Parris owns many sets. Being Santa is not a get-rich-quick scheme. But it is a serious business, Parris realized after attending his first Santa conference in 2006. That’s where he picked up tips on posing for photos, personalizing his look, and visiting with special needs guests.

The Parrises are available year round for hospital visits, carriage rides, and photo shoots at the beach (they have antique swimsuits!). This December 9, visit them at Mercantile & Mash at 10 a.m. and Belle Hall Shopping Center at 3 p.m. 



Photograph courtesy of Coastal Santa