Chatham Mr. and Mrs. Claus Spread Christmas Cheer All Year Round
Chatham, VA--December 25th may have come and gone, but for one Chatham couple, Christmas lasts all year long.
They are even known as Mr. and Mrs. Claus, because come snow or sunny weather, they're in character.
Carl and Anne Burke are known in the community for always wearing red and white, keeping candy canes in hand, and are always ready for picture.
To them Mr. and Mrs. Claus is more than just a gig during the holidays, over the past 14 years it's become their lifestyle.
"The real season begins for us usually last of October, first of November. She counted up all that we've done, we've been involved in over 80 events," said Carl Burke.
However, that doesn't mean Carl and Anne Burke hang up the gear until next Christmas season. The title of Mr. and Mrs. Claus stays with them all year round.
"We go into a restaurant and all of a sudden you see a child peeping over a booth looking to see even in the off season," said Carl Burke.
It all started after Carl broke his arm in a motorcycle accident, and couldn't shave his beard.
"It got longer and longer, it got whiter and whiter and several people said, you sure look a lot like Santa Claus and so that's the way Santa was born," said Carl Burke.
During their off season, their learning how to be a better Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Santa conventions.
"I have a masters degree in Santaclausiology, we both do," said Carl and Anne Burke.
And no matter where they are, they're always ready.
"I was at the beach one year and I walked into the gift shop and the lady says oh my goodness Santa Claus and I said yes. The next day I was at a daycare at a church in Swansboro, North Carolina with 40 kids on my lap that day before it was over with and I was just in a pair of shorts and a red shirt," said Carl Burke.
But they say it's about more than just pictures, it's about the joy they can bring. All year they make visits to sick patients that may not make to Christmas day. They say that's what makes being Mr. and Mrs. Claus so rewarding.
"It's just been a joy," said Anne Burke.
Carl and Anne Burke also have a program they present to children called Kneeling Santa. It's based on the idea of Santa kneeling at the manger Christmas morning. They say it's a way they integrate Santa with celebrating the birth of Jesus.