What would you do if you found out your parents were Santa and Mrs. Claus?
Nicole Freeman said she screamed when she saw her father, Gerald Morris, in his Santa garb, complete with black boots, but with the iconic Santa beard only partially on his face.
“I cried, ‘There is no real Santa Claus.’ Then I figured out that Dad is just a very special gift from Santa Claus, and he’s one of Santa’s special helpers. That was the greatest secret I ever had,” Freeman said.
Freeman, who lives in Fayette County, reminisced about the incident at Lenox Square Mall, where her parents were standing in as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
They were stopping in Buckhead after being asked to accompany the the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it makes its way on a 23-day tour from Meeker, CO–where it was harvested from the nearby White River National Forest– to Washington, D.C.
Gerald Morris and his wife, Twila, reside in Meeker and are well-known there for their alter-egos as the Clauses.
The couple has created a tradition of traveling door-to-door throughout the small town of Meeker on Christmas Eve on a snowmobile or four-wheeler handing out presents and spreading Christmas cheer.
“I do it for the fun of doing it,” Gerald Morris said. “I don’t ask for anything in return. I just enjoy having the time.”
Gerald Morris has dressed up as Jolly Ol’ St. Nick for the last 56 years, 46 of which were in Meeker.
He got his start as Santa by volunteering in his fifth grade class at “a little country school in Wyoming” to dress up in a Santa suit and hand out candy to his peers.
Freeman said the Morris grandchildren, nearly 30 of them, all know that their grandparents dress up every year and certainly look forward to it. However, the Morris’ own children weren’t let in on the secret until they grew much older.
Make sure to watch the video to find out how the Morrises kept their children from finding out about their alter-personas as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
“This is a very proud daughter,” Freeman said. “All of us, my brothers and sister and everybody, we’re all very, very proud of them. They worked very hard to get this honor, and it’s a big honor to be their children.”