When you have an unruly, foot-long white beard, you have to be very careful eating pancakes with maple syrup, especially in public. So when Santa Claus dropped by the pancake breakfast at Villa Serena Retirement Community in Santa Clara on Dec. 15, they gave him pancakes to go.
The senior residents and their guests were as excited as kids to visit with Santa. Bernie Romasko sat on his knee.
“Have you been a good girl?” Santa asked cheerfully.
Romasko was proud to see Santa wearing the new red velvet suit she had made for him. A Santa Clara resident when not at the North Pole, Santa Reed Biltoft grew up living next door to Romasko, who moved into Villa Serena just last February.
Biltoft purchased several Santa suits during his three-year stint as Santa, but they all fell apart quickly. So in December of 2017, he asked his long-time friend Romasko if she could make him a sturdier suit.
“It took me two weeks, but it’s worth it,” said Romasko. “Seeing how he becomes Santa in it is very rewarding and a lot of fun. We all have a lot of fun, his wife, too.”
Santa’s wife, Becky Biltoft, is his head elf. She bought her green elf outfit.
“When you’re inside this Santa suit and you see what’s coming at you — the happiness — it’s wonderful,” said Biltoft. “That’s what makes you want to do Santa. And you get to tell everyone, ‘You’d better be good!'”
“Yes, I still believe in Santa Claus,” said Romasko, who grew up in Montana. “The whole country needs to believe in something. And that’s as political as I’ll get.”