Redmond puts in the work to look like and be like St. Nick
DANNY REDMOND IS TEMPLE CITY'S REAL LIFE SANTA CLAUS
By Shel Segal, Communications Specialist
Communications & Special Projects Office, (626) 656-7317
Danny Redmond, the real Santa Claus of Temple City, takes time out of the busy holiday season to pose with his wife Helen Redmond, also known as Mrs. Claus. Matthew Escobar, Staff Photographer
Dec. 19, 2015 -- He looks Santa Claus. He even dresses like him and he can belt out a solid “ho ho ho!”
But, no, he does not live at the North Pole. This Santa lives in Temple City with Mrs. Claus and loves delighting children during the holidays and at a number of community events.
Danny Redmond can fool anyone into believing he is the one and only Santa Claus. Redmond, a city public safety commissioner and nurse with the County of Los Angeles, comes complete with a genuine white beard and a very real Mrs. Claus at his side, his wife Helen Redmond.
“I’ve had a beard since 1980,” he said. “The last time I shaved was when I was in nursing school, and not since.”
For the past six years, he has been serving as Santa Claus, first performing at parties with the Temple City High School band, and later for the city, most notably at “Lights on Temple City.”
As the town’s premier Santa Claus, Danny Redmond said he puts in the proper work that is required if you really want to look like and be like St. Nick.
“Instead of just painting the beard, I go and get it bleached,” he said. “I got a custom-made costume. I got a custom-made costume for Mrs. Claus. We’ve invested in the role now. I’m going with my strengths: I’m fat, I’m bearded. What better?”
But the main reason he said he likes to be Santa is the overwhelming appreciation from the children when they see him in his red suit at Christmas time, adding there is nothing else quite like it.
“The thing that got me devoted to it was the first year I did ‘Lights on Temple City,’” said Danny Redmond, who first appeared at the event in 2012. “Going from the antique car that drives us (down Las Tunas Drive) from Ralphs to (Temple City Park), and from the car to light the tree, the adulation and cheering that I got made me feel like Mick Jagger. It was the most positive esteem I have ever felt in my life. I sort of became addicted in one dose.”
While it’s mostly rock star-like cheering and lot of fun with the children, Danny Redmond said sometimes kids ask for things that are out of Santa’s control.
“There are some real hard things, so you have to want to bring happiness to kids,” he said. “You also have to be a little bit resilient. Kids may ask you something for their health or health of a family member, their parents’ marriage, but when it hits, it hits hard and deep.”
Another job hazard Danny Redmond found is trying to be Santa to kids who are a little older and might just be catching on.
“They are suspicious,” he said. “Six-year-olds will frisk you to see if there are pillows. They will pull your beard to make sure that it’s real. Seven is when they really start to think critically. Earlier than that they’re checking to see if you’re the real Santa. After that they’re challenging the concept completely. And that’s OK, because I can sell it until they’re 10 years old.”
Helen Redmond, a nurse with Temple City Unified School District, said she didn’t decide to be Mrs. Claus until her husband was already Santa for a few years. And then it just kind of worked.
“It wasn’t the kind of thing we thought out at all,” she said. “But then we had so much fun doing it together. It’s really, really fun.”
She added while she has to be a bit stern in her day job, she said it is quite the relief to let go a little when performing.
“I’ve had to learn how to be Mrs. Claus,” Helen Redmond said. “And I am not the main attraction. I’m just background activity.”
The couple has lived in Temple City since 1984 and Danny Redmond said he is enjoying his life in town while wearing the red suit.
“I feel like this is my turf,” he said.