He doesn't see you when you're sleeping, he has no idea when you're awake. And when it comes to being bad or good, don't worry about being good just for Frank Falvey's sake.
He doesn't see you when you're sleeping, he has no idea when you're awake.
And when it comes to being bad or good, don't worry about being good just for Frank Falvey's sake.
"I try to stay away from that," said the Pond Street resident, in character as the jolly fat man during a downtown jaunt. "I don't think Santa Claus is trying to judge the bad or the good. It has to do with innocence and hope and possibility and wonder in what's going to come."
In fact, Falvey's only quid pro quo is that you actually use his signature present: a small box of crayons covered with -- what else -- Santa Claus-themed gift wrap.
"You have to have Santa Claus paper," Falvey said at the town's senior center.
For more than a decade, Falvey has played Santa. It started after he switched jobs, freeing him from a facial-hair ban imposed by his boss, a work force Scrooge.
"You grow a beard and I'll fire you," Falvey said his boss told him, adding that the man at least had one redeeming quality. "You knew how he felt about things."
Falvey's new beard grew in full and mostly white, complementing his natural bowl full of jelly.
"People would just look at me and know who I was," he said. So he embraced the identity.
"I think in part it's just the nature of who I am," he said. "I'm comfortable bringing a smile to people's faces."
Just in case people think they're being rude by associating him with Santa Claus, he wears the North Pole denizen's trademark cap, Ben Franklin-style spectacles, a red thermal undershirt and a red winter jacket most days during the Christmas rush.
"The hat or the jacket says he knows who he is," Falvey said.
The final accessories are the boxes of crayons, bought by the case during back-to-school sales by his daughter and then jammed into his pockets. While he normally gives them to kids on the street, they're a toy fit for all ages, Falvey said, as a recent Uxbridge senior citizens' dance attested to.
There, a woman who had asked him for her gift unknowingly opened a box and then passed the crayons around to her friends, all of whom drew on the paper tablecloths.
"I couldn't believe it," Falvey said. "Everyone was getting into it."
Falvey said adults often tell him things they might not share with others, such as a holiday memory from childhood or a secret wish.
"Santa still has a sense of magic and trust and confidence," he said.
And Falvey tries to guard that mystique. During a photo shoot earlier in the week, he didn't want a photographer to capture him brushing snow off his car, lest children see his true mode of transport. But as one shot attests to, yes Virginia, this Santa does enjoy a spirited game of bridge.
He also likes to walk around spreading cheer. After a visit yesterday to the senior center Christmas party -- whose attendees "loved it," director Karen Alves said -- Falvey brought his good tidings downtown.
As a few shoppers scurried here and there, Falvey tried to inadvertently position himself in the path of those with kids, proving there's a fine line between spontaneity and stalking. While he gave out one package of crayons, a quick peek in the post office drew a disturbed look from the adults in line.
"Sometimes I'm not greatly appreciated," Falvey said.
The outing contrasted with his reports of going on December or January cruises with Mrs. Claus, where his beard, hat and red bathing suit usually draw an admiring crowd.
"We really have a great time," Linda Falvey said, adding that she's not embarrassed by her husband's hobby. "He enjoys it very much."
While Falvey won't reveal his age -- if asked he'll launch into the origins of Santa, starting in Turkey in the 1300s -- he knows a time will come when he'll have to pass the torch.
Asked if he already had an heir apparent, he replied, "I'm sure I do. I just don't know who they are yet."
Milford Daily News writer Michael Morton can be reached at email@example.com or 508-634-7582.