78 Years of Santa

We interview Legendary Santa, who has been visiting Richmond since 1936.

Courtesy Children’s Museum of Richmond

Legendary Santa

Legendary Santa has been visiting Richmond for 78 years now, coming down the chimney to meet local children and hear what they’d like for Christmas. It’s a tradition that began at the former Miller & Rhoads department store in 1936, and has continued at the Children’s Museum of Richmond since 2005. VirginiaLiving.com was lucky enough to interview the Legendary Santa to talk about coming down the chimney, how many letters he receives and what he and Mrs. Claus do with their spare time.

Happy 78th anniversary Legendary Santa! What is it about Richmond that has kept you coming back for so many years?

Oh, the families, no question! I love coming down to see children and families and I’m so well received here. There’s a lot of tradition in Richmond, and Santa loves whole idea of families getting together to enjoy what Christmas means. It’s all about giving without getting back and I’ve never been anywhere so respectful of that tradition, so I just love coming back.

What do you do between Christmases?

Once Christmas is over, I take a good rest! Then Mrs. Claus and I take a vacation to relax some. Then we get straight back to work, supervising things at the North Pole, making toys for next year, upgrading the factories, making sure the elves are properly trained and making sure everything is ready to to go. We start cranking up again in August, and once children’s letters start coming in we have to make adjustments based on the toys being requested

How many letters do you get?

Literally millions. We get letters from Macy’s, from the Children’s Museum of Richmond, from USPS, from everywhere; they all get to me.

Do you recognize children who’ve sent you letters when they come to see you at the museum?

Of course! Particu-MORlarly if it’s Thomas form Richmond and he says “I want a DS3,” and I say “I know you!” That’s’ neat. But very often children bring letters with them and give to me at the museum.

What’s it like coming down the chimney every day?

I fly in every morning, land the reindeer and the sleigh on the roof of the museum. They built the chimney for me because it’s convenient. Of course, there’s a stairway, but I’d much rather come down the chimney! I check on the reindeer throughout the day, just to make sure they’re OK, plus to make sure Rudolph isn’t causing any problems. The only issue with the chimney is that half the time I get a little stuck near the bottom where there’s a curve!

Who is the elf? Where are they from?

I bring an elf with me everyday, and I bring an elf who’s been chosen because they’re a good elf. Their job is to help the kids and make they are happy.

When is your last day at the museum this year?

Christmas Eve, obviously! Then I go up the chimney at around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. I have a lot of work to do that night!

—Legendary Santa will come down the chimney daily at the Children’s Museum of Richmond Central Location until Christmas Eve.

2626 West Broad Street, Richmond

804-747-7000 or C-MoR.org/Legendary-Santa


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