- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

FRANKLIN, Neb. (AP) - They might not have a sleigh or a reindeer with a bright red nose of their own, but one Franklin couple have done their best to bring the magic of Santa to the children of Franklin County over the years.

Each Christmas season for the past 55 years, Randy and Elvera Dallman have donned red suits and traveled through the countryside as Santa and Mrs. Claus, making house calls for three generations of Franklin County residents.

Though their schedule gets hectic once December hits, playing Santa is something that Randy Dallman has enjoyed immensely.

“It’s well worth the time,” he said. “I’m still a kid at heart.”

When Randy Dallman started playing Santa in 1960, he and Elvera lived on a farm outside of Macon, a small town just north of Franklin. That year, the person playing Santa at a local high school was sick, and Randy Dallman was asked if he would fill in. From then on, the tradition grew.

“It’s the best,” Elvera Dallman said. “Otherwise we wouldn’t do it.”

She didn’t accompany her husband at first, but she joined him later and helps keep track of his schedule and maintains his appearance.

First, the couple made only door-to-door appearances to their neighbors around Macon. Eventually, they were asked to appear at community events, in parades and at private parties throughout south-central Nebraska. Once, they were asked to go to a December wedding in full Santa gear.

Randy Dallman has gone through six suits and five fluffy white beards. He lost his hat in a tree at a home he and Elvera paid a visit to one year.

They’ve also dressed up as the Clauses for their three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Randy Dallman said his favorite part about playing Santa is interacting with the parents and children - though some of them aren’t always good boys and girls for Santa. He’s had his beard pulled down twice this year by older children.

“We’ve had some brats,” he said. “The kids are awfully smart these days.”

The Dallmans’ holiday schedule has slowed some as they’ve aged, but they’re still plenty busy. They recently greeted children and took pictures at Franklin County Memorial Hospital. They also had appearances set for a nursing home and the Franklin Public Library.

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Information from: Kearney Hub, https://www.kearneyhub.com/


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