Santa moves to Cresco

—Mrs. Claus accompanies to keep him cookied up


CRESCO - That’s right. Father Christmas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle or the sugar daddy more commonly known as Santa Claus moved just north of Cresco in August.
He brought along Mrs. Claus, of course, but left the elves and reindeer behind at the North Pole. They have jobs to do.
Santa visits every town in the world on Christmas Eve, so he’s been around. Why did the Clauses choose Cresco? “We wanted a nice, warm small-town atmosphere, where people are kind and have good hearts,” said Mrs. C. 
Well Santa certainly knows where the “Naughty and Nice” people live, he has a book to prove it, so he must have liked what he saw in Howard County!
So far they are enjoying themselves. They have most of their wardrobe here in Iowa, which includes several formal and many casual outfits. They have regular clothing as well, but really like to wear festive clothing around the holidays.
Their “work” clothes consist mostly of green and red cloth. That is one of the jobs of Mrs. Claus, to sew their clothing. She has an entire room dedicated to sewing. She has an embroidery machine that can make all sorts of designs with lots and lots of colored thread because the Clauses are very colorful people!
Another favorite hobby of Mrs. Claus is making cookies! In fact, according to Santa, cookies is how the couple met. “I was at the North Pole and needed a new sleigh. I went to the best sleigh-maker to order one. When I went into the shop, I smelled cookies. The more I stood there, the more I wanted those cookies. Then, the sleigh-maker’s daughter brought out a plate.” In a conspiring whisper, Santa admitted that Mrs. C is the sleigh-maker’s daughter!
It might not be too hard to guess Mr. Claus’ favorite hobby . . . eating cookies! “I like testing new cookie recipes,” he ho, ho, hoed.
But being Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus is not all baking and eating. They have real responsibilities, like taking care of the elves. Mrs. C said she is in charge of feeding and caring for them and sewing their outfits, while Santa helps them with their toys.
Santa also has to maintain and care for the sleigh. But his second favorite job (after taste-testing cookies) is training the reindeer.
The North Pole is really far away, so sometimes the Clauses have to use magic to check up on their northern responsibilities.
Both Santa and Mrs. C enjoy reading books to the kids. Some of the ones that are most preferred are “Elf on a Shelf” and “Mensch on a Bench.”
When the couple is out and about during the Christmas season, they are many times dressed in their holiday garb and generally carry the essentials: The Naughty and Nice book, candy canes, a naughty and nice coin and stickers.
Children and adults might catch them having a bite to eat or maybe even shopping for groceries! They are always happy to chat with young and old alike.
“I like to go out to dinner just to see the kids’ faces light up,” Santa said.
Mr. Claus has enjoyed attending Christmas in July events and Breakfast with Santa. 
The Greenfields
Santa and Mrs. Claus have a couple of very nice friends who live near their Cresco home, Randy and Paula Greenfield. They are such good friends, they almost look like twins!
The Greenfields moved to the area at the same time as the Clauses and are sometimes called Santa’s helpers!
The couple relocated from Minneapolis. Randy worked as a hotel maintenance manager for 18 years. The chain did not have a hotel close to where their five children and two grandchildren live, near Des Moines, so he changed hotels and now splits his time between Hotel Winneshiek and Fairfield Marriott, both in Decorah. 
They wanted to move to a rural area for themselves as well as their pets. They have two purebred Newfoundland dogs. Hoss is eight and weighs 180 pounds, while Honey Bear is nearly six (being born on Christmas Day) and weighs 205. They were married in a Texas ceremony.
In the past they have owned Percheron horses. Randy has even driven teams of draft horses. In addition, the couple trained two long-horn steers to allow them to be ridden by their good friends, Mr and Mrs. C!
Paula also worked for the hotel chain for a few years and is currently retired, working part-time at Crestwood Elementary. She was in travel for 30 years. She has shared some of her knowledge with Mr. Claus over the years.
Randy enjoys fishing and woodworking. He used to go hunting and fishing, as well as teaching Hunter Safety Classes. Just like the real Mrs. C, Paula likes to bake. “When our kids were growing up, their friends called me Cookie Mom!”
Randy’s beard, and the couple’s love of the Christmas holiday, got them started as Santa’s helpers about eight years ago. They did it on their own, and then they took classes. They got their Santa-ology Associate Degrees in Atlanta (along with 60 Santas and eight Mrs. Clauses) and their Bachelor’s Degrees in Tampa (with 44 Santas and five Mrs. Cs)! They belong to the International Brothers of the Real Bearded Santas, Nationwide Santas and even Palm Tree Santas. In addition, they learned how to do magic tricks. They are required to have background checks and insurance.
At Santa school, they learned how to answer even the hardest questions. Paula said they are taught to never lie, but make every answer magical. 
Q: Are the elves your children? A: We have many elves. What is your name? (Billy) We have an elf named Billy.
Q: What do you do on Christmas Eve? A: I put the elves to bed early because they’ve been working hard.
Besides being close to Randy’s work, the house they found was perfect for a dream of theirs. Paula said, “We want to have our home look like an entire winter wonderland and have kids walk through. This house is perfect.”
Santa’s helpers enjoy bringing Christmas joy to others. They have paid visits as well as donated visits to local businesses, events and individual homes. They have been known to show up unannounced to the little ones in the house and hand out presents. 
One of their favorite visits is when the kids are asleep and parents wake them up to spy on the couple leaving presents and pieces of wisdom behind.
To learn more about the Greenfields’ other hobby, check out
It’s not all fun, though. Sometimes it’s heart-wrenching to be Mr. and Mrs. Claus’ helpers, like when they visit hospitals.
Mrs. C and Mrs. G both agree that being Mrs. Claus “is the most fun thing I have ever done. I wish Christmas was six months long.” And to that, Santa agreed with his legendary “Ho, ho, ho!”

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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