Mr and Mrs Claus promise surprise

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012
Mrs Claus and Santa, aka Janet and Justin Jones
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
LIFTING SPIRITS: Mrs Claus and Santa, aka Janet and Justin Jones, were seen dishing out lollies around Moturoa yesterday, with a hope of getting people in the festive spirit.

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What started out as a one-time visit to their granddaughter's kindergarten has become a full-time seasonal gig for Justin and Janet Jones.

The New Plymouth pair have been dressing up as Santa and Mrs Claus for the past 12 years and Mr Jones said their popularity was on the rise.

"Last year we dressed up about 50 times. It's grown over the years. It first started with two, went to 10, and now we're at 50," he said.

"We've made our own Santa calender with all the dates on it and she's pretty full for the month."

The couple spread their festive joy at Moturoa market day yesterday, and next week will do five days at New Plymouth's Riding for the Disabled before spending Sunday at the NPDC volunteers' Christmas dinner.

"We just do it for the fun. We don't charge, we just thoroughly enjoy the festive thing. Mind you, by the end of the month or start of Christmas I'm pretty buggered, and the wife is too.

"I just about lost my Santa suit this morning walking round the streets. I lost a couple of kilos I think in the hot sun," he said yesterday.

While they started off attending kids' functions, Mr Jones said they had also cracked the rest home market in the last two years.

"The smiles you can put on people's faces at a special time of the year is the payment we get back - and we have a bit of fun.

"We don't do anything major for them, but we're there as a festive thing."

Mr Jones said he would like to wish everybody a merry Christmas, and urged the district to keep watch on the 25th.

"My wife and I have both agreed this year we're going to find a family who's having a Christmas dinner, barbecue, or something, and we're just going to bowl on in there in our suits.

"They won't know us one little bit and we won't know them."

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