'For the kids' Spreading Christmas joy keeps Santa's local helper moving


Santa Claus, played by Tom Keith of Uniontown, is all smiles as he is escorted atop a fire truck to the Seymour Downtown Christmas Event on Nov. 26.

Tribune photo by Aaron Piper/ Jacob Stephens, 7, sits on Santa's lap on Nov. 26. Santa, being played by Tom Keith of Uniontown, visited Seymour for the Downtown Christmas, and will be at Santa's House at One Chamber Square Friday evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons to visit with children.

In 30 years of playing Santa Claus, Tom Keith of Uniontown has worn out one red suit and changed the color of his beard.

“It used to be black, so I had to bleach it,” he said of his signature feature.

Now, at age 63, his naturally gray-and-white facial hair and jolly personality are what make Keith such a convincing Santa to most children — but not all.

“Last year I had a boy sit on my lap and tug on my beard and say, ‘I know you’re the real Santa,’” Keith said. “So I asked him how he knew, and I was expecting him to say something about the beard, but instead he looked down and said, ‘Because you are wearing real leather boots.’ Kids pick up on little things like that. I got a kick out of it.”

As for the Santa suits, he makes sure to have a backup on hand.

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