A Jolly Good Fellow

In December 2019/January 2020, Doby Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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When Santa’s not delivering presents on Christmas Eve, he’s working as an engineer for Amtrak and as a bartender at Stir in North Hills; he goes by the name of JD Thomas. You’ll never find Santa’s alter ego out of “Santa-mode,” however, as Thomas is always cheery, spreading joy to everyone around him. Thomas says he was “born as Santa” but officially got into the business of wearing the big red suit five years ago, when another Mr. Claus couldn’t make it to Amtrak’s Santa Train; Thomas agreed to fill in. “Seeing those kids was so emotional,” Thomas says. “I wanted to keep doing it.” For the past three years as a way to get into character, Thomas has had his signature red suit tailored at Village Tailor on Peace Street. Owner Peggy Jin and her employees help fit Thomas into the suit, replacing buttons here and there or fabricating new accessories such as the black belt and gold inlay cape you’ll find Thomas wearing this year. Although Amtrak’s Santa Train is already sold out for the season, you can find Thomas—er, Santa—on the Great Raleigh Trolley’s Santa Express, at Stir’s Santa Brunch held every Sunday in December and at various events downtown throughout the holiday season.

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