Meet the hardest working Santas

This is no part-time gig for these St. Nicks. They've carved out a profession warming kids' hearts during the coldest time of year.

1 of 5
Santa Rick
Santa Rick
Name: Rick Hyman
Hometown: Snellville, Ga.
Other job: Retired aviation attaché in the U.S. Dept of State
Santa Claus for: 40 years

I started in 1970. I'd just come back from Vietnam and bought my first JC Penney [Santa] suit. I found it was something I really enjoyed doing, being with children and hearing what they wanted to say. In 1989 I went overseas with the Foreign Service and started doing Santa for the Marine Corp.

In 2003 I rotated back to the United States and it was time to retire. I was having custom made suits done and boots but still wearing the fake hair and beard which I was never pleased with. Most of the guys had the real hair and beard. This is a guy that always had a military haircut but I bit the bullet and started growing it. Since then it's been much, much better for me. Soon after that I got a job at one of the local malls. I worked there for about three years and enjoyed it. Last year the Bass Pro Shops in Lawrenceville, Ga., contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in being their Santa. I have been sitting at the Bass Pro Shops for the last two years now.

I start on the first week of November and work everyday until the 24th of December. The income isn't that great but I'm retired federal government so I'm fairly well taken care of. I use [the extra income] for my Santa equipment and to pay for trips and, of course, for various supplemental things at home. It's not the money. For me it's the stories I hear from the children, the excitement I see in their faces. That's where it is.
NEXT: Santa Mike
Last updated December 22 2009: 10:21 AM ET
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