‘Pappy Claus’ is coming to town

By T. Scott Boatright

Longtime area resident Tom Faber has long been known throughout Lincoln and Jackson parishes for his horticulture and beekeeping skills.

But in recent years Faber has become maybe even more renowned for his ability to transfer into “Pappy Claus” during the holiday season.

A Kansas native, Faber met his wife Lorrie Milam Faber there after she relocated  from Ruston with her mother, who had family in Kansas, following her parents divorce.

Married shortly after high school, Faber tagged along with his wife when she decided to return to Ruston, and the pair have lived here ever since.

Manager of Ruston Farmers Market before the COVID-19 pandemic, Faber also worked at Twin Oaks Nursery for years 

It was five years ago that Faber’s alter ego — Pappy Claus — was born.

“It all started when a daycare business needed someone to portray Santa Claus for the kids,” Faber said. “That was a fake beard and cheap suit, but I really enjoyed doing it.

“I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing it. Yeah, I make some money doing it, but I do some freebies, too. It’s just that Christmas magic when the kids think I’m the real deal, it’s pretty special.”

Faber again did the Holiday Kickoff for downtown Ruston last weekend but will be checking his “Pappy List” for many other appearances over the next few weeks.

“I’ve got gigs all over the place this year,” Faber said. “I was supposed to do the one for (the North Central Louisiana Arts Council) this weekend but I’ve had to take the week off because I’m trying to shake this sinus bug I’ve been battling. But I have five daycares I’m doing. I do house parties and all kinds of things.”

Faber also will hold a “Visit with Santa” event from 2 – 4 p.m. on Dec. 18 at Briarhill Farms, located at 11692 Clay Ansley Highway in Clay that will also feature vendors showcasing their artwork, baked goods and crafts

“On the 18th I’m doing an event out here on my farm in Clay just so that kids can take their picture with me,” Faber said. “Santa realizes the importance of shopping with locally owned small businesses because they are the heartbeat of a thriving economy, so that event will give people a chance to do their part in supporting their friends and neighbors by shopping local. Also on the 18th, I’ll be doing the Cookies with Santa program in Esma’s Alley.”

Faber said serving others is a big reason for his enjoyment of becoming Pappy Claus.

“Santa means love — unconditional love and acceptance,” Faber said. “Santa would never abuse or harm others. He loves everybody and everybody loves him. Santa likes making others happy, and so do I. So it’s really not hard to do at all. It’s something I love doing.”

And it’s that love that makes even having to deal with the toughest Christmas requests worthwhile.

“Sometimes those tough requests are hard to handle,” Faber said. “Sometimes a family member may have passed away, and a child wants to have them back and you have to explain that it is not within Santa Claus’ abilities to do something like that.”


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