Editor's note: Santa Ed passed away four days before Christmas on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Thank you for the joy you brought to countless local children.
Forget the sleigh; "Santa Ed" drives a red GMC Denali. The 70-year-old professional Santa is racking up the miles this season as he visits homes, company parties and other gigs. Edward Scott of West Jordan, a civil mechanical designer by day, has been playing Saint Nick for the past seven years.
How did you start out as a professional Santa?
I've had a beard for over 40 years. When it turned white, and with my physical appearance, kids actually let me know what my obvious path was. My wife and I would go Christmas shopping and parents would come up to me, and tell me their kids thought I was Santa. And they'd ask if I'd talk with them.
What was your first gig?
The first year was in the hospital where I was a patient. I'd had heart surgery and my wife brought my Santa coat for me to walk the halls. As I visited others, it helped me to heal.
What's your going rate?
It varies with time and distance I have to travel.
Do you own more than one suit?
I have two specially made suits. I prefer the longer coat that, to me, represents a more old-fashioned Father Christmas look.
What's the most unusual request you've received from an adult?
I was asked by a young firefighter to assist in asking his girlfriend to marry him. I rode up to her house in a fire truck with the lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Any dicey moments in your career as Santa?
I was to do a surprise visit to someone's house, but was given the wrong address. So I went into someone else's house instead.
What are the best moments?
It's that first magical moment when recognition flashes in the eyes of children—and many adults—when they see me as Santa coming through the door.
Can people tell you're a Santa even when you're off duty?
Yes! It's difficult to go shopping or generally out in public. My wife jokingly says she can't take me anywhere because it takes us twice as long.
What advice would you give a newcomer entering the profession?
Be professional and provide quality in everything you do—from your suit to your attitude. Be sincere in your desire to create that magical moment that will lie in a child's heart forever. Children are smart, and they can see through things if they're not done correctly.