Bruce Dawson of Ashburton has naturally high cheekbones, and a rosy colour to his face.
They are perfect attributes when it comes to helping out the big man in red in the lead-up to Christmas.
‘‘I don’t even need a pillow,’’ the 71-year-old said, patting his tummy.
Bruce and his wife Sherilyn are up with everything Christmassy as they help Santa Claus prepare for a busy season.
As Mr and Mrs Claus, Bruce and Sherilyn are at many an engagement leading up to Christmas. They are currently preparing to be stationed at the Ashburton Arcade December 20 to 24, 11am to 2pm. They moved to Ashburton earlier this year from Whangārei to be closer to their grandchildren in Leeston.
‘‘We had been down to Ashburton a couple of times, and absolutely loved it. It’s such a lovely town and it’s so friendly, best thing we ever did,’’ Sherilyn said.
They are expecting Barbie dolls will be in big demand after the hit Barbie movie having screened this year, as will Squishmallows plush toys, they said. The perennials of bicycles and gaming equipment were also sure to be popular.
‘‘Some kids ask for so little,’’ Sherilyn said. At a recent work-do, a little girl on her husband’s knee said she didn’t know what she wanted, but agreed with Sherilyn she would just like ‘‘a lovely present’’.
At any rate, the elves are busy in Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole, working away with just 17 days to go before Christmas Eve.
Bruce began donning the bright red and white fleeced suit about 20 years ago, appearing as part of a neighbour’s Christmas light display. Sherilyn came on board in 2019, when she started helping children lined up to sit on his lap at Harvey Norman in Whangārei.
It is a job they both love.
‘‘My biggest achievement is when they look at you and don’t know, but in the end you win their trust. A high-five usually does it,’’ Bruce said.