Local couple retiring as Santa and Mrs. Claus, asking for Christmas donations to help community

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EL RENO, Okla. (KFOR) - A couple who has been playing Santa and Mrs Claus for 25 years is retiring, and they're asking for some help to continue giving back to the community.

Larry and Nancy Salsman started as Santa and Mrs. Claus at the VFW Post 382 in El Reno and have been making appearances around the community without ever charging anything. They only ask for donations to help other families.

"We've got kids that used to ask for the newest toy, the newest technology, but the last seven, eight years, that's changed. Kids are asking for pajamas, warm blankets, socks," Nancy said.

The donations go toward their annual shopping day, which is free for families in need. Last year, they served over 400 kids.

"When you have little three- and four-year-old kids crawling on your lap, and they're not asking for toys, they're asking for pajamas and socks and warm blankets, that kind of tugs at the heartstrings. And I want to continue the shopping day. That's important to us. It's become a family affair," Nancy said.

Health issues have forced the Christmas helpers to retire, but not without asking the community to pitch in.

"We don't have near enough toys and blankets and socks and pajamas like we would like to have," Nancy said.

As for the Salsmans' successors?

"I've got a couple who wants to borrow our suits. So hopefully we have someone step up and take it over, but we'll still continue to do the shopping day, because that's important to us," Nancy said.

This year's shopping day will be Dec. 14 at the Wesley United Methodist Church in El Reno.

If you would like to help out, you can send an email to: nms_1958@yahoo.com

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