Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus…and He Lives in Bergen County


There are some pretty amazing folks living here in Bergen County.  These unsung heroes quietly go about doing their ‘thing’ without getting proper recognition for their largesse to the local population.

Joseph Sarnoski, a volunteer fireman from Lyndhurst, is one such person.

In his words;

“I started playing Santa Claus 37 years ago when I first became a fireman back in ’72. I used to have to glue the beard on or wear one of those string beards.  It was fun.  I enjoyed working with the kids.  I was a volunteer fireman and we used to have Santa every year at the firehouse. Kids from all over town came, and you’d sit there all day and give them presents.  It was a lot of fun.”

“As the years went by, I used to do it once a year but then certain school and hospitals started calling me.  And, then after I retired and I started growing a beard, I started getting a lot of calls!”

“I literally have between 35-40 calls in the month of December.  Last year I did the Wallington Christmas Lights parade.  And, that was tremendous.  It was my first year doing it.  I hope they invite me back again.”

“It’s all volunteer.  You can’t charge to be Santa.”

Through the years, Joe’s hair and beard turned silvery-white, and the twinkle in his eyes grew even brighter.  Now, he no longer needs any Santa Claus enhancements other than a pillow for his big tummy.  This man is truly the real deal!

His final message?

“Be good.  I’ll see ya at Christmas.  Keep those cards and letters coming!”


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