Christmas 2013: Langlois family got close to Christmas as the Clauses
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
George Langlois and his wife Pat shared their Christmas story with The Citizen’s editor Shawn Loughlin. The couple took over the Santa and Mrs. Claus role in the Brussels Santa Claus parade approximately 15 years before the story appeared in the 2013 Christmas issue.
For George Langlois, a charter member of the Brussels Optimist Club, it’s not too difficult to find a Christmas tradition that has stood the test of time.
Langlois has spent the last 15 years or so as Santa Claus in the annual Brussels Santa Claus Parade, among a number of other functions, so when the holiday rolls around, it’s not very hard to find him.
Despite having a stroke a few years ago, Langlois has continued his stint as the big guy come December and says he has no plans to step down.
“It’s quite a job, but it’s fun,” Langlois said in an interview with The Citizen. “If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t do it.”
The parade, he says, is always a big day on his calendar every year. What keeps him coming back is the children he gets to meet every year.
Langlois took over the big chair in the Brussels Santa Claus Parade when Wayne Lowe, who had previously been Santa, passed away. He says Lowe loved Christmas, so it was hard to lose him around that time of year.
“It gets in your blood,” Langlois said. “It can be a hell of a job some days.”
Langlois says getting dressed as Santa Claus is the hardest part of the job. He spent money on a good quality suit, which looks great, but it is no picnic to change into, he says.
Luckily, however, he is not alone. His wife Pat makes the journey with him every year as Mrs. Claus, a job she particularly enjoys as well.
“She enjoys it,” Langlois says. “The kids, the parade, all of it.”
Every year, Langlois says, he plays the big role at about 12 different events throughout Brussels, Clinton and Seaforth.
“Playing Santa Claus is a big deal to me,” Langlois says. “As long as I’m alive, I’ll get up there every year.”
Langlois grew up in Sudbury as part of a French-Canadian family, so Christmas, he says, was always an important time of year, with lots of food and drink to be had around the holidays.
In the early 1970s, Langlois first visited Seaforth, fell in love with Huron County and vowed to move back as soon as he could. He and Pat lived in Seaforth and they moved to Brussels soon after.
“I’ve been to a lot of places and Huron County is just the most beautiful,” Langlois says.
Another mandatory stop on Langlois’ Christmas tour every year is the celebration on Hill Street in Clinton.
At home, however, Langlois doesn’t need to dress up as Santa for his family. He spends plenty of time over the holidays with his children, grandchildren and even his six-month-old great-granddaughter, no suit necessary.