We Are The


CHAPTER #1 of the

Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas (FORBS)

A 501(c) Dedicated To The Professional Claus

In The News

You know how folks go out of their way to see Santa? 

Now picture DOZENS of us in the same place!

Yep, we DO draw a crowd...

And ya know, a LOT of reporters still seem to be kids at heart!

Top Stories

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Meet the Real Bearded Santas Trying to Keep Christmas Alive All Year

from Time.com

091124FORBSPresserCBS Pinks Grand Opening
KCAL Ch 9 News
Knott's knows that we'll pile into our favorite amusement park for the opening of an ENVELOPE!
091124-FORBSPresserOCRegister Jamboree Training Session
Orange County Register
Our friends in the media LOVE to watch us at work & play!
091124-FORBSPresser-CBSBroadcast Even our training sessions are interesting!
FORBS Workshops on CBS News
Santa loves the camera, and THE CAMERA LOVES SANTA!
Nelson Burke - ABC News SANTASoftheOC President Nellie Burke Makes National News
FORBS Workshops on CBS News
Santa loves the camera, and THE CAMERA LOVES SANTA!

Press Releases


    Media Advisory

    For Immediate Release

    June 11, 2018      



    The Santa World’s Oldest & Largest Annual Event!

    25th Annual Santa Reunion


     (See Appendix For Event History)


    Contact: Ric Erwin




    Who:                  The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas (FORBS, a 501(c)7), welcomes the FOUNDERS Of The Santa World back to the Reunion, as our Guests of Honor.

    What:                25th Annual Santa Reunion Weekend  The Santa World’s Silver Jubilee! 

    When:                Friday, Jan 25th -Sunday, Jan 27th, 2019

    Where:              Ontario Crowne Plaza (formerly Ontario Airport Hotel & Conference Center)  

                               • 700 North Haven Ave Ontario, CA 91764 •        • 909-980-0400•         


    Why:                  Each January, with the world relaxing following another joyful Holiday Season, the hard-working professionals who made all that magic happen for others, get together and make a little magic for themselves & each other!  

                               For the 25th consecutive year, hundreds of professional Santas & Mrs. Clauses from around the country will descend upon Southern California for the annual Santa Reunion— where they will renew old friendships & begin new ones, hone their professional skills, browse the latest & greatest Seasonal fashions, and purchase products & services from other professionals in the Christmas Community.

                               Many will be familiar to you, from TV, movies, commercials & online ads!!

                               Come meet & interview more than 100 REAL Santas—all in the same place. 




    Has It Really Been A QUARTER-CENTURY Already?

         In the late summer of 1994, German mail-order giant Otto Versandt was planning its Winter/Fall catalog. They had landed the world’s biggest super-model (Cindy Crawford) for the cover, so they decided they’d shoot the world’s biggest TV commercial to promote it!

    Casting calls went out to talent scouts, bookers & agents throughout the Southwest:

    “Santa Claus, full day– must have own costume, and REAL BEARD.”

         Ten professional Santas were selected from the hundreds submitted, and on a warm September evening, Universal Studios’ Brownstone Street  became a winter wonderland.

            The theme of the commercial was, “Even SANTA can’t handle all of these bargains!!”

         Selected as principal actor, Santa Tom Hartsfield was shown sitting in his sleigh, thumbing idly through the Otto catalog, while the other nine Santas scrambled up and down the snowy sidewalks, bumping into each other as they delivered armfuls of wrapped presents.

         Between takes (the shoot lasted more than twelve hours), they did what actors often do: they regaled one another with "war stories” about their favorite & least-favorite acting roles.

         In fact, they were getting along so well that someone suggested they “do lunch” sometime —but agreed this “reunion” would have to wait until after their upcoming Christmas Season!

    Next they decided their group needed a name, and remembering the casting call they’d each received, Hartsfield suggested the "Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas”—and with that whimsical proclamation by 10 professional actors, the modern Santa World was born...

         On the last Sunday in January ’95, they gathered at La Habra’s Northwoods Inn for the very first “Founders Luncheon”—which was such a success that, to a man, they all agreed to do it again the following year!  This time, a couple of the Founders brought a fellow Santa as a guest; and by the third year they all brought guests—so the reunions began to grow rapidly!

         Eventually, someone arranged a group outing for the night before the luncheon; next, they added seminars & workshops on Saturday afternoon to train all of the new Santas they were attracting, thanks to the Santa Luncheon’s growing media profile. Somewhere along the way a Vendor Faire was born, to spotlight the products & services these new Santas would need!

         By 2008, the Reunion had become an all-weekend event, welcoming over 300 guests; it was announced that the group would form a 501(c)7 non-profit based in Orange County, and their name would change to theFRATERNAL Order of Real Bearded Santas (FORBS)”. 

         FORBS’ annual reunion has spawned countless Santa groups, conventions, academies, documentaries & professional benefits.  Please join us next January, as we celebrate