Philip Wenz was only 4 when he first put on a makeshift red suit, snuck out of the house, strolled into an unsuspecting neighbor’s home and, reaching into a pillow case, began passing out candy canes. From that day on, Philip knew his meant to be Santa.
That year, and in the 47 years that followed, he made rounds at the small rural Illinois hospitals where his father worked as CEO. By fifth grade, he was bringing cheer to preschools and nursing homes. At 14, he was in his first parade, and two years later he wrote a term paper about his Santa-life ambitions. He got a D but that didn’t stop him. Now today at age 51, Philip is recognized as the first living member in the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. He proudly dresses up as Santa 200 days a year and says he’s living the dream.