Everyone knows that Christmas and Santa Claus go hand-in-hand, but for one local family, Santa Claus is around all year.
They may not live in the North Pole, but Bill and Cindy Posey and their son, William, are Destin’s very own Claus family.
Cindy has been Mrs. Claus since the very first Destin Christmas parade in 1984.
“They came to my house, they picked me up in a car and I felt like a queen, I really did,” she said. “I’ve been Mrs. Claus ever since. I just love Christmas.”
Since then, Cindy has only missed two parades. One because she was out of town and another because she was fighting triple negative breast cancer.
“They gave me five years to live and I’m still here,” she said. “I looked them in the eye and told them ‘you aren’t gonna tell me when I’m gonna die, God’s gonna tell me when I’m gonna die.’”
Her daughter-in-law, Robin, substituted for Cindy that year. Learning the ropes for the role she will one day take over.
“I don’t know how many mother-in-laws can say this, but my son made the right choice,” Cindy said. “When I die, when he calls me home, then my daughter-in-law is gonna take over. It’s already been arranged with the city.”
There were many men who filled the role of Santa Claus in the parade until Bill retired from working for the city in 1998 and joined his wife on top of a Destin Fire Control District's ladder truck.
“I like when the kids sit on your lap and tell you stories,” Bill said. “I loved doing it, but I got older and kept tripping on things so I decided to hand it off to William.”
For the past three years, Bill has stepped into a supporting role for his wife and son as they bring smiles to kids faces every year. Their most recent appearance as Santa and Mrs. Claus came Thursday evening during the city's Christmas Tree Lighting event.
“I’ve always liked kids,” William said. “I coached little league for years. Mine are all grown up now, so this kinda lets me re-live them growing up through those kids out there.”
“I want this to be a family tradition,” Cindy said. “I’m such a proud mom. I never thought I’d be sitting on top of a ladder truck with my son.
Taking on the role of Santa obviously means listening to kids tell you what they want for Christmas. While most ask for a bicycle or the latest and greatest toy, there are a few who have more personal requests.
“When we started sending troops to Afghanistan and were losing a lot of them, there were a lot of kids who asked Santa to bring their daddies and mommies home,” Cindy said. “I couldn’t hold back the tears.”
“There were two kids that came up tonight and all they wanted was a merry Christmas,” William added. “They didn’t want toys, they just wanted a merry Christmas. Those kind of moments mean a lot.”
Even though Cindy has had multiple knee replacements and uses a walker at home, the 81-year-old said she isn’t finished being Mrs. Claus yet.
“I want to be Mrs. Claus until I die,” she said.