Picture: Julien Behal

A couple from Nebraska who legally changed their names to Santa and Merry Christmas Claus recently visited Dublin to spread some Christmas cheer.

Previously known as Jeff and Mary Brookstein, the Christmas-loving couple (both 60) met online in 2009 and dated as they worked as Christmas entertainers for day care centres, nursing homes, retirement centres and holiday parties in their home town.

However, they have been living as Santa and Merry Christmas Claus year-round since 2016, and their mission in life is to spread the Christmas joy all year around.

Dublin Gazette caught up with the couple and the first thing we wanted to know is what made them decide to change their names?

Merry said: “When you think of Santa and Merry Christmas Claus, it brings joy and people smile. Everybody should have that happiness and joy in their lives every day of the year!”

The reaction they got from their family and friends was mixed. Some thought it was a great idea and others thought they were crazy.

Merry said: “They were so excited,” with Santa adding: “Some thought we were kind of crazy! But that’s part of what we do.”

Christmas is an all year around event for Santa and Merry Christmas Claus, and with the big day just around the corner, we asked what their favourite thing about Christmas is.

Santa said: “It’s a year-round feeling. It’s when I see everybody from babies to the elderly react, when they see Santa, it puts a smile on their face.

“If they’ve had a bad day and they see Santa, they smile, and that’s what Christmas is all about, all year around.”

Merry added: “For us, it’s not about the tree or decorations. We believe that Christmas is more about the joy and the spirit of giving than it is about what lights or tree to have in your home.

“For us, it’s more about the joy that we bring to others, and we try to do that every day of the year.”

It is Santa and Merry’s first time in Dublin and they were eager to try some of the black stuff.

“We just love [Dublin]! We went to the Guinness Store House and they have a wonderful tour. They taught us the right way to drink Guinness. We got to pour a pint, and we got our pictures on top of the dome,” said Santa.

Thinking of the real Santa Claus, the happy Christmas couple left a special message with Dublin Gazette for all the girls and boys in Dublin.

Santa said: “Tell the children of Dublin that the real Santa will soon be here, so the children have to be asleep early if they want to get their gifts.”

And finally, what is it like to be married to Santa? Merry was happy to reveal that, of course: “When you’re married to Santa, every day is Christmas!”

The couple were flown to Dublin by TK Maxx to launch its NeverEnding stocking, with TK Maxx hiding NeverEnding stockings in TK Maxx stores around Ireland throughout November and December, with unique gifts for all the family for an entire year up for grabs.