Parting Shot

Story Carmen K. Sisson | Photograph Luisa Porter

It’s not easy being a modern-day Santa. First, there’s that whole time travel and International Date Line business. Then there’s keeping the beard snowy white (Santa’s secret: talcum powder) and remembering all these new-fangled toys.

And don’t even think of keeping your M.O. on the down low.

Larry Feeney can’t wear red, even in July, without causing a Santa sighting frenzy in Columbus. Over in West Point, Jimmie Crum keeps lollipops in his pocket year-round for his young devotees.

But Santa always makes time, says Mike Goree, of Starkville.

“We live in a world that wants us to believe there’s not any magic, but everybody knows, somewhere deep inside, there really is,” he says. “There’s more magic in Christmas than anything else.”