-- A husband and wife in Omaha, Nebraska, have officially changed their names to Santa and Merry Christmas Claus.
Formally known as Jeff and Mary Brookstein, the jovial Mr. and Mrs. Claus now have the merry monikers year-round after Douglas County District Court approved the name change today.
“We’re thrilled today,” Santa told ABC News of having his name finally reflect a passion of his for the past seven years.
“It’s going to be amazing,” his wife, Merry Christmas, added. “When you tell someone you’re Santa, they just light up. There are smart little kids out there that will say, ‘Let me see your driver’s license,’ and now we can do that.”
The Christmas-themed couple, both 60, met in 2009 as Santa was working part-time as a Santa for gigs at daycares, nursing homes, retirement centers and holiday parties.
“I had met my now Mrs. Claus and she went with me to all my bookings that first year,” Santa recalled.
It was a profession the two grew to love together, even using the Santa Claus jobs as their dates before they were married.
“When I met him, our dating was going to these events at daycare centers and senior citizen centers and it let me see how he has a heart for the people he was there to entertain,” said Merry. “It was a very gentle side to him. It’s just been amazing.”
For Mr. and Mrs. Claus, encompassing the Christmas spirit by changing their names means more than just donning a long, white beard and jolly red suit for the month of December.
“As we got it into it, we discovered that it’s more than just about the money,” said Merry. “It’s about the blessings of the children. This is something that is kind of a destiny for both of us. Obviously you need money to live on, but the reality is that it’s all about the heart. This isn’t something we only do for six, eight, nine weeks out of the year. This is a year-round thing for us. Whether it’s July or June or November, the majority of people look at us and smile and say, ‘Merry Christmas,’ and I say, ‘That’s my name.’ And that gets an even bigger smile out of them. It’s about the joy we bring to people.”
Although the name change wasn’t officially recognized by the courts until today, the couple said they don’t feel any different from before.
“It just feels like another accomplishment and another step in our journey,” said Merry.
“We are now officially Santa Claus and Merry Claus,” Santa proudly said.
ABC News contacted the Douglas County District Court about the couple’s new Christmas names and it had no comment.