Mike Ulrich: York’s Santa Claus

Mike Ulrich not only looks like Santa Claus, but come the holiday season, the York County plumber dons a red suit and transforms into St. Nick.

Presented by: SpiriTrust Lutheran
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Mike Ulrich (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

While many might not know jolly ol’ Mike Ulrich the plumber, thousands recognize him as soon as he dons his custom, red velvet suit.

“I was a little nervous the first time I did it,” he says, “but the times after that, it’s been fun.”

Mike started playing Santa Claus 21 years ago when a photography company needed a Kris Kringle. He landed the Santa gig at the York Galleria shortly after and has been acting as Santa Claus every holiday ever since.

The job as St. Nick is no ho-ho-hoing matter for Mike.

His famous red suit was hand-sewn by his mother-in-law. And, yes, his trademark white beard is the real deal.

While the beard sometimes creates inconvenience for him as a plumber – job sites often require a hair net or a ponytail to prevent it from getting caught – the authenticity is worth it, he says. It gets him recognized anywhere from local supermarkets to the mall.

I just fell in love with it. I just get a kick out of those kids every year.

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Mike Ulrich

Mike’s commitment to Santa is more than a physical portrayal; it’s being ready for those moments when he is recognized.

Years ago, he was at a basketball game when a little boy came up to him and just said, “Santa?”

“Have you been a good boy this year?” Mike asked.

The boy started crying and admitted that he hadn’t been. Mike cheered him up by telling him that he was, indeed, a good boy, simply by telling the truth.

His career as Santa Claus is filled with stories like this, and each year, he discovers more.

It’s the joy of those little moments that keeps him in the signature suit each December.

“I just fell in love with it,” Mike says. “I just get a kick out of those kids every year.”

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