BELLEVILLE — Diane Wagner doesn't have to worry about getting coal in her Christmas stocking. She has been helping Santa (and his helpers) with wardrobe choices for a decade now.
"We've been renting to Santa since 2003," said Diane, owner of CenterStage Dance Apparel and Costume House.
A long row of red velvety coats with fluffy white cuffs lines a back wall of the business on North Belt West. It is celebrating its 15th year.
"Santa was in today, you just missed him," said Diane as she stood among giant Babes in Toyland heads. "He needed a new belt."
Yep, got those, too. Plus, gloves, tiny glasses to perch on rosy cheeks and silvery hair for head and face, if necessary. Although, sometimes it's not.
"Serious Santas grow out their beards and mustaches this time of year, then go and have them bleached," she said.
In case he needs those eyebrows to match a rental wig and beard, Diane has silvery makeup to make the transformation.
Santa tries hard to take care of his suit.
"When he has a pet event, Santa puts a barrier down on his lap," Diane said with a twinkle in her eyes.
And if Santa is in a pinch and can't make it to visit children before Dec. 25, he sends in his second-in-command: Mrs. Claus.
"Oh yes, we have costumes for her, too, and the elves. Plus, all the biblical characters."
As a customer, Santa "is usually very happy." The jolly guy doesn't worry about fittings. Artificial padding is available, but his suits come in four sizes, large to extra-extra-extra-large.
Besides, when it comes to his portly profile, "Serious Santas work on that year-round."
Need a Santa suit? CenterStage, 1722 North Belt West, rents a complete outfit that includes suit, belt, hat, wig and beard for $55 a day, with $100 deposit. Call 235-6032 for more information.