Rutland’s mystery Santa returns
By Gordon Dritschilo
A sign of the season arrived at the newsroom of the Rutland Herald this week in the form of a small Christmas card holding a folded, typewritten note.
“A frosty rime seems to be on our heads in our fair city, on our eyebrows, and upon our faces,” it read. “Tonight I begin my slight efforts to melt away that rime.”
Rutland’s “Secret Santa” announced his return, along with his attention to distribute $2,500 to people he spots out and about in town.
“Seven gifts of $50 each were delivered randomly this evening to shoppers in downtown Rutland, with 43 identical gifts to be delivered before the 24th of December, each a small light against the gloom,” the note read. “I hope the recipients enjoy these gifts as much as me, though it’s hard to imagine that!”
Secret Santa first appeared in 2007, surreptitiously handing people cards with cash in them and then slipping away. Initially, his gifts would vary from $20 to $50 and he would give out a total of about $800. Last year, he started making uniform gifts of $50.
In a 2009 interview — granted on the condition that his anonymity be preserved — Santa described himself as a native Vermonter of modest means. He said his own family does not know about his holiday activities, which he initially conceived as a one-time endeavor but is now prepared to continue for “decades” so long as his identity remains concealed.
This year’s note described the gifts as lifting “the darkness I witness around me.”
“Though they may have little economic consequence for the recipients, given the size, for me they are a light, a breath of fresh air,” he wrote. “The mist and the cold vanish with the darkness upon each delivery to an unsuspecting person.”