Retail forecasters might purport to know the toys every child is asking for this Christmas, but Patrick Sheean, 79, is probably one of the best placed people in the country to make a prediction.
“I can tell you what the big thing is at the moment,” says the man commonly known as Santa Pat. “Frozen. Every little girl wants something from Frozen. Or an iPad. Back when I started, it would have been a Meccano set.”
This year, Mr Sheean celebrates 40 years of donning the red suit. The former farmer and salesman has done the gig in various settings – stores, hospitals – across regional NSW and Victoria, but since 2014 has relocated from Melbourne to Sydney over November and December to listen to the Christmas wish-lists of the littlest Sydneysiders at the QVB.
In that time, he has received 10,000 letters from children, which he keeps in his shed at home to read with his wife Beverley, 83, who appears as Mrs Claus on occasion and will make her QVB debut this month.