Gary Lico has been making TV viewers happy by licensing programming for most of his adult years. Now he’s making children happy by dispensing Ho Ho Hos! as… Santa Claus. During the Christmas holidays, Lico’s distribution activities play second fiddle to his Santa commitments.
Through his company, GaryLico.Tv, Lico, a VideoAge fan (as shown in the above picture), is busy launching a worldwide commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Forensic Files. The series debuted in 1996, and is now in its record-setting 16th season. Fourteen newly produced episodes were launched in September. However, come December, Lico exchanged his corporate suit for a Santa suit. And luckily, the long, white beard comes already installed! “Most of us Santas are booked weeks, even months in advance,” he said, explaining that the pandemic has created a shortage of Santas throughout the U.S.
Lico’s Santa metamorphosis began in 2014 when he closed CableReady, his early company in Connecticut, and went to North Carolina to start GaryLico.TV. “When I moved to North Carolina, I became more relaxed. Having a little more time on my hands, I thought about becoming a museum docent or a librarian, but my loud mouth would DQ me from that,” he explained. “The alternative was to become Santa. So I grew my beard, had a few extra milkshakes, took an online course and…wham! I became Santa!”
However, Lico warned, “Santa is not a hobby; it’s a calling. Anyone can put on a $49 Walmart red suit, don a fake beard and ‘Ho Ho Ho.’ But the real Santas get their inspiration from within to carry the Christmas spirit.”
He then explained that his “calling” starts at 8 a.m. most days during the holiday season, and includes participating in town parades and tree lighting ceremonies, visiting homebound seniors, attending parties for volunteer workers, and visiting the homes of underprivileged kids, since no child should be without a visit from Santa. “Ever.”