Eileen Bernhardt

“Lancaster Best Santa”
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
1928 – 2008

International Santa Claus Hall of Fame – December 2021

The most popular Santa in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for many years was Eileen Bernhardt.

She had a career in the red suit that lasted 32 years, from 1969 through 2000. Over that time, she held more than 100,000 local tots on her knee listening to their Christmas wishes.

Over the years, she was featured in the many newspapers papers and in national magazines such as Woman’s Day and Family Circle.

She spent 12 years as Santa Claus at the Manor Shopping Center and 20 years at Window Valley Mall until she retired in 2001.

Bernhardt also appeared on national television appearing on What’s My Line and the Soupy Sales Show. Some of the money she received as Santa each year was used to buy gifts for needy children who would sit in her lap. She would get their addresses and surprise them on Christmas Eve with a visit to their homes.

In 1982 she was picked as the Best Santa in Lancaster County by a survey published in the Lancaster Newspaper.