Clifton's Own Steampunk Santa - Inclusive, Energetic, Full of Love


Marty Coleman doesn’t always don a custom-made couture suit, but when he does it’s for a very good reason.

“I first started being Santa years ago, when my kids were little,” the proud father of three said. “I was always volunteering at their school (School 9) and they needed a Santa.”

Coleman teamed up with Jackie Lee, a local seamstress, to create his one-of-a-kind outfit and a Botany Village photographer, Judy Justin for private photo shoots with this “Steampunk Santa."

Now he’s the official Santa for many places in Clifton including CHS, several elementary schools, preschools, nursing homes, a martial arts academy, and more. Coleman says that one of the things that makes him a great Santa is his patience. He particularly loves to work with the differently-abled and says that he understands the neurodivergent in a way that not everyone does. “Being Santa is more than just throwing on a red suit,” he said. “It’s a vibe.”

Coleman recounted a visit to a preschool, where a quiet little girl ran back to him after his visit was over. She handed him a tiny jingle bell, as if bestowing her most prized possession. “It was just one of the sweetest, purest gestures that I've ever witnessed. I will literally cherish this thing forever.”

Daniel Ruiz, a recent client, said simply, “He was amazing.” Daniel and his family of four, including their large dog, traveled from the Bronx, New York to take photos with this special Santa. “He was very welcoming from the minute we got there. He got to know our family. He greeted our dog Snoopy…wanted to make sure there was a comfort level. He was friendly, laughing…we’ve been taking Santa pictures for years and this was by far the best.” Ruiz says that they already have plans to return next Christmas.

Writing about his Santa gig on his own Facebook timeline, Coleman said, “Santa is love. He doesn't care who you bit last night or if you just pooped your pants. He doesn't care how many legs you have or how many chromosomes you have. He doesn't care how much melanin you have or who you voted for. He doesn't care whether you think pi is a number or something you just ate way too much of. He loves you regardless of orientation, identity, or expression. He will take pictures with your dog, your cat, your chinchilla, or your stuffed animal. Heck, he'd even take a picture with your plant! He loves that, too!”

In addition to photo sessions in Justin’s studio, Coleman does private visits at homes and other locations by request. You can find this special Santa on Instagram, write to him at, or call/text him at 973.519.6416.

Photo credit: Judy Justin

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