Santa’s magical white beard isn’t the only thing spreading holiday cheer this year.
Joel Strasser of Kuna, Idaho, USA, isn’t just decking the halls, but his face as well by turning his beard into a Christmas tree.
On 2 December 2022, the serial record-breaker attached an impressive 710 wearable multi-coloured holiday ornaments to his beard, achieving the record title for the most beard baubles in a beard.
Beard baubles are the latest tacky holiday season fashion trend since the ugly Christmas sweater.
Also known as “beardaments,” the festive, clip-on facial hair accessories are colourful jingling balls for brightening up bristly faces.
It isn’t the first time Joel has sported a well ornamented beard.
“December of 2019 was the first time I stuck an ornament in my beard and the first time I broke the record,” said Joel.
“Ever since then I’ve re-broken my own record every Christmas as I’ve improved my beard bauble technique.”
Joel first broke the record in 2019 using 302 baubles, then in 2020 with 542 baubles, and a third time in 2021 with 686 baubles.
“My technique has evolved and gotten a lot more specialised over the years that I’ve been breaking the record,” said Joel.
“I stuck them in a lot more haphazardly at first and that’s why those first beard bauble record numbers were so low.
"I found that if I take my time and really focus on the individual strands of beard hair and small groups of hair, I can manage to fit so many more in there.”
Decorating his beard isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, Joel says it’s a tedious procedure that takes quite a bit of patience.
The process of attaching all 710 baubles to his beard took two and a half hours and over an hour to remove them.
“It really pulls on my beard. It’s painful to have all those hairs pulling at once. All those baubles add up to about five pounds,” said Joel.
“I have to remove them all individually because each one has a tiny alligator clip. If I tried to shake them out it would probably rip my beard and face off.”
Joel also admits that it’s helpful to first get into a festive spirit by playing some appropriate Christmas music.
“It helps my beard be more receptive to the baubles,” he said.
“I’ve found the Twisted Sister Christmas album, Twisted Christmas, does the trick.”
Still, Joel says baubles (and clothespins) are some of his least favourite objects to place in his beard.
“They have springs and hairs get stuck which makes it almost impossible to remove without pulling out a lot of hairs,” he said.
“I think Q-tips is the best one. It’s actually soft and comfortable compared to most things I’ve stuck in my beard, and it makes me look like Santa with a big old white beard.”
Joel says he wants to push the limits of the beard cramming record titles.
“Once I realised I’m the best in the world at sticking stuff in my beard, I decided to break as many record titles as I can,” he said.
“If there is a record for stuff in a beard, I want that title!”
Joel (and his big bushy beard) also holds an additional 10 records:
- Most paper straws in a beard – 534
- Most straws in a beard – 312
- Most chopsticks in a beard – 520
- Most golf tees in a beard – 607
- Most forks in a beard – 126
- Most toothpicks in a beard – 3,500
- Most pencils in the beard – 456
- Most clothes pegs (clothespins) on a beard – 359
- Most chopsticks put into a beard in one minute – 86
- Most pencils put into a beard in one minute – 59
While Joel doesn’t plan on using his baubles to decorate any other part of his house for the holidays this year, it surely won’t be his last run in with the beardaments.
“I have a large shoebox full of baubles and I think they’ll stay there until I decide to attempt the record again,” he said.
“It’s tedious enough sticking over 700 of them in my beard. I don’t want to take the time to stick them all in the tree and remove them later!”
Joel also says that while his friends and family are proud of his latest record title achievement, they think it’s a little bizarre.
“They think I’m nuts, and I guess I sort of am. You have to be a little crazy to break a bunch of records with your beard,” he said.
“My wife begged me to trim my beard a little after this bauble record and I obliged and gave it a little trim—nothing major!”
Joel encourages those who would like to break a record to give it their best shot.
“It can be done! If a schlub like me can break world records, so can you,” he said.
“Find a category that interests you, decide you can do it, and practice until you do! It takes a lot of work for something as silly as this, but the glory is worth it.”
Joel has plans to elevate his beard stashing game but has yet to finetune the details.
“I’ve been thinking about candy canes, but I haven’t tried it yet. I wonder if I can fit more candy canes in that are still in the plastic or out of the wrappers and pre-licked,” he said.
“And also, the Q-tips really make me look like Santa with a big white beard so if I can find a Santa costume that would be great for that record.”