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Billionaire Takes Santa Role Seriously

Wed., Nov. 12, 1997

Warren Buffett liked playing Santa for his family - but bragging rights had no part in the deal.

Each Christmas morning, the nation’s second-richest man would become “a jolly billionaire version of old Saint Nicholas” and fling envelopes containing $10,000 across the living room floor to family members, his former daughter-in-law says.

Mary Buffett describes the scene in “Buffettology,” a book she wrote with attorney David Clark. Most of the book deals with the investment strategies of Buffett, 67, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., but it only briefly describes life in the Buffett family.

Mary Buffett, who divorced Buffett’s son Peter in 1993 after a 12-year marriage, said the gifts were later changed from cash to stock and were to be kept quiet.

“We were just instructed that we weren’t to go out and say, ‘Gosh, Warren just gave me $10,000 worth of Freddie Mac or ServiceMaster or some of the companies he had invested in,”’ she told the Omaha World-Herald in an interview. “It was not done.”

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