At a Santa gathering yesterday I was asked a question that I’ve been thinking about now for just over 24 hours. “How, without dying or cutting your beard, do you go out and not get recognized as Santa Claus?”
I pretty much said there’s no way. He, like me, is a naturally white bearded guy and it doesn’t matter what you wear, a man with a fairly long white beard IS going to be “recognized” as Santa.
But here’s what got me thinking… WHY would you not want to be recognized as Santa?
Now I get it, I’m weird, but I’m not alone and YOU may be just as weird as I am. There are at least a few of us who have used our portrayal of Santa as a personal improvement opportunity.
By nature I’m a bit introverted, Santa as allowed me to be more outgoing (something I’ve working on since way before becoming Santa), “being” Santa has also caused me to use a less coarse vocabulary, exercise more self-control and, all in all, refrain from more negative behaviors while consciously (and now often subconsciously) exhibiting more positive behaviors like being more thoughtful & more considerate.
Here’s my more refined answer to this question: Consider the reason you don’t want to be recognized as Santa… is it because you feel the behavior you are considering is unbecoming of Santa? If so, is that behavior not equally as unbecoming of you?
If you started portraying Santa because you liked keeping the Spirit of Christmas alive and being the source of many smiles and good feelings that’s great… me too. And, consider what a true gift Santa can be to you if you would use his inspiration to live your life in a way that is more congruent with YOUR “Higher Self”.
Just a little food for thought coming from me in Los Angeles on a very soggy Sunday afternoon.
COMMENTS SANTA’S HAVE SENT REGARDING THIS…
During the past 30 years or so, I used to allow my beard to grow during the fall and winter, and then either shave it off, or trim it in the spring. About 20 years ago, my beard started getting white, and many people and children told me I look like Santa Claus.
About 10 years ago, I bought a Santa Claus hat, and I would wear it right after Thanksgiving Day whenever I went outdoors. When children would see me, I would let out a ho,ho,ho, or ask their parents if their children were behaving. After Christmas, I would trim my beard very short, to decrease my Santa look.
In 2014, I went to Santa school, and in December 2014, I landed a job as a mall Santa. So then, although I was an official Santa, right after Christmas, I still trimmed my beard. In 2015 I became an independent Santa, and once again, I trimmed my beard after Christmas. I did the same this past year.
The biggest reason I would trim my beard, is because I believe that Santa returns to the North Pole after Christmas. I think many people believe the same. I also do not like being Santa 365 days a year. I like to just be me.
In addition to trimming my beard after Christmas, I would also stop wearing my metal Santa glasses, and also stop wearing red. Although I am trying to hide my Santa look, adults still recognize me as Santa, but children usually do not. It seems that children need to see the white beard, along with some red clothing.
Now getting back to the beard. This past year, I had a really nice beard. I debated whether I should trim it. After I got it trimmed, I instantly missed my beard. Right now it is starting to grow back, and once again, it is starting to look good. I decided to allow it to grow, but not super long. And like I said above, I will not wear my metal Santa glasses, and I will avoid wearing red. And I’m sure that adults will still recognize me as Santa, and if some children still recognize me as Santa, which sometimes happens, I’ll give them my “SHHH! Santa’s supposed to be in the North Pole!”
The other night during the Webinar, you went into deep thoughts on how your persona of Santa, and the business of Santa, and all its different aspects, has helped shape who you are today. As you were sharing, I couldn’t help thinking about a line form David Bowie’s song, Changes. The line says: “I watched the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream of warm impermanence.” What that means to me is, that although we go through a lot of different changes during our lifetime, we are still ourselves.
The video of the second “2016 Santa Debrief” webinar is now available and more…
To access last night’s session simply click the “Member’s Click Here” box on the top left of this page and log-in.
Join us LIVE Thursday, January 26th 5:30 – 7:00PM Pacific Time
Tip of the week. Update your photos and reviews in your online profiles.
WEBINAR RE-DO. There was a problem with audio feedback in the video recording so I'll be offering this webinar again, twice!.
The sessions will also be video recorded for later access by all members, including FREE members, of The Santa Claus Conservatory.
Attendees will be encouraged to share both positive and negative experiences so we can all learn from one another.
Thursday, January 19th 5:30 – 7:00PM Pacific Time
Thursday, January 26th 5:30 – 7:00PM Pacific Time
I’m excited to announce the brand new “Silver Level“* membership in the Santa Claus Conservatory.
As a Silver Member you will receive access to:
- Simple Sign Language for Santa & Mrs Claus
- Being Santa for Children with Special Needs
- Storytelling as Santa – The Coal Story
- Being Mrs. Claus
- Mistakes Santa’s Make Session
- Beard & Hair Bleaching – Santa’s Helping Santa’s
PLUS these Free Level sessions:
- 18 Tips To Make This Your Best Year Ever
- 2016 Santa Season Debrief (Available after 10-11-17)
* Silver Level membership DOES NOT include access to the 9 “Core Curriculum” classes, either live or recorded.
Silver Level Membership ONLY $47.50 – (less than $8 per session).
I’m doing this today, and you may want to too
Well, it’s over… or at least close to over. I know a few Santa’s may have a New Year’s Eve visit and/or a January 6th visit… or perhaps a few others, but for many the season has ended and for all of us the rush is over.
I’m going back over every one of my events and asking myself; What went GREAT at this event? What went badly at this event? How could I make this event better next year? What can I learn from this event to make my other events better?
From my first event to my last… I pull them op on my calendar, I review the notes I made. I try to remember as much about the event as possible and then I think about every aspect of THAT event.
The arrival, parking?
My Grand Entrance?
My performance, book reading, storytelling, etc.?
Was I busy the entire time?
How was my “set”, would the photos have been better if things were different?
I ask myself EVERY QUESTION I can think of and I add my thoughts to my “Make 2017 Santa Visits EVEN Better” document.
I’m also making notes about my wardrobe. I’m making notes about my favorite and least favorite events and what I liked and disliked about them.
By asking these types of questions at the end of the season for the last few years I’m finding my seasons are becoming more and more fun for me each year.
Here are the 3 most important questions of all…
- Do I complain regularly throughout the season?
- To who, the person, people, social?Why?
- What improves because of your complaining?
JOIN US- FREE: Many dozens of Santa’s from across North America and some from around the world will be sharing experiences from their 2016 seasons. Register here- https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/371274669851405827
The entire world-wide community of Santa's, Mrs. Claus' and all Christmas performers are invited to this FREE session to share and learn from each other.
The session will also be video recorded for later access.
Attendees will be encouraged to share both positive and negative experiences so we can all learn from one another.
Register here- https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/371274669851405827
WOW! The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind for me… dozens of appearances at home parties, corporate and community events, even some appearances on TV and couple of nights on a move set filming Beverly Hills Christmas 2.
Over the next 6 days I’ll be making about another 20 appearances, a couple of which I have booked very last minute because the Santa’s that were booked had come down sick. This has been a very dramatic reminder of just how important it is to do all we can to stay healthy during the “Santa season”.
I’m not advocating any particular health regimen for the season but I have found that NOT straining my voice, drinking LOTS of water, maintaining a decent diet, using new (or washed) gloves regularly and keeping my hands and gloves away from my mouth and eyes has helped me personally.
Now is the time we might become a bit cranky and loose some of our jolliness… BEWARE!
Take time to relax and breathe. I take long deep breathes in through my nose, hold it for as long as I comfortable can… and then slowly release my breath. I do that anytime I have a few minutes… as I’m taking the breathes I’m thinking “Thank you for allowing me to consistently be the best Santa I can be.”
ONE FINAL NOTE… you can NOW BECOME GOLD MEMBER in The Santa Claus Conservatory Membership will extend THROUGH 2017!
Here are 4 tips. 2 to make this year better and 2 to make next year better.
Here are the 2 for this year.
- Practice your “subtle authenticity”. Be real. After your Grand Entrance and the “being big” part of your appearance (or performance), allow yourself to be real, to be you. Talk WITH the children. Ask questions and give praise in your natural voice and in a very conversational way.
- LAUGH your Ho Ho Ho… Your HO HO HO’s should NOT be staccato interjections, they should flow as a natural part of your jolly demeanor… and DON’T overdo it.
For next year.
- Get a TON of photos. Before, during and after your event remember to ask the organizer for photos. These photos will come in very handy next year in your marketing
- Ask for, or if possible take, videos. There is no better way to improve our Santa “performance” than to watch yourself on video and then objectively review yourself.
The season is now winding down… breathe, relax, and enjoy what you’re doing.
Most of all have fun!
I’ve often said that for me the best part about portraying Santa Claus is who I’ve become in the process. I see Santa as my “higher self”. I strive to fully live at this “higher level” ALL of the time.
I’m bringing this up because of some Facebook and Instagram posts I’ve been seeing… Some have been SO NEGATIVE and many have been mildly negative. At the risk of coming off too preachy I’m going to say this:
We ALL have experiences that we can interpret negatively… too much traffic, rain, mud, sticky hands, cancelled events, faulty equipment, wardrobe malfunctions, too much direction, too little information… I could go on and on… we ALL experience all kinds of stuff.
The get the MOST out of portraying Santa… LIVE BEING SANTA.
Focus on the positive. Look at ALL things as learning experiences. Be creative, flexible and adaptive. Allow your portrayal of Santa transform you into the person you most want to be. Look in the mirror, or into your Higher Self, and ask; what is the best, most healthy, most resourceful way to interpret what is happening here? How can I internalize and share this experience in way that will express the most love and help spread the most joy and good cheer? Is this something that I might look back on as being funny… can it be funny now?
OK, I’m off my soapbox.
I’ll have another tip next week.
Have fun out there.
As the “Santa Season” gets into full swing it’s time to make and double check our “Santa’s Checklist”
Here’s some of the things on my checklist:
- Extra Gloves – http://www.gloves-online.com/cotton-parade-gloves-ornamental-stitching-extra-long
- Everlance (Mileage tracking app for phone) https://bnc.lt/E9ac/m3xXAVeyNw
- Breath Spray & mints
- Quantum Thera Zinc Spray – http://amzn.to/2g76Pj5
- GPS – Google Maps
- Water in my car
- Books – Night Before Christmas & Selfie Elfie http://amzn.to/2g7arBy
- Practice big smiles
- Remember to be real, authentic.
- Remember to ALWAYS be “in-character”.
- ALWAYS have fun!
Santa Fred Imhausen added to the list 11-28-16:
- Places and times to visit with contact names and phone/text
- Any props or gifts to deliver
- Beard comb/brush,
- Small towel for sweat
- Black tape for belt or shoe problem
- Suspenders if used
- Cell phone
- Santa glasses
- Keys if needed for visit or returning to home
- In snow area, ice melt, shovel, snack bars, water full gas tank
On 11-28-16 Santa Dave Thomas added:
- Sewing kit with replacement buttons.
- Lint roller
11-28-16 Santa Charlie McCollum added:
I take my red gift bag with me onto the set at the Red Barn Flea Market.
In it I carry a few things that seem to help with balky children:
- A Jack-In-The Box with an Olaf that pops out instead of a clown,
- A Slinky,
- A kaleidoscope.
I just keep them out of sight until needed. I used the Olaf Jack in the box one time with an autistic child and he was surprised when Olaf popped out but he laughed and he kept doing it again and again and laughed each time that it opened.
I keep a plush dog dressed in a Santa costume and a big Olaf that lights up with changing colors.
I'm not to keen on the zinc spray, but I do carry some zinc lozenges if I feel a scratchy throat.
Everyone should get a flu shot in plenty of time for it to be working before one gets exposed.
11-28-16 Santa Steve Eastis added:
- Never promise anything
- Always have hands visible
11-28-16 Santa Tom Myers added:
- Sewing kit if safety pin for fixing a list button.
- Santas magic key.
- Brush, comb, beard balm, & mustache wax.
- Spare giveaways in case client runs out.
- Protein bars and snacks for meals on the go.
- Car charger for phone.
- Printout backups of booking schedule, contacts and any balances due in case phone or iPad goes caput.
- Wet wipes for cleanups.
- Changing pad to protect lap from wet babies.
11-28-16 Santa Thomas Myers added:
- Jingle bells; wrist, hand, belt or boot straps with bells for a noisy seasonal entrance.
11-28-16 Santa Dave Christopherson added:
- An extra Santa Suit.
11-28-15 Santa David Hedgpeth added:
This is for PET day's.
- A dog whistle for the person taking the photos.
It looks good when the dogs ears are up. Makes the dog look happy?. No whistle the dogs ears are back and down and not looking happy?.
I always carry two suits to every event, I have never had to use the second suit, but it is there just as a back –up. I do realize that some Santas have only one suit, but maybe they could at least carry an extra pair of pants.
On 11-28-16 Santa Randy Cook added:
- Carry extra socks; I would do the same in my bag as a firefighter, nothing feels better that fresh socks.
- Protein drinks, when I miss a meal
- Extra Santa hat, with rain in Seattle the extra hat is handy
- Extra gloves, I'm doing a gig where I go up 20ft in a lift, it's dirty on the ladder and handrail. So I use white work gloves. From the ground it looks good
- Brookside fruit and nut bars for snack
- Lip balm
- Zinc spray and cough drop
- Waterless hand cleaner, doing EMS in Fire Dept. it became a habit to keep healthy from a infectious patients. I do it now to keep Santa healthy.
What else? Please send me additional things and sources for things and I’ll add them to the list. Santa@SantaEd.com