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Key Questions to Improve Your Santa Season

What, if anything, would make this your best Christmas season ever?

What special thing or things would you like to do this season as Santa?

These are what I call my ‘Key Questions’…

I don’t use them to establish goals as much as to gain clarity about what is important to me about what I’m doing… that clarity seems to shift my focus.

In 2004, my second season portraying Santa, (I was a volunteer Santa from 2003- 2010 in Ashland, Jacksonville, Medford & Grants Pass, Oregon) I wanted to be in the local parades and do the countdowns at

Santa Ed Ashland, Oregon Parade & Grand Illumination

local Tree Lighting Ceremonies. At the time the Santas doing these things were typically reluctant volunteers wearing very inexpensive costume shop Santa suits that came with a wig & beard.

Every year from 2005 through 2010 I wanted to create bigger events and add more fun activities for the communities I served. In addition to the parades & Tree Lighting ceremonies, I spearheaded efforts to provide free photos with Santa. These events were run by volunteers and local business sponsors covered the hard costs.

So when I ask those questions to myself during those early years my answers usually had to do with more people, more activities (in addition to free pictures with Santa we had carolers, roasted chestnuts, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot cider, etc).

As the years passed everything grew… and the communities of Jacksonville & Ashland, Oregon loved our Christmases… and they still do (although I haven’t been there since 2010).

After the 2010 season, I decided I wanted to try my hand at being a “paid Santa”. So the answers to my key questions shifted. I still wanted to do some volunteer work for sure, but I also wanted some paid work.

By that time I had discovered a couple of Santa Groups and subscribed to their email lists (this is just about the time I was getting on to Facebook). As luck would have it, Santa Tim Conahan sent out an announcement about being a Santa at the photo studios at Walmart & Sears… and they were looking for a Santa in my area, Medford, Oregon. I applied for, I landed the jobs. I was probably the only local guy to apply.

Tim also posted about jobs in several locations working for Microsoft. I applied for a position in Los Angeles, and after a couple of Skype interviews, they hired me.

Just to take a moment to connect the dots… the answers to my Key Questions had to do with earning an income portraying Santa and 3 paying jobs came along, so far, more came along as the season progressed, but my point is, the questions helped me gain some clarity about what I wanted to do… the “stuff”, in this case, the paid work, followed.

So after 2011, I decided I liked being a paid Santa and I wanted to do more of it, but I didn’t want to work in a mall… what else is there?

Back to my ‘Key Questions’…

What, if anything, would make this my best Christmas season ever?

What special thing or things would I like to do this season as Santa?

The answers had to do with earning more money & doing more volunteer work (2011, my 1st year in LA was the only year since 2003 that I did no volunteer work as Santa).

I’ll spare you the year to year from 2012 to the present… but appearing in major parades & Tree Lighting Ceremonies, fabulous Home & Company parties, Entertainment Industry events, TV shows, movies &

Santa Ed Santa Monica Parade & Tree Lighting

commercials, doing “Santa Magic” photos, making appearances at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and doing a lot of wonderful work for not-for-profits, ALL of this, 100%, is the result of me asking myself my Key Questions… and without really establishing them as ‘goals’, but just allowing myself to be guided by the clarity of my intentions.

So, we’ll end where we started…

What, if anything, would make this your best Christmas season ever?

What special thing or things would you like to do this season as Santa?


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Kaercher Santa Insurance Webinar & Behind the Gold Curtain

Last week’s Santa Claus Insurance session with Bill Peel was very insightful and it also raised many questions.

For many years I, and many of the Santa’s I know, have bought our Santa Insurance through Kaercher Insurance so I asked Allen & Jacqui of Kaercher if they be willing to join us for a short Q & A session.

They said they would be happy to and we have scheduled the session for TOMORROW, Tuesday, October 8th at 5:00PM Pacific Time.

Yes, this session will be video recorded and available ‘on-demand’ on Wednesday, 10-9.

WATCH HERE: https://the-santa-claus-conservatory.com/santa-insurance-kaercher-q-a/

Also, here’s a look “behind the curtain” of the GOLD Membership Level

Santa Claus Insurance

Does Your Santa Claus Insurance Policy Provide Coverage For…

Theft? Are you covered if during a “Breakfast with Santa” your props are stolen while
you are taking pictures?

What if your Santa suits are damaged while at home or on set?

What if a child slips and falls on the presents next to your chair, requiring dental or medical expenses of $40,000 or more. Are you covered?

What if you have Mrs. Claus or Elves join you for a special party, are they covered under your Santa Claus Insurance policy?

Say you accidentally double book an evening, and the host of the event you can’t attend incurs expenses finding substitute entertainment. Are you covered?

What if a location where you are appearing requires that your policy name them as an Additional Insured and provide a copy of the certificate. Can you quickly access a certificate of coverage?

Learn the answers to these and many additional questions from Bill Peel. Bill is Second Vice President at USLI, which is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and an

Santa Claus Insurance Expert

Bill Peel

A++ rated company that supports its products with financial strength and stability.

In his role as Second Vice President, Bill has:

  • Been a Personal Lines Team Leader
  • 12+ years of insurance experience
  • Led the sales efforts for USLI Home Based Business Product

Insurance Designations:

  • API (Associates in Personal Insurance)
  • AINS (Associates in General Insurance)
  • Property & Casualty License in Pennsylvania

Bill is looking forward to sharing his knowledge about Entertainer’s Liability Insurance for Santa Claus performers during this webinar.

The session is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st at 5:30 PM Pacific, 8:30 Eastern time.

If I should have a last-minute conflict (at this time of year there are often last-minute TV & movie auditions & shoots), we will conduct the session at the same time on Thursday.

AVAILABLE ‘On-Demand’ – Click Here

The Best Santa Claus I’ve Ever Seen

In one way or another, I’m ‘connected with’ well over 3,000 Santas & Mrs. Clauses across the country & around the world… rarely does a day go by when I don’t talk with at least 2 or 3 Santas or Mrs. Clauses, and on many days it’s 10 or more.

I can’t tell you how many times Santas have told me that they’ve had clients, customers, photographers, etc. tell them “You’re the Best Santa Claus I’ve ever seen.”

When I hear Santas mention this I ask, “What do you think it was that caused them to say that?”

Their answers are all over the place, I hear things like “I was on a roll”, “My beard looked really good that day”, “They loved the way I answered the questions their children asked”, “I think they just liked my smile.”

So what can we do to be the best Santa people have ever seen?

In The Santa Claus Conservatory I refer to this as “being extraordinary”… and to me, that means we EXCEED the expectations of those we interact with.

The Best Santa Claus I’ve Ever Seen

We are more authentic then they expect, better groomed, more kind, considerate & jolly, smell better, use better language, are more responsive, tell better stories and tell them better, take better photos… and videos… ALL of this, not necessarily all at once, but each of things at different times makes us ‘the Best Santa they ever seen’.

By the way,  we don’t know what Santas they have seen so the bar may be very low, I remind myself of that when I get this compliment, I don’t want it to go to my head.

On occasion, Santas tell me they think I’m the best Santa they’ve ever seen, and I try to gracefully accept the compliment, and again I don’t know what Santas they have seen…

and while I do consider myself an extraordinary Santa, I see myself as one of a large and quickly growing network of extraordinary Santa & Mrs. Claus portrayal artists and I can’t imagine that there aren’t dozens & probably hundreds who are “better than” me.

I don’t sing, dance, play music or perform magic… many Santas do… many speak multiple languages, have better memories, etc., etc., etc.

All of these things can be used to create extraordinary Santa & Mrs. Claus experiences. 

I see my strengths are my authenticity, my fun & casual demeanor, my smile and my sense of humor… (I strive to make the most of what I see as my strengths while doing what I can to minimize the negative effects of my weaknesses, like my squinty eyes, one being slightly crossed, my lack of skill at singing & dancing, etc.).

From a business perspective, I see my strength as my professionalism. I’m very responsive and present myself professionally on the phone & in email. Again striving to exceed the expectations of all I interact with.

Being called the “Best Santa Claus I’ve Ever Seen” is a high compliment… one I’m honored to receive, it lets me know I’m doing some things right but I always remember Hollywood’s longheld popular truism, “you’re only as good as your last picture”. This concept has been expressed in many ways: 

  • You’re only as good as your last performance. 
  • You’re only as good as your last time at-bat.
  • You’re only as good as the last song you wrote.
  • You’re only as good as your last press release.
  • Etc., Etc., Etc.

Well as Santa & Mrs. Claus we too are only as good as our last appearance… fortunately for many of us Real Bearded Santas that can mean every time we’re out in public. 🙂

If you’re not yet a Gold Member of The Santa Claus Conservatory now is the perfect time to join, or upgrade your membership… if you are a Gold or Platinum Member now is the perfect time to watch or re-watch the sessions on working with photo studios & doing TV work. In fact, I just booked a TV shoot yesterday. 🙂

Here’s to you hearing “You’re The Best Santa Claus I’ve Ever Seen” many times this holiday season.

Resources for Professional Santas

Here’s a list of resources that I’m confident will help Santas of all experience levels build their skills, confidence & business.

The first thing on the list is this article you can share with local photographers. It does an excellent job of showing photographers what’s possible and also emphasizes the importance of having and paying a premium for an extraordinary Santa.

The article is titled How This Photographer Made $10,000 in One Day Shooting Santa Sessions

“Santa Claus Engagement Agreement”… Mine is available as a Word doc download.

“Doing Good as Santa Claus”… in this session, you will learn from 3 extraordinary individuals, John Scheuch, Mark Ramsey, Dutch Schrap.

John is the president of Santa America and he’ll share some of his experiences with children in hospice care, children with autism & grief. Mark & Dutch both have their own foundations that do amazing work.

“Storytelling & Upping Your Santa Game”… Santa Michael Wubker walks us through his typical “Home Visit” including the story he tells.

FREE American Sign Language (ASL) Booklet created by Santa Thomas McDonald Santa’s ASL Signs 30 and an entire ASL session taught be Kat Imhausen

“Maximize Your Income & Impact” Santa Ed Taylor – This is the same presentation he presented at the International Santa Celebration in Denver.

“Social Marketing & More” with Santa Mark Ramsey

“9 Do’s & Dont’s for Santa & Mrs. Claus”

“Storytelling Session” with Santa Ed Taylor (+ 2 other storytelling sessions)

“Being a Mall Santa: Soup to Nuts”

“7 Ways to Increase Your Income by Thousands of $ This Santa Season”

“18 Common, Costly & Embarrassing Mistakes Made by Pro Santas & Mrs. Clauses”

“101 Questions for Santa & Answers” with Santa Joe Pridgen

“12 Ways Santas Have Earned More Money”

“18 Common Santa Mistakes Session”

“2017 & 2018 Santa & Mrs Claus Debrief Sessions”

“Up Your Santa Game – Rapport Building Techniques for Santa”

A link to a comprehensive page of equipment suppliers/vendors.

And much, much, more… all with 100% Money-Back Guarantee… monthly payments are available.

Become a Gold Member now in time for this year and have access for 12 full months.

Hire Santa Training Session

This session is brought to you by Hire Santa, it’s open to ALL Santa and it’s recommended for all Santas who would like to work in Mall or Retail stores through Hire Santa.

The live webinar was conducted on Wednesday, September 11th. 

**Attending this session is not a guarantee that you will be placed by Hire Santa.

To watch this session “On-Demand” simply login. If you have a Bronze level membership or higher you will see the access link.

If you are a FREE Member follow the directions here & Hire Santa will pay for your upgrade to Bronze membership… you have no obligation to work with them. CLICK HERE

Santa Season Preparation 09-02-19

With ‘Peak Booking Season’ starting in 30 days & Black Friday only 58 days later what can you do to maximize your Fun, Income & Impact during Santa Season 2019?

Here’s How to Prioritize Your “to do’s” for the Next 87 Days…

This is a reminder for Gold & Platinum members… and encouragement for those who aren’t currently Gold or Platinum to become a Gold Member today.

Start now with the 7 Marketing Sessions. This will allow you to learn & implement proven marketing strategies in time for this Santa season. The sooner you can watch & implement what you learn the better.

‘Peak Booking Season’ starting in early October

Next, watch the 5 sessions on “Community Events” & “Company/Corporate Parties”. These are typically the first events of the season. By watching or re-watching these sessions in October or early November you will be prepared to not only make wonderful and memorable appearances… but you will also be prepared to ask the right questions and do the right things to leverage these events into future years.

Then consider the sessions on Home Visits, Storytelling, Performance, Special Needs, Sign Language, etc.  

Then, just before Thanksgiving watch the “Season Debrief” sessions… learn directly from dozens of Santas as they share what went well and what didn’t in their last Santa season.

With 111 sessions available (over 170 hours) at this time of the year, you must prioritize which sessions to watch in order to gain maximum benefit for THIS Santa season… I hope the above helps with that.

Here’s a full list of the sessions currently available:

9 CORE SESSIONS (6 versions of each 54 total)

  1. How to Set Up Your Santa Business to Maximize Your Fun & Income
  2. How to Market Your Santa Business for Maximum Fun & Income
  3. Home Visits- How to Book More & Perform Better
  4. How to Become an Extraordinary Santa Claus
  5. How to Use Video Chats to Boost Income & Have Fun from Home
  6. How to Book & Perform Corporate Visits
  7. How to Get on TV for Fun and Profits
  8. How to Develop Other Revenue Sources as Santa Claus
  9. How to Book & Perform Community Events

2018 9 CORE SESSION (twice 18 total)

Performance 1- Personal Characteristics
Performance 2- What To Do
Performance 3- Events with No Children & More

Marketing 1- Business Objectives/Set-Up
Marketing 2- Website & SEO
Marketing 3- Local/Social Ads & More

Other Stuff 1- Malls – (It’s NOT what you think)
Other Stuff 2- The Media – What you MUST know
Other Stuff 3- Being an ‘International Santa’ & More


  1. Bring Your Backdrop to Life – Illuminate the Lantern 
  2. “Doing Well as a Santa Claus Portrayal Artist – Santa Charlie Jordan” 
  3. Doing GOOD as Santa
  4. Booking Agents for Santa Claus: How to Attract the Best & Avoid the Worst
  5. Becoming an ‘Ambassador of Christmas Cheer’
  6. Being a “Christmas in July” Santa Claus 
  7. Becoming a ‘Brand Ambassador’ with Randy Cook & Using ‘SWOT’to Improve Your Santa Business with Derek Dugan 
  8. Storytelling & Upping Your Santa Game Michael Wubker
  9. Storytelling as Santa Claus with Santa Steve Gillham, Santa Glenn Heald and Santa True (AKA Robert Seutter)
  10. Being Santa for Children with Special Needs with Santa Patrick de Haan, Debra Rickey, Melanie Martin, Santa Kevin Haislip
  11. Storytelling as Santa – Coal Story with Santa Ed Taylor
  12. 101 Questions & Answers for Santa – Santa Joe Pridgen
  13. 7 Ways to Add Thousands to Your Income this Santa Season with Santa Ed Taylor
  14. Beard & Hair Bleaching – Santa’s Helping Santa’s with Eric Schmitt-Matzen (Santa Schmatz)
  15. Simple Sign Language for Santa & Mrs. Claus with Mrs. Claus Kat Imhausen
  16. How to Get the Most Out of GigSalad SPECIAL GUEST- Megan Price Director of Customer Experience for GigSalad
  17. The “Santa & Mrs. Claus 2018 Season Debrief” session 
  18. Pre-Season Prep for Santa & Mrs. Claus
  19. Adult Only Parties with Santa Walt Kaiser
  20. A Potpourri of Santa & Mrs. Claus Info & Tips recorded 09-20-18
  21. American Sign Language (ASL) Booklet created by Santa Thomas McDonald Santa’s ASL Signs 
  22. On-Camera with Michelle McCarty-Jessica Kringle
  23. Maximize Your Income & Impact the presentation Santa Ed used at International Santa Celebration 2018 in Denver 
  24. Being Mrs. Claus with Nora-Penny Kovach, Cathy Berry & Lori Taylor
  25. Mistakes Santa’s Make Session with many Santas sharing
  26. Working with Photo Studios as Santa Claus with “Santa for Honolulu” Santa Marty, Santa Patrick Faulds (SC Santa) and Santa Claus Cliff Snider
  27. Santa Season 2016 Debrief with many Santas sharing
  28. Taxes & Santa with Santa Steve Eastis 
  29. 18 Tips to Make This Your Best Year Ever with Santa Ed Taylor
  30. 9 Tips to Earn More Money & Have More Fun as Santa with Santa Ed Taylor
  31. Parades, Tree Lightings & Getting on Local TV
  32. Social Marketing & More with Mark Ramsey
  33. 9 Do’s & Don’ts for Santa & Mrs. Claus 
  34. Being a Mall Santa with Kristi Cooper of WorldWide Photography
  35. Being a Mall Santa: Soup to Nuts with Gordon Bailey
  36. 7 Ways to Increase Your Income by Thousands of $ This Santa Season
  37. 18 Common, Costly & Embarrassing Mistakes Made by Pro Santas & Mrs. Claus’
  38. The amazing “Santa Season Debrief” sessions conducted in January 2017 
  39. The amazing “Santa Season Debrief” sessions conducted in January  2018


I want every Santa & Mrs. Claus worldwide to benefit from what we have here… I’m confident you will benefit from the sessions… many Santas have reported doubling and tripling their incomes… and nearly all of our members have reported an increase in their confidence and their Santa skill-set.

As you will see, these sessions are not Santa history lessons or talk about Christmas movies… you will learn very specific ways other Santas have increased their skills, their income and the amount of fun they have each season.

You can stop any session at any time and come back to it at a more convenient time.

You can stop and rewatch or relisten to a part you might have missed or wanted to hear again… and you can do this from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

YOU GET access to all 111 sessions (plus new live sessions as they become available), and all of the other information, examples of marketing pieces, the booking agreement, the web badges & “Certificate of Completion” and more for ONLY $247 and you get a 60-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE and payment terms to fit almost any budget.

Santa Claus Training

(Become a FREE member by completing the form on the top of the right side of this page)

These sessions are also available for all higher membership levels.

“Doing Well as a Santa Claus Portrayal Artist – Santa Charlie Jordan”

“Bring Your Backdrop to Life” – Illuminate the Lantern

“Doing GOOD as Santa” 

“Booking Agents for Santa Claus: How to Attract the Best & Avoid the Worst”

“Ambassadors of Christmas Cheer” 

“18 Tips to Make This Your Best Santa Season EVER!”

Santa Ed’s “Santa Claus Engagement Agreement” as a Word doc.

Generic “Engagement Agreement Header

American Sign Language (ASL) Booklet created by Santa Thomas McDonald Santa’s ASL Signs 30

“Signing as Santa” ASL session taught be Kat Imhausen

Log-in at any membership level to access these sessions, tools & more.

Learn how to access 80+ ADDITIONAL SESSIONS by becoming a Gold or Platinum Level member.

For more information
Call Santa Ed at


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