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Reindeer - Rangifer Taranadus Taranadus (R.T. Taranadus) They are cervids from the root group Rangifer Taranadus that included ten species of Reindeer and Caribou. Two of these species are extinct and several of the Caribou such as the North American Woodland Caribou are currently on the watch list for species at risk. REINDEER ARE NOT CARIBOU! although they are cousins. Of the ten species of Rangifer Taranadus, generally three types inhabit continental North America. Two of these are native being the Woodland Caribou and the Barren Ground Caribou. The third is the Eurasian Tundra Reindeer that was introduced by the government to the North American continent in the late 1800's to replace lifestyle losses to the Inuit people of the North. The original influx of Reindeer were brought into North America across the Land Bridge from the USSR. Slightly more than 400 head made up the original group of animals that were walked into the North as part of this project. Reindeer in North America can be DNA matched to the original herd thereby confirming that they are in fact reindeer. While there are many reindeer in the North that live under feral conditions, there are no wild reindeer. Reindeer are acknowledged to be one of, if not the oldest, domesticated animals in the world with history of domestication tracing back between 5000 and 8000 years (depending on the source) They are listed in the Lesser Nine of the fifteen domesticated animals along with camels, llamas, alpacas and elephants. They were once referred to as the "First Meat of Man" and the animals is unique in that both in life and death, the animal is completely useful. As a live animals they provide transportation, haulage, velvet antler for medicines, and milk to name a few. In death, they provide meat, hides for clothing along with products that can be made from the bone and antler. Adult Male reindeer will weigh in at approximately 500 lbs while females top out around 400 lbs. On average they will stand between 8 and 10 hands high (1 Hand = 4 Inches) Both the male and Female produce antlers and they along with the caribou are the only cervid that does this. Antlers regrow each year with the previous years antler being shed from Late November through early May depending on a variety of factors. Male reindeer that are intact breeders will drop the antler anytime after breeding season once their need to establish dominance and attract females has passed. Once the antler has been shed the dominant male will usually become the most subservient member of the herd until the breeding cycle begins again the following year. Steers will usually keep their antlers longer into the New Year but not as long as the females. Bred females usually retain their antlers until the babies are born ensuring them preference to the best feed and leaving them with a level of defense. Antlers will begin to regenerate almost immediately but generally show a growth phase that lasts approximately 4 months. Antlers will grow at a rate of anywhere from 1/2" per day to 1 1/2" per day. Remember that the growth the you see on an animal ALL grew this year. Antlers, while in the growth phase are live tissue and are soft (think Fingernails). They look much like a padded coat hanger and are susceptible to injury. Significant injury to growing antler can result in death from hemorrhage if not attended to. Antlers are never the same but may have a general consistency of style from animal to animal they are rarely symmetrical. The antler grows from pedicules in the skull that firmly anchor the antler until its time to shed. Antlers can be broken or fall off prematurely but there is no real way to determine when and antler will fall. In feral conditions the reindeer along with other animals will normally eat the antler to recapture lost mineral. What is the difference between Antlers and Horns? Generally Antlers are annual ornaments while horns are permanent. Antlers grow from the tip and an injury to the antler at the tip, or involving the tip, may stop all growth for that season. Horns are permanent and not shed each year. They also grow from the base therefore an injury to the end of the horn, or removal such as blunting as used on rodeo bulls, does not affect growth. While there is often a visual difference between the structure and weight of antlers between male and female, that doesn't always prove to be true. Some sources say that only the males will grow a shovel which is a significant protrusion of flat antler off one branch pointing forward. The animals use this to break into heavy crusted snow when foraging for food.Read more
A Letter to a New Santa
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Dear Santa, You asked me about a few tips for your journey to becoming a Santa Claus. I’m more than happy to do so and I’ve written below just a few items’ which may have interest to you. Above all, becoming a Santa is an investment of your love, time and expense. I’m sure having Grand Kids and Great Grand Kids, plus raising your own family, has shown you the love for children. Being a parent is an excellent qualifier for accepting the behavior of children. As a Santa we see many children who gaze at us with awe struck eyes because we are the weavers of their dreams. Others, particularly around three years old, seem to love us until they are about three feet away, then we become their worst nightmare. Obviously, we can’t always do anything about it. Santa can’t understand every child’s reason for behavior; however, we may know when to try calming them or know when to leave them alone! In time, Santa can usually tell when a child isn’t going to give up their meltdown. He also knows a child in meltdown has an effect upon other children in the room. Meltdowns spread to other children like a grass fire. Remember, one child having a meltdown begets another child to have a meltdown. What you need to do, quickly, is send the child and parents as far away as you can. When or if the child can be calmed, allow them to return at the head of the line. If you don’t like kids this job is not for you. Imagine yourself in a Mall for ten hours, day after day, having child after child on your knee while you happily smile at the camera. The availability of Mall jobs are not around the corner from home. They are out of your city, state, or even out of the country. Yes, the people who hire you may pay expenses; however, this is an item you must negotiate with them. Consider also, you will be away from family during November and up until the Mall closes on December 24th. Some companies which furnish Santas to Malls may provide a Santa costume to wear while most others rely on you providing a costume. When you are out of town miscellaneous expenses or food may cost you, too. You may want to find a company which provides Santas for parties and special events. These Santa agencies do the work for you by finding events and hiring you out to them. Of course they charge a fee for their services which is usually calculated upon the charge to the customer. For many Santas who are reluctant to market themselves this is a convenient method. You must remember the client is the property of the company you are working for which means that you can’t solicit the account. This may be a good way to break into the Santa business and to find out what various jobs maybe. Friends, church and hospital are places you may find work or through a friend or a family connection. This is helpful for you as it is another way to start performing. Your church may also be a good place to start. I mentioned hospitals to forewarn you this is not an easy task. So many Santas feel the need to attend a child in a hospital bed, however, walking into a hospital room and seeing a child with a serious illness brings home the point of facing life and death. I once saw a little girl and I was lucky she smiled with me over a story I was reading to her. Within four days she passed and I was shaken by her death. Her Mother had a memory of that happiness, that smile of her daughter, which brought tears of joy to the family. Making hospital visits in reality is far from the movie version. In some cases you may need Hospice Training and a Background Check. In some situations you will only be allowed to stand at the doorway to avoid bringing in any germs. You may think it a great idea to walk into a children’s hospital and they will welcome Santa with open arms. Most of the metropolitan hospitals will refuse to allow you entrance. Remember, the hospital is charged with the health care of each child and the protection of each individual. Most of the children’s hospitals have used a Santa whom they have “checked out” so don’t be disappointed if hospital security turns you away. It is difficult to advise you at this point about what range of fees you should charge. I can tell you as a new Santa you will have a tendency to under-price your services. Don’t let the idea of “If I price low I’ll get the job. Yes, you may get the job today however; you now have set precedence for the future. As your Santa career progresses, you will establish a range of fees for your services. Your under-priced services of the past will be a constant reminder that you may be working for much less than you are worth. Yes, I don’t always charge for my services. I don’t charge for a few church groups who hold events for “Inter-city Senior Groups" and parties for mental health groups. I also donate my time to childhood cancer organizations. Making these individuals happy is something money cannot buy. Being Santa is not cheap. A good “off the rack” Santa costume will start on sale at around $250. From there it just goes up. My costumes are had made by a seamstress and a fashion designer. They are very expensive and before you go “custom made” look around and then decide what costume style you like. It’s never too early to search on line for “Santa Costumes”. You should find quite a few pages of websites to keep you busy for the day. Many of the prices from site to site are comparable. Be careful to make sure the pictures and descriptions are the same. If the price looks too good to be true, it’s probably not true. Some Santa suits are relatively cheap because it is a pullover jacket which I’m sure you don’t want to spend hours in! The Santa World is amazing and I know you are going to enjoy every minute in the “Red Suit.” It was not my intention to discourage you however; I wanted you to know a few things as you start your journey to becoming a great Santa Claus! Santa Lou Knezevich is the creator of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program Contact Santa Lou at: LegendarySantasMentoringProg@gmail.comRead more
How do You Portray Santa?
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Portraying Santa is acting; it is a characterization of a mythical character. Most of us never think of ourselves as actors, but we are. Certain characteristics of Santa Claus have been handed down from one generation to another. The way we dress and conduct ourselves all follow an established pattern. Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable characters throughout the world. This came about from the advertising campaign of the Coke Cola Company and the creative painting genius, of Haddon Sundblom. Coke Cola was looking to increase winter sales of its soft drink and hired Sundblom to produce illustrations for prominent magazines. These illustrations appeared during the holiday season from the late 1930s into the early 1970s and set the standard for how Santa should look. This characterization of Santa with rosy cheeks, a white beard, handlebar mustache plus a red costume trimmed in white fur is the image most everyone has in their minds. Unconsciously people are going to judge you against that image. If your beard isn’t white or you have a soiled suit it will register with the onlooker. By the way, the majority of Sundblom's paintings depict Santa with a Brown Belt and Brown Boots. Not until his later illustrations did he change the color to Black for these items. Within the past few years many costume companies have offered the Coke Cola Suit and it has become very popular. You can tell it by the large buttons and absence of fur down the front of the jacket. No matter how you portray Santa, be it home visits, schools, churches, parades, corporate events, malls, hospitals we all make an entrance and an impression! The initial impression we make determines if our client will ask us to return. The 5 Second Rule I have a theory: When you enter the presence of your audience you have about 5 seconds to make people believe you are the real Santa. Think about that; 1-2-3-4-5 that’s all you have. I call it the 5-second rule because each person is going to put you in focus with the Santa image in their minds. If you don’t stack up they will not have the Santa experience they expected to have. People will be nice to you for the sake of the children but I can assure you they will inwardly be disappointed. What do you need to do to make a Santa impression? You need to dress the part. Now you don’t have to run out and buy a Coke Cola Suit but the Santa seen in the Sundblum paintings is the mental image in almost everyone’s mind. Make sure you have a presentable suit. I mean one that is clean and the fur isn’t matted down. I also have a pet peeve! Don’t sew your boot cuffs to the bottom of your trousers….it doesn’t look professional plus, you’re Santa, not a French Mime. Keep your beard and hair bleached white. People don’t like to see a Santa with a bleached out or yellowing beard. If you wear a designer beard make sure it is of good quality. Act the part. You’re Santa Claus. Actors make gestures and have very deliberate movements to portray their character. To make your portrayal more believable, practice gestures and actions before a mirror. Pick up tips from movies and books to add to your portrayal. Above all, relax, enjoy and have fun being Santa Claus. Santa Lou Knezevich is the creator of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program Contact Santa Lou at: LegendarySantasMentoringProg@gmail.comRead more
Davy Crockett Fights Again
Black Hills Santa,
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Being country boys, my two younger brothers and I found ourselves outside 365 days a year. Each morning during the school year, before we would head off to school, we had to water and feed the animals before a quick breakfast and then departure on the school bus. When we returned home it was another trip out to the animals, dinner, and then that country landscape opened to us for adventure. On the weekends and summer vacation that landscape was open for business all day long and we took full advantage of it. Some days we would be fighting Soviets and other days we would be reliving WWII, either fighting in the Pacific or Europe. Sometimes we would be traveling through the area on our way to the Rockies to search for beaver pelts that would make us rich. Quite often we would construct ramps that would rival those jumped by the great Evil Knievel and we would patch each other up with words of confidence and lots of band-aids. The field across the gravel road that ran by our house was our baseball and football field, competing with the majestic beauty of Wrigley Field or Lambeau Field. To my youngest brother, though, that land became Texas and our home was the Alamo. Jeremy lived, loved, dreamed, ate, and slept all things to do with Davy Crockett. It didn’t matter he was a Tennessean and we were Kentuckians. Oh, no. Jeremy could feel in his very fibers that he was Davy Crockett and Buddy Ebsen’s character George Russel was right alongside of him. When Jeremy would go feed and water the chickens he could see Santa Ana wondering why Davey was sent to feed the chickens. Occasionally he would wave at old Santa Ana, just to let him know he knew he was watching him. Beginning in the fall of 1986, Jeremy, a wiry six years old, began to hound my folks about what he wanted for Christmas. Our father had been out of work from the coal mines for almost two years, but he and Mom would do their best to see that Santa Claus came to visit their three boys. Jeremy produced a short simple list: a buckskin jacket, buckskin pants, a coonskin cap, and a rifle: just like Davy Crockett’s. It was a short list for sure, but not an easy one to come up with. Deer season didn’t start until late in November and to kill a deer then cure the skin, then to sew the outfit before Christmas? That was almost impossible. During the fall my brothers and I would tramp through the woods that bordered our home and as possible we began to stock the freezer with rabbits. The were plentiful and we boys could scare them out in the open in a heartbeat. My dad had told me after Jeremy produced his list that I needed to keep my eyes open and if, during the evening while I was out roaming the grounds, if I happened to see a raccoon, I needed to shoot it. When I found out why, raccoon hunting became my newest and most sought-after adventure. About two weeks later I was looking into the woods from our front porch and thought I saw a rather big squirrel mosey down a tree and land on the ground. He looked like the fattest squirrel I had ever seen and upon closer inspection I saw his black mask horizontally crossing his face. I went inside the house and grabbed my .22 rifle and my brother was no where around. Dad looked up for his newspaper and asked, “What’s going on?” “Coon”, I replied. Dad’s curiosity got him, and he was on my tail as we progressed through the yard. The coon was walking around the outer edges of the woods and had stopped by our walnut tree to have a small meal on the leftover walnuts laying around. I carefully pulled up the .22 to my eye and went down to one knee. I breathed gently and placed my finger on the trigger, ready to bag my quarry. Crack! One flip-flop, a stutter, and a slump were all the coon had in him. “Ya got ‘em”, Dad exclaimed, happy as a lark. Now, my old man could skin a rabbit in about 1-minute flat, and I’ll be danged if that coon’s skin wasn’t nailed to a board and drying in about 5 minutes flat. There would be at least a coonskin cap under the tree in 1986 for my little brother. My mother, the female version of Columbo, who could sniff out a lie faster than a speeding bullet and who could track down a need item better than any scavenger in Kentucky, was on a mission. She kept out rotary pone burning hot from morning to night, asking everyone in a tri-county radius if they had any buckskin they weren’t using. Now the chances of her being successful were about as remote as the chance of a polar bear and a grizzly bear teaming up to have high tea at our house on a Thursday afternoon, but Mom was persistent. Finally, about three weeks before Christmas, tensions high that the buckskin outfit was not to be under the tree, Mom struck gold. An old man who ran a store catering to hunters in our area, that had closed shop in the 1970s had a complete deer hide that had been tanned and he would part with it…for free. Now, my mother is 5’ tall. Her legs are short, and I only remember her running twice: once playing a baseball game with us kids for fun and when she grabbed her purse, cigarettes, and keys to jump into our land yacht: a 1976 Chrysler Cordoba. With Bel-Airs in hand, my mother shot down our gravel road like the Devil himself was chasing her and about forty-five minutes later she returned with a dark buckskin and a smile from ear to ear. For two weeks Mom wore her fingers to the bones. She used a pair of my brother’s jeans and one of his shirts as a pattern and finally, just a few days before Christmas, sewed the last piece of fringe onto the jacket. It was complete. My father had sewed the coonskin cap, complete with a plaid lining taken from one of his old shirts. Jeremy’s gifts were ready, yet there was no rifle, a gift my dad had already tended to. I wondered how the old man was going to pay for such a thing, but he said, “Don’t worry about it”, so I tried not to. Unbeknownst to me my Dad's brother had taken a 1”x2” board and had carefully cut, sanded, and molded it into an official long rifle, just like the one Davy Crockett used. On Christmas morning my brother was beside himself with joy and glee. I can still see his face, his eyes wide and mouth agape as he held up his buckskin shirt and pants. It was the greatest Christmas gift my brother had ever or would ever receive. For the next four years my brother gave Santa Ana the toughest fight he had ever had. On some days my brother died as one of the last men defending the Alamo and other days he and the Texans managed to whip Santa Ana. Some days, though, the battle just kept going for hours and hours and hours. The cries of “We've got ‘em on the run, boys” and Pew! Pew! Pew! echoed throughout our home and yard from sunup to sundown. Today my mother’s cedar chest sits in the bedroom she and Dad have shared for over 40 years. No one opens the chest or would dare to do so without the presence of my mother. That chest holds items worth very little on the open market and most items hold no real-world value. However, if you were to crack it open and disperse the contents upon the floor, there, neatly folded with love and care, would be a buckskin outfit with patched elbows and knees and a coonskin cap with worn-out plain lining, the dreams of a young boy, Davey Crockett, and Christmas 1986.Read more
The Widow and the Mistletoe
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The Widow and the Mistletoe His shotgun back with the saddle and horse, young Mike tucked the mistletoe away. One shot, all it took, his aim was on course, on the ground 'neath the tree it did lay. Now onward through snow to the Harmon ranch, the widow's heart to win this Christmas Eve His whole plan hinged on that mistletoe branch, he wanted her burdens to relieve. The homestead was failing more and more each year, he helped keep her ranch while managing his own but the work was too great, the legacy's end was near. Helping her keep it, something more now had grown. From caring for widows as the Bible had told, Mike now found he loved her and wanted much more But would she be ready to embrace a new life? Soon he would know as he approached her front door, His heart was now racing, would she become his new wife? Above the door the mistletoe placed by hammer and nail, the tapping brought Sarah to the door as he planned. He pulled her to him, in surprise a small wail, then laughter through kisses, a feeling so grand. No hesitation, no fear, she accepted his embrace to his knee on her porch, he pulled out a ring “Yes, yes!” she exclaimed as her heart did race, let go of the past, see what the future would bring. To her humming of carols they snuggled for hours as their love blossomed more in the firelight's glow. Tradition to kiss under mistletoe flowers years later together their family would grow. Happiness surrounded them through great faith and love it was in Jesus they both had come to believe both the ranch and their family were gifts from above they celebrated especially each Christmas Eve. This Christmas years later, a tradition to keep it took old Mike three shots to get that mistletoe free. On horseback again, he started to weep by a place near the ranch he never wanted to see. Kneeling down at her grave the mistletoe was placed Bright memories of that first Christmas kiss, forever they'd be with him, never replaced, those mistletoe kisses forever he'd miss. Shared from Cowboys of the Cross http://www.cowboysofthecross.com/Read more
The Mistletoe Bough
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The Mistletoe Bough "The Mistletoe Bough," lyrics by Thomas Haynes Bayly, music by Sir Henry Bishop, is a ballad composed around 1830 retelling a traditional tale about a newlywed bride who accidentally locks herself in an old oak trunk while playing hide-and-seek with members of her wedding party, who then spend a long night searching for her in vain. The Mistletoe Bough The mistletoe hung in the castle hall, The holly branch shone on the old oak wall; And the baron's retainers were blithe and gay, And keeping their Christmas holiday. The baron beheld with a father's pride His beautiful child, young Lovell's bride; While she with her bright eyes seemed to be The star of the goodly company. Oh, the mistletoe bough. Oh, the mistletoe bough. "I'm weary of dancing now," she cried; "Here, tarry a moment — I'll hide, I'll hide! And, Lovell, be sure thou'rt first to trace The clew to my secret lurking-place." Away she ran — and her friends began Each tower to search, and each nook to scan; And young Lovell cried, "O, where dost thou hide? I'm lonesome without thee, my own dear bride." Oh, the mistletoe bough. Oh, the mistletoe bough. They sought her that night, and they sought her next day, And they sought her in vain while a week passed away; In the highest, the lowest, the loneliest spot, Young Lovell sought wildly — but found her not. And years flew by, and their grief at last Was told as a sorrowful tale long past; And when Lovell appeared the children cried, "See! the old man weeps for his fairy bride." Oh, the mistletoe bough. Oh, the mistletoe bough. At length an oak chest, that had long lain hid, Was found in the castle — they raised the lid, And a skeleton form lay mouldering there In the bridal wreath of that lady fair! O, sad was her fate! — in sportive jest She hid from her lord in the old oak chest. It closed with a spring! — and, dreadful doom, The bride lay clasped in her living tomb! Oh, the mistletoe bough. Oh, the mistletoe bough. A video of the poem was made in 1904 . . .Read more
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English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) is perhaps best known for the children's book The Jungle Book. In addition to The Jungle Book and other novels, Kipling's works include many short stories and poems. "If—" is a poem by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written circa 1895 as a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson. It is a literary example of Victorian-era stoicism. The poem, first published in Rewards and Fairies, ch. ‘Brother Square-Toes, ’ is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet's son, John. If by Rudyard Kipling, 1910 If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!Read more
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I normally write about Santa related subjects however, the trying times we are under has had an effect for every one of us. We are under an unprecedented siege of the Coronavirus which in a few short weeks has paralyzed one Continent after another. The speed which this epidemic became a pandemic was amazing. It just didn’t make sense how we became bombarded by precautionary rules to sanitize our hands and self-quarantine ourselves from other people. Of course all of the precautionary measures were needed and thankfully many of us may have avoided this dread disease. Some Santas have predicted this year’s Santa Season will not happen. I have always been an optimist, so it is difficult for me to accept this premise. It does worry me, should conditions persist the changes to our Santa portrayal may be changed significantly. What if we couldn’t touch children or hold them on our knee. These could be precautions to prevent spread of this virus or another airborne disease. I’m also sure the possibility exists of quarantine as we have experienced. This would curtail the Christmas Season in disastrous ways. This could come true however, what a terrible time in the lives of the children and all those associated with this seasonal time of joy. There also seems to be certain Santas, purveyors and opportunists who use a dramatic event to foster their own agendas or financial gain. Many of these, reaches out to you to purchase a service or give money. It appears even the Santa Community has some “Charlatans” from under the “Christmas Tree.” These are historical times which none of us will forget. It is also the time for all of us to put aside political differences and financial ambitions. Santas, should know political comments, nudity or inappropriate language are never attributed to Santa and especially on Facebook. It’s time for the Santa Community to embrace the ethics we know and bring the true meaning of “Brotherly Love to All. Always remember: It's not about you. It's about the children. Santa Lou Knezevich is the creator of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program Contact Santa Lou at: LegendarySantasMentoringProg@gmail.comRead more
Every Once in A While
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Every once in a while I see some flagrant abuses of Santa’s appearance and etiquette. It strikes me some men don’t care about how they act or portray the beloved character of Santa. Gentlemen, you undertake an awesome responsibility when you button up your Santa Suit. Don’t take it lighty! The “World” has an image of Santa as represented by illustrations, traditions and personal contact. Believe it or not, you’re being measured by those who see you for your authenticity. You’re fooling yourself if you believe that no one notices or cares if your bead is yellow or unkempt. Maybe you’re also missing a few of those pearly whites, or they are stained from tobacco products. Again, don’t fool yourself….kids notice everything! I have a gold crown capping one of my lower teeth. Every once in a while, I have an inquisitive youngster question what that gold thing is in my mouth. Years ago I thought it was well hidden however; kids have uncanny radar to pick out any of our flaws…. You may be asking yourself, “What difference does it make? “It’s not the Christmas Season.” Maybe it isn’t however, If you’re representing Santa, you’re representing one of the most recognizable characters in the world. What you do reflects upon me and every Santa reader of this article. If you’re going to be recognized then do justice to the character we are reenacting. Over the years I have been a Santa, I have frequently been by told by people about the Santa they hired or saw which left a very poor expression. Most of their comments were predictable. Their Santa did not interact with the children as expected or he was unprepared. He was unanimated, had a dirty suit or lack luster beard. Obviously these are sure fire ways never to be called to this group again. Think about what impression you make as a Santa and pay attention to developing your character. You can become one of the best Santas in your area by learning everything about your character and performing from the heart. Always remember: It's not about you. It's about the children. Santa Lou Knezevich is the creator of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program Contact Santa Lou at: LegendarySantasMentoringProg@gmail.comRead more
When and How, You Use It
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The loud, ―Ho! Ho! Ho! should not be used when making an entrance except when you need to get the attention of a noisy crowd. Just imagine what a booming; ―Ho! Ho! Ho! entrance will do to babies and small children. It‘s going to scare them and set off some hysterical crying which in turn diverts the audience‘s attention from your entrance. Now the time to consider the loud,- Ho! Ho! Ho! is when you exit the event. If you’ve done your job well, there will be some happy faces wishing you goodbyes and a group well familiar with Santa. As you are about to leave the sight of the crowd is the time to utter those famous words; “Merry Christmas and to all a good night! HO! HO! HO!” Let‘s practice a loud, ―Ho! Ho! Ho! Take a deep breath and remember to bring that voice up from the depths of your stomach. When you‘re comfortable with the loudness and expression with proceed to saying…”Merry Christmas and to all a good night!” There is another ―Ho! Ho! Ho! which is actually a chuckle? You probably should use a version of this when you enter a room so you do not frighten children. As we mentioned before the worst thing you can do is make an entrance and scare a child or toddler. This immediately distracts from you and misdirects your audience‘s attention. The chuckle is done in a modulated voice said as a soft yet deep rumbling, Ho! Ho! Ho! Along with the chuckle at appropriate times place your hands on your belly and shake with each, Ho! Ho! Ho! or place each hand on your belly and give a shake with each chuckle. Practice this as a normal laugh. Soon you will have this chuckle down so well that you don‘t have to think about laughing that way. It also gives incredible credibility to you. Folks will start commenting that you even sound like Santa. That low rumbling, Ho! Ho! Ho! chuckle did the trick. Practice the soft and gentle chuckle until you build it into a hardy laugh. It is more realistic and less apt to frighten the small children who may be timid around you anyway. When talking with children it is best to speak very quietly and secretively. Remember you are being told a secret desire of a child who is placing their confidence in a red-suited character who fulfills wishes of good children. Talk to the child as you would an adult, don‘t baby talk or change the pitch of your voice. You may wish to chuckle as you ask a child what they desire or sometime during their time on your knee. Animate the visit by facial expressions such as looks of surprise, pondering thought, and smiling. That way you can keep that twinkle in your eyes. Laugh often and loud if it calls for it. So now we all know that we must practice. Remember, practice makes perfect. Although we don‘t give much thought to our voices, the voice is one of Santa‘s most important assets. I‘ll illustrate my point. I was hired for a photo shoot at a very exclusive country club which started early as over 70 families were scheduled for photos with Santa. The room we were using was narrow and long so from the entrance door to my Santa chair was a fair walk. The doors were kept closed until it was the next family‘s turn. It was very enlightening to see the reaction of children and adults when they saw me sitting beside the Christmas tree waiting for them. For many it was a happy laugh and some children ran the length of the room to jump upon my lap. Oh yes, there were one or two who took one look at me sitting in the chair and did an abrupt about face or tugged at the parents to leave. A beautiful little girl of about three or four, dressed in her best Christmas dress started to enter the room with her parents and grandparents. Upon seeing me she stiffened and it appeared she was about to head back out the door. Her parents got her close to my Santa chair but things didn‘t look promising. One of the grandparents told me she was very frightened because of an experience with a mall Santa. I heard them say her name which was Julie, but none of my coaching was going to move her until I noticed a big band aid on her finger. When I inquired about it the parents quickly chimed in that she had caught her finger in a door. I stood up from the chair and slowly advanced towards the child. In a normal voice, I asked her, “if it hurt and how her finger got caught in the door?” As she answered me I slowly took small steps to the Santa Chair. I told her I could barely hear her as I lowered my voice speaking to her. I kept asking her to come closer so I could hear. Soon we were face to face and I told her very quietly about a time I caught my finger in a door and how much I knew it hurt her. She proudly displayed the bandaged finger and I quietly gained her confidence. In hushed tones I told her there wasn‘t enough light to really see her finger except by the chair. I sat down and after a few more words about her finger I asked her to sit on my knee so I could really see her bandage. She sat upon my knee to the amazement of the entire family and photo staff. Julie placed her hand in mine and with little encouragement gave the photographer the biggest smile she could. I could hear the size of delight from the family and photographers. After the pictures were taken, Julie gave me the biggest hug and then happily exited with her mother and grandparents. Her father came over to me with a tear in his eye and thanked me over and over again for taking the pictures plus alleviating Julie‘s fears of Santa Claus. He told me I had a gift from God that no one had been able to do what I did and he asked what I had said to her. All I could tell him is we talked about her hurt finger and became the best of friends. If I had any intuitive feelings they were to speak very softly and to be genuinely concerned about Julie‘s injury. Had I spoken in a normal voice or not projected sincerity I would have never gained Julie‘s confidence. We Santas need to use our voices wisely, develop patience and speak to children with respect. Always remember: It's not about you. It's about the children. Santa Lou Knezevich is the creator of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program Contact Santa Lou at: LegendarySantasMentoringProg@gmail.comRead more
4 articles in this category
Santa Lou posted an article in Santa's Wisdom,Portraying Santa is acting; it is a characterization of a mythical character.
Most of us never think of ourselves as actors, but we are. Certain characteristics of Santa Claus have been handed down from one generation to another. The way we dress and conduct ourselves all follow an established pattern.
Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable characters throughout the world. This came about from the advertising campaign of the Coke Cola Company and the creative painting genius, of Haddon Sundblom. Coke Cola was looking to increase winter sales of its soft drink and hired Sundblom to produce illustrations for prominent magazines. These illustrations appeared during the holiday season from the late 1930s into the early 1970s and set the standard for how Santa should look.
This characterization of Santa with rosy cheeks, a white beard, handlebar mustache plus a red costume trimmed in white fur is the image most everyone has in their minds. Unconsciously people are going to judge you against that image. If your beard isn’t white or you have a soiled suit it will register with the onlooker.
By the way, the majority of Sundblom's paintings depict Santa with a Brown Belt and Brown Boots. Not until his later illustrations did he change the color to Black for these items. Within the past few years many costume companies have offered the Coke Cola Suit and it has become very popular. You can tell it by the large buttons and absence of fur down the front of the jacket.
No matter how you portray Santa, be it home visits, schools, churches, parades, corporate events, malls, hospitals we all make an entrance and an impression! The initial impression we make determines if our client will ask us to return.
The 5 Second Rule
I have a theory: When you enter the presence of your audience you have about 5 seconds to make people believe you are the real Santa.
Picked ByMichael Rielly,
Michael Rielly posted a topic in Latest News,The post-Christmas blues are a very real thing. Once the date of December 25th has passed the specter of December 26th is an ominous marker to many. It sits there on the calendar like the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Silent and foreboding, the very image of the hooded Angel of Death it seems to be. And why not?
Just about anywhere you look Americans are tossing trees to the curb, ripping down lights from rooftops and radio stations are flipping back to everyday music. What took months to build gets deconstructed in a matter of a couple of days.
Picked ByMichael Rielly,
Santa Lou posted an article in Santa's Wisdom,Yes, I said it and it is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do view many Facebook sites along with websites and posted photos. Frankly, many of these postings should have never been put on public display.
Picked ByMichael Rielly,
Michael Rielly posted an article in Christmas History,Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in.
Picked ByMichael Rielly,
Michael Rielly posted an article in Literature,Every year around this time, some variation of this poem is circulated online. The poem is generally credited to “a soldier stationed in Okinawa” or more recently since September 11, 2001, “a Marine stationed in Afghanistan”.
However, the poem’s true author is Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt.
Originally entitled, “Merry Christmas, My Friend”, Corporal Schmidt wrote the poem in 1986 while serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington, D.C.
That day the poem was placed in the Marine Corps Gazette and distributed worldwide. Schmidt’s poem was later published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991.
Picked ByMichael Rielly,
Michael Rielly posted a topic in News Archives,Backlash Building Against The Man Who Invented Christmas
September 7, 2017
There is a new Christmas movie headed to theaters this Christmas about Charles Dickens about his creation of A Christmas Carol and Christmas purists hate it. Already.
The film has a stellar cast that features the dreamy-eyed Dan Stevens as Dickens and the legendary Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. Here is the trailer:
“This is a very presumptuous film,” said Christmas fan and would-be film critic, Arnold Yates, via MSN. “Charles Dickens was great but he certainly didn’t invent Christmas. Bah Humbug!”
That sentiment is growing online as the preview makes the rounds.
Picked ByMichael Rielly,