Jump to content

Blogs

 

Back After a Year Away

Actually, over a year away. Soon after Christmas '11, my wife and I began thinking seriously of moving out to Northern California to work with my brother-in-law at a unique business he owns, a former stage coach stop turned into a bar/restaurant/hotel and set in one of the prettiest places you could imagine. It was difficult from the get-go, and soon became apparent this arrangement wasn't going to work for a number of reasons. Christmas season came and there weren't any opportunities to be Santa. Again, the arrangement was a poor one, and the area itself is one of the poorest areas in the state, if not the nation. Real jobs were scarce, and there wasn't a church in the area with a pastoral vacancy. Last spring was beautiful, but somewhat desperate. I began praying earnestly that some opportunity open up there. By summer I realized that I'd go anywhere God wanted me to go and serve as God wanted. It was in that time that the phone rang. The bishop's office back home in Colorado was wondering if I'd consider a unique call to a special two-point parish that was coming together out on Colorado's Eastern Plains. As we spoke, I could already begin to see this would combine some of my favorite pieces of ministry--chaplaincy, and church-growing. The final details were put together by early September, then sat on someone's desk for about a month before they went out for my acceptance. We moved in late October and I started this new postion, part-time at a large senior care center, part-time at a small church 30 minutes up the road, on November 1. It's been great to be back in Colorado. I've been as busy as I've ever been, but that is a very good thing. Now the care center is inviting me to be Santa at one or two events over the next two weeks and I'm thrilled. If that's all I do this season, I'll be happy. It's just so good to be back.

Santa Hays

Santa Hays

 

Santa the pitchman...

Why should we care about Christmas since it's just an overly commercialized holiday and Santa is just an advertising pitchman? There's not a holiday that hasn't been commercialized. Valentines Day? Cards and candy. Independence Day? Fireworks. Labor Day? BBQ grills and vacation spots. Halloween? Not even going to bother with that one. Cupid, Uncle Sam, Boogie-men, then Santa. And Christmas? It's a retailers dream of a holiday:gift giving on steroids. And people seem to want to blame the symbol of the commercialization and NOT the commercialization itself. Whether you believe in the Christian religion and the dogma is...irrelevant. The story of the birth of a savior of mankind is a powerful tale that's lasted thousands of years. And traditions have been appropriated from other stories and traditions from Pagan (Christmas trees) , to Nordic (Odin and his 8 legged horse in the sky) , from multiple traditions (mistletoe & holly), to Christianity (the bishop gift giver St. Nicholas) to...you name it. And out of that multi-millenial, multi-cultural, multi-religion-stew wafted Father Christmas and Sinter Klass who became Santa Claus. And as a pitchman: Santa and Christmas go together like a hand in a glove. Gift-giving holiday (Holy day) and gift-giver St. Nicholas. And ad-men frankly, abuse him. So he's used to sell everything from soft drinks to time shares. And what gets lost in all the imagery and advertising copy is the SPIRIT of giving. Whether it's a savior giving his life to save mankind, or wise-men bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, or a father and mother sacrificing so the children they love can have gifts under the tree; too many people forget it's not about the buying, it's not about the getting, IT'S ABOUT THE GIVING. Christmas is at it's heart, a Christian holy day. But it's also more than that. It's also a secular holiday that celebrates giving and the love that that giving represents. And that's who Santa really is. He's the symbol of that love and giving. He's a symbol of what we human beings COULD be...if we'd just try a little harder and get out of own way. He's a lasting symbol of what is noblest and best in humanity. Our love for, and giving to, one another. Santa is the antithesis of, and the lasting cure for, our post-industrial, information deluged, cynical age. Santa's spirit of giving generosity is what truly professional Santa portrayals (professional in the sense of dedication to craft & artistry) aspire to and try to emulate. And succeed at & fail at, as we all do. But the honest and lasting nobility is in the continual attempt. And I'd offer that that aspiration to emulate Santa's nature of loving giving; makes us not just better Santas...but better human beings. Just something that's been on mind a while...

Morgan Putnam

Morgan Putnam

 

The Time Has Come!

For some reason, I just could not sleep this evening and thought I'd do a little writing. I'm sure like many of you, when the mind wanders around this time of year, our thoughts tend to revolve around Santa, Christmas, the season, and more. Despite having suffered from a bad fall and a broken foot, I remain excited about the coming season and consider myself fortunate and lucky to be able to wear the red suit and be looked at, treated, and called...Santa Claus. I certainly am no poet, I know many could write circles around me, but my mind was racing and I thought I'd be a little creative at the same time...I hope you enjoy my friends, the time has come! The Time has Come! by Santa Johnathan The time has come to dress in red To brush the beard, and look well fed. The time has come to understand your role; Always “placing children first” to be your goal. The time has come to sit and hear, The wishes of children whispered in your ear. The time has come for those to believe; for excitement, joy, and gifts to receive. The time has come to show the world love And celebrate the child that was sent from above. The time has come, there’s much to do Time will fly and then you’re through, When the season ends, full of cheer and fun, You can look back at a job well done. You can look back at the tender times and more, You can remember what you do this all for, And always remember from the very start, You made a difference, you touched a heart, You brought a smile, a tear, a hug, You showed them Santa, you showed them love. The time has come, the moment is here, YOU are Santa, you need not fear, Follow your heart, you’ll know what to say, Just put on the suit, and get in the sleigh.

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

Coping With Depression Before and After The Christmas Season

With all of the joy, love, wonder, and excitement that Christmas brings the "professional" Santa; it can, for some, bring a bit of sadness, anxiety, and overall depression too. Now, many might think, "What!? How can Santa be depressed...it's Christmas!" but it truly can happen and it's good to inventory those feelings and problem solve what an appropriate solution might be. Now, I'm not an experienced therapist nor do I hold a Phd. in any medical field but I did want to share some of my thoughts, experiences, observations, and get some things down on paper for my own benefit. We have seen on Clausnet the occasional discussion on what has been coined, the "Christmas Blues" or the immediate lull right after the busy season and the feelings experienced at this time. For me, personally, I had not experienced these post season feelings. I believe I was spared because life for me seems to run at full speed regardless, and I love to plan and start working on new Christmas projects in January. I have, interestingly enough, experienced PRE season blues from time to time. Why on earth would anyone have the blues BEFORE the season!? I must be pretty crazy...but a quick search found that I was not alone in the least. For me, there is so much planning, so much to do, there is just...SO MUCH! With the work on a Santa show this year, I have also found a financial drain with no guarantee to recoup any of that money, it's worth the risk because I love it. This has all been stressful though. Also, with a bleached beard, I continue to panic at every fallen hair, "WILL MY BEARD SURVIVE!?" "WILL IT ALL FALL OUT!?" "WHAT ABOUT ALL OF MY CLIENTS!?" "WHAT IF I GET SICK!?" "WHAT IF IT'S NOT WHITE!?" etc. There certainly is a lot that one can stress over, IF YOU CHOOSE, and many I'm sure, can relate. I think that one can actually plan too much, focus so much on the details, that there has not been a chance to breath, to rest, or just a quick relax. This is where I'm trying to find balance this year. Not going at 150% ALL of the time...I cannot afford to burn out, and I certainly cannot afford to drop dead of a heart attack. This balance and "relax time" is something I am truly making an effort to make time for...it is SO important. My friends, make that time for you and your loved ones. I've tried to put together a few things I have found and hope that it will help you before, during, and after the season. As I tend to tell my wife who constantly goes at 200%, "You cannot give others what you don't have to give." This goes along with what we are doing too. Keep your inner wells filled my friends, and you can continue to give to others. Let that well run dry, and you will have nothing to offer. Here we go: 1. Keep your expectations balanced. We all have the perfect Christmas and the perfect season in our minds, it's okay if you don't quite reach that...set your goals and move towards them and you will be a better Santa. If we don't all have our seasons looking like a Norman Rockwell painting...that's okay too, this gives you something to shoot for next year! It's not all in our control and perfection, is a pretty hard thing to achieve...I never have. 2. Don't try to do too much. I look at my schedule this season and I want to slap myself. I would get off the phone with a panicked and desperate individuals pleading for me to fit them into my schedule..."Sure, I guess I can manage to fit that party in the afternoon before my morning and evening event." WHAT!?? My friends, scheduling and taking on too many tasks can dampen the spirits. Learn to say no, delegate where possible and manage your time wisely. If you choose to do less you will have more energy to enjoy the most important part of the season - friends and family, and making a difference! No amount of money is worth your life. 3. Don't isolate. We sure do go from extremes. We can be the center of attention and life of the party and some Santas, might find themselves going home to a quiet home. If you're feeling left out, then get out of the house and find some way to join in. There are hundreds of places you can go to hear music, enjoy the sights or help those less fortunate...not as Santa...but as YOU! 4. Don't overspend. I have long sense had an issue with some of the "professional Santas" ...to me, it seems that some Santas do not see themselves as being a successful Santa unless they have something to sell the rest of us Santas, their events were not enough, their market was not big enough...let's sell TO the Santas! We do NOT all need to make something to sell, sometimes it just looks like a few are just trying too hard. We do not need to buy everything that sparkles before our eyes, (although, Eileen's Buckles look amazing!) Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Remember it's not about the "stuff", it's about what's in your heart. 5. It's appropriate to mourn if you're separated from or have lost loved ones. If you can't be with those you love make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together. My children are young, but I could see at some point, traveling off to some far off land to portray Santa...at this point, I am home with my family. Connect with your loved ones or schedule to do so. You'd be surprised how much a phone call, or even a journal entry or card can help. 6. Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad weather. Using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day can lessen this type of depression called SAD (seasonal effectiveness disorder). We can't all be like Santa Marty, wearing Santa shorts to visit the beach! You'd be surprised how much this can help. 7. Watch your diet and remember to exercise. When it comes to dieting...I'm your Santa! You can watch what I do...and just do the opposite! Ho, Ho, Ho! t's normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods effect your mood. If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down. It can be very helpful to take a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal. We need to keep that metabolism up! Just think of all of those children (germ containers). 8. Be aware of the Post Holiday Syndrome. When all the hustle and bustle suddenly stops and you have to get back to the daily grind it can be a real let down. Ease out of all the fun by planning a rest day toward the end of the season. My family does sacrifice so that I can do quite a bit in portraying Santa and attending my events. After the holidays there is always the announcement of a family vacation. Somewhere fun, to celebrate and spend time together. 9. You are NOT Santa. Oh man, did that hurt? Let me say it again, You are NOT Santa. Wait, what? Oh you changed your name to Santa Claus...okay, then...uh...hmmmm...YOU are still NOT SANTA. I will not say that being the center of attention isn't fun or isn't even addicting to some...but you must be very careful with this. Coming to expect this, or even seeking it when there is no need is just asking for issues to pop up when the season is over. Now, perhaps you dress as Santa year round, this is a marketing choice for you...just remember, there is someone else inside. Give yourself opportunities to relax, and NOT be at the center of everything...take a moment NOT to dress in red. 10. Learn forgiveness and acceptance. If some of your relatives, friends, or even fellow Santas have acted out or made you feel bad, chances are that won't change. If you know what you're getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons. We teach people how to treat us and we teach ourselves how to react to others. You are far better off being like that amazing duck, letting the water just run down your back...of course, the guys at Duck Dynasty just blew it to smithereens, but you get the idea my friends! Ho, Ho, Ho! I wish you the very best of seasons my Clausnet family. YOU are amazing, and YOU have the potential to do so much good, to change lives for the better, and truly make a difference. I encourage you all to review the Oath, reflect on your own Christmas memories and favorite times, for you believers...remember the reason for the season, it is THAT love that you share with those that need it. Be active. While the season brings a hectic schedule for many of us, take a few moments here and there to visit us and share your adventures. Merry Christmas! Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

Happy Holidays are here again!

Happy Holidays! In the upoming weeks, the calendar shows holidays for many different faiths and cultures. Some of them are: Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Advent, Saint Nicholas, Bodhi Day, Saint Lucy's Day, Winter Solstice, Soyal, Yalda, Mōdranih, Saturnalia, Pancha Ganapati, Christmas Eve, and of course our beloved Christmas, which encompasses both Christian and pre-christian celebrations and traditions from all over the world. GO ODIN! We are thankful, that America is a land of considerable religious and cultural diversity. Many different faiths celebrate holidays around the same time of the year as Christmas. “Happy Holidays” is simply an inclusive way of wishing someone peace and joy, regardless of their heritage. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Say it loud and clear. But, please do not condemn those who say HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Even among Christians there is much diversity and conflict as to the appropriate way to embrace Christmas. Did you know, some religions preach that Santa is an anagram of Satan? The bottom line is we are here to love one another. PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN. That means opening our hearts to everyone. Santa Nana If you catch me saying 'I am a serious actor,' I beg you to slap me. Johnny Depp Santa Nana's tip. Santas - - Don't take yourself too seriously. You are an actor. No, you are beloved actor, adored and cherished by children and their parents. You play the part of the benevolent, all-seeing, magical uncle who rewards children for their good behaviour. Some of you are there only for a brief moment before the camera flashes, and some of you are more interactive - - you sing, you tell stories, and do magic. Each one of you is so special in your own way. You touch lives and make us want to believe in you. Keep up the good work. We need all the magic we can get.

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

It's Beginning to "Feel" a Lot Like Christmas!

I will in advance, ask for your forgiveness, as I have a feeling this blog post might ramble a bit. I have not given a whole lot of thought on HOW to say or type what I want to say, but I have given a bit of thought on how I FEEL about what I want to say. Is there really any other time that can even compare to Christmas? I'm sure there are moments in our lives but nothing that is quite like the Christmas season. As Halloween has past and in between eating my children's Halloween candy, I am in full Christmas mode as the planning and preparation stage of the season, that has consumed my life, draw to a close. We will all find ourselves, if not already, in the middle of the great "show" as we hear in the film "Elf." The busy time, the hectic time, but also a magical and joyous time too. Yesterday, November 1st, I found myself sitting in the car to run an errand with the kids and turned on the radio. Now, I'm sure you can guess what happened next...Christmas music - 24/7 until December 26th. I have always tried to keep my celebrating Christmas until after Thanksgiving but it has gotten harder and harder to do. I'm working on Christmas props, preparing for Christmas events, thinking about Christmas things, teaching and directing Christmas music...it's all around me. So, I've stopped fighting it so much. The song on the radio was "I'll be Home for Christmas" and I could not help but get a little choked up. I know the history of the song, what it means to so many people, and even remember singing it while abroad and knowing I was not coming home for Christmas, obviously also thinking about our US military. What we find in a song is so much more than notes and words. For me, I believe and feel that music has a direct connection to our soul. We can feel, emote, express, and even learn much more through music and with music. I have many memories attached to particular songs and sitting there listening to the radio, made me very grateful for our amazing anthology of Christmas music we have to enjoy. We all have a favorite song, perhaps a few. Some are whimsical, some serious, some are of Santa Claus, some of the birth of the Christ child, my Savior. These songs, for me, ARE so much what Christmas is all about. Hearing these melodies on the radio had my heart, my mind, and my soul jumping for joy, "IT'S HERE! IT'S REALLY HERE...IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME!" While I have a great love for Thanksgiving, and i don't want to see commercialism step on the feet of this wonderful holiday, I have so much to be grateful for. This day, among many many things, I am grateful for Christmas music. So, what is your favorite Christmas song?

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

sign language class

this is now our second semester of sign language classes and what a difference. Holy Cow! once you've passed the initial beginners course, there is no more nice and slow pace action. Last semester our instructor was a deaf man who at one time had been hearing so he was able to vocalize his explanations and wishes. This semester his wife is teaching those of us who are supposedly seasoned signers. Talk about culture shock. She is quick and totally deaf. SO... we are definitely in the "jump in the deep end and learn to swim as quickly as possible or drown" stage. On top of that, Bill and I had missed the first 2 classes due to moving my daughter to New Haven, CT and then attending the St. Nicholas School at the St Nicholas Institute in Livonia, MI. Those of you who know me know that I talk rather quickly ( as Bill says all Yankees do). Well that's how our instructor talks- really fast but in sign language. I know i sat there with a look of total befuddlement, trying desperately to keep my lower jaw from dropping open and fake it as best as possible. I had to laugh at myself. When Bill and I are in the speaking community, I sometimes sign to him if I don't want those around us to know what I am saying. Well i found myself looking across the room and signing to him-- "You ok? did you get that?" Only thing is-- everyone there knew exactly what I was saying. lol hmmm no secrets in that room. I must say it's a little daunting to be surrounded by a class of much younger classmates who grasp things faster and whose fingers don't complain about the contortions i am trying to put them through. So this week and weeks to follow it will be intense practice and maybe an investment in some aspercream for these old arthritic fingers. Lately my 2 favorite signs are "forgot" and " I know nothing" (Col Klink style). with a dash of "grumpy" just for good measure. well on ward and upward. the adventure continues.

Bestemor Claus

Bestemor Claus

 

Four Mothers

Western funerals: black hearses, and black horses, and fast-fading flowers. Why should black be the colour of death? Why not the colours of a sunset?” ― Daniele Varè, The Maker of Heavenly Trousers My daughter has four mothers. Like most human children, my daughter, Katey, started out with just one mother. After her father’s remarriage, she graduated to two. Me, and the “other mother.” When my daughter married Bill, she got two additional bonus mothers - - her husband’s birth mother and his participating practical mother. The first Christmases she was married, Katey was frantic with guilt about which mother to visit and which holiday traditions to bestow upon her kids. By the time the third kid came along, she told all the mothers, “hey, you’re welcome to come by and visit us.” Go Katey! Mothers are a tough bunch - - and four of them doesn’t always make it any easier. She confesses she still sometimes feels guilty. She sends a lot of flowers on Mother’s Day. This morning, Bill’s birth mother, Kay, died. She birthed six of his brothers and sisters, and lived for her final years with his closest sister, Lori. Kay was a problem mom. Yes, I know what you are thinking - - I’m the problem mom - - but Kay was Bill’s problem mom. She was a hoarder, and then a giver. She had a bunch of kids - - and abandoned them. Then she collected a bunch of stuff - - and gave it away to the kids who she gave away - for their kids to use - and then throw away. In the end, she got cancer and took a long time to die. Life is a tricky business. If this seems harsh, well, then it is. Most of us do not have ideal families, and even the ones with just one mother and one father may have the problem mom, or the problem dad from whom they cannot escape. While having bigger families, allows us to have more people to go to for love and support, it also increases the opportunity for sadness and disappointment. Psychologically, we know that people become overwhelmed with life and use certain strategies to comfort and console themselves: Drugs, alcohol, hoarding, extreme activities, are all ways of shutting our feelings down when we think that we just can’t take the emotional pain. But death is an emotional pain we cannot escape. Try as we may, eventually it catches up to us. That is why we have funerals. Funerals are meant to be a ritual to console the living on the death of a loved one. People of strong faith in various religions get comfort from the ceremony of the community in which they worship. If you believe in the pearly gates and angels to greet your loved one; if you believe mom will return as a butterfly (or a cat or a cow); if you feel that your loved one will be with others who died before them (even if they might not really want to!); or will rise to a higher state of consciousness - - then these are vital ceremonies for you to attend. Rituals help us recognize the passage of time and heal the emotional sadness we feel. Personally, I don’t care too much for most of the funerals I’ve attended. And no, I don’t want to kiss a dead body. When I went to my dad’s funeral last year, I couldn’t help but think he would have been bored as hell with it. I was not asked to participate in it, and my side of the family wound up going alone to a lunch afterward. It was a nice lunch. I was Dad’s favorite. No, what I want is a Life Celebration. The ones I’ve liked have been gatherings with music and story telling and good food and wine. They are bawdy and there is alcohol fueled sobbing and crying - - maybe ranting and arguing, accusations about who mom loved more - - she loved me more, no she loved ME more. It’s human (or at least Irish). It’s necessary. Have you seen a funeral in New Orleans? They have parades and horns and dancing! Talk about stress relief! My daughter and son took the children to Denver this weekend to see their Grandma Kay before she passed. All but the littlest one will remember something about her. I don’t know if they will go to a funeral with a preacher from a church she never attended, who will say things about a heaven she never cared for, or a Jesus she never believed in. However it turns out, I hope her children will go to lunch afterward and tell stories about which one of them mom loved best. My daughter has four mothers. One of them just died. Godspeed, Kay. Santa Nana Santa Nana's Tip. A handwritten note to the family of the deceased is the absolute best thing that you can offer when someone dies. It does not cost anything but a postage stamp, if you can't deliver it by hand. When the grieving have a chance to take a breath, sit down and read your letter, they can be comforted by a story you share about their loved one. Something sweet. Something funny. Even, something sad. There ARE words to say you care. Take the time to share them.

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

Reggae Raisin

I love costumes. I love getting dressed up because it really helps my imagination make the leap to believe that I am who I say I am. Alessandro Nivola Costumes are the first impression that you have of the character before they open their mouth - -it really does establish who they are. Colleen Atwood Gentle Holiday Readers, It is time once again to start dusting off our holiday attire and seasonal decorations and gadgets. I'm always inspired at the beginning of autumn to decorate the house and gardens with harvest themed adornment. Of course, I am always presented with the question of "how much is too much?" when it comes to doing all this. I have a Santa friend who describes a woman of some years as not so much "decorating" for Christmas as "slathering everything" with Christmas. I hope I'm not quite that bad, but is a haunted house with several mechanical ghouls really out of line for the communal laundry room? I guess I'll find out soon. My history of costuming goes back a lot of years with my kids challenging me to make them bigger, better, brighter costumes every year. When they were little, we had an annual Halloween event in downtown Boulder called the "Mall Crawl." Since Boulder is a college town, with lots of creative, new-agey types, the costumes were so exceptional and wonderful, we were all inspired to do great things. One year, my little Katey wanted to be a California Raisin - - you know the cartoon one that sang "Heard it through the Grapevine?" It was absolutely the hardest costume I had ever made - - until then. The California raisin costume consisted of about ten yards of heavy brown suede cloth sewn to quilting batting and gathered with heavy duty thread. My simple sewing machine was unable to accommodate the quilting that was required, or the heavy material. It took me hours and hours of late nights after work, and home work, and dinner, crying into the wee hours, pricking my fingers until they bled, to get that darn thing done. And I'll never let that kid forget it, either! For those of you with stories of how you labored in birth, my tale of woe is the labor and toil over the grape of wrath. I topped the costume off with oversized sunglasses and white gloves from the Ritz, and looped Marvin Gaye's version of Grapevine on a cassette tape that played in a big boom box the kid carried. All in all, with materials and time, I think the raisin costume was worth about $1,500. As usual, it snowed on Halloween, and the costume was toasty warm, worn with winter tights and snow boots. Later that night, I wore it over a sexy devil costume for the Mall Crawl. While dancing to a Jamaican band in the crisp fall night, I was given the nickname "Reggae Raisin from Hell," because my devil tail peaked out from under the costume. A few years ago (and many Halloween costumes later) this same child, now grown and with three children, challenged me to make a "Steam punk" costume and attend a convention where people dressed up in their fancy gear and met with others. It included Sci-fi buffs, and Trekkies, and Steam punkers and others of a similar ilk sometimes called "Cos-Players." This Halloween, I'll be going to my second annual kids festivities in Fruita, Colorado, as a Steam punk Fairy Godmother. They bring out the big trucks and tractors and the cop cars and a limousine and a school bus dressed up scary and lots of candy hand outs. Parents still make costumes for their kids, but mostly I see the store bought ones - - the Disney princesses and the Star Wars warriors lots of merchandising and little imagination. Of course its hard to make a costume. It takes time and energy and patience beyond belief and I understand why people don’t want to do it. Then, I go to a comic-con and see that I am ever so wrong, and there are still lots and lots of people out there being imaginative and making incredible costumes and parading around. Creativity makes me happy. Well, I've come a long way from being the Reggae Raisin to being Santa Nana, but the costuming remains fun and challenging. This year, I'm working on a fur muff, and fur hat and lots of brooches and jewelry to shiny things up. I love hearing and seeing all the wonderful things the rest of you are doing, too. The woodworking, the toys, badges, belt buckles, staffs and so much more. Keep up the magical work. Santa Nana Be good, for goodness sake! Nana's tip of the day: My friends and I have a little something called "first right of refusal" when it comes to posting of personal pictures. If I tell someone I'm not pleased with a photo that includes me, they will immediately unpost/delete it. I think all Santas should abide by this rule. I would especially like to request that if a person in a photo is UNABLE to make or communicate their opinion of a photo that includes them, for instances if they are IN A COMA, please do not post it! Be especially cognizant of pictures taken of people who are sick in the hospital. I do not want my picture taken and distributed while I am sick in the hospital, but I may be too weak to tell you so. I also do not want to see pictures of my loved ones (or yours) doing the following things: drooling, exposing their buttocks from underneath a hospital garment, sporting unkempt hair and makeup (if they usually wore it), attached to life-support machinery, or . . . dead. Please be sensitive to your subjects. You may look great, but if someone in the pictures is in distress, please, please, please - - just don't post it.

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

Don't Assume You Know the Backstory...

Forgive me, my Clausnet friends, I find myself wanting to express a thought here this evening and unfortunately after a very long day it might be difficult. I highly doubt my brain is up for the challenge but I'm willing to try. I do hope that my blog posts do not come across as judgmental as I write these thoughts down for me...a personal reminder. If what I write helps you as well or causes you to think, then that is a wonderful byproduct to me needing to get something typed out. I wanted to start by telling a short story: Now, when I was younger, my father, would have much rather prefer having a football player as a son to follow in his footsteps, but he ended up getting a musician that would not play sports in fear of hurting my piano-playing fingers. While I was making very good money as a musician while in high school, my father was frustrated that my "job" was just not "hard enough" for his liking...he wanted to see me work a little harder and required that I not play or sing but get a "real job" to earn some money. His suggestion was the restaurant industry as he had done at my then age. I had a friend who was managing a restaurant and I applied and was hired as a server. I must say, I learned some great people skills as a server and loved interacting with so many people at my young age of 16. It was not as easy as playing the piano for a wedding...but I had a blast working in the restaurant and quickly became not only a server, but I would go in early and bake all of the pies for the day too. Now, back to the real reason for this story. I had been working in the restaurant a few months and having really enjoying it. This was not a fancy restaurant, it was a modest, every day common stop for decent meal. It was a chain restaurant called, "Baker's Square." I remember this couple that came in...they were probably in their late 30's or early 40's. They had an average meal and a slice of pie. Their meal and my service were nothing special...again, just a regular couple, eating regular food. After they paid I was clearing off their table and then I noticed there was note left with a very small tip. I actually kept the note but don't remember where it is at this point so I will have to do my best to remember it... "Dear John, Thank you so much for your kind service, we have been saving all year for this meal to celebrate our anniversary. Thank you again for making us feel special." There are certain things that can happen in your life that I would call a "life-changer"...and this note was one of them. I set a goal that day to be the best person I could to those around me. We have no idea what someone's back story is. What might seem common place, simple, normal...might not be the same for someone else. I think we can certainly apply this lesson to portraying Santa. I really don't care if you're tired, if your back hurts, if you knees hurt...you have no idea where that child is coming from that is sitting on your knee in that very moment. Perhaps the family had been saving for months to afford a photo with Santa, perhaps they had to take the bus or had a personal journey to finally get to where Santa is. Perhaps a child just left Mom or dad in a hospital room or perhaps they were recently abused and you symbolize hope...you NEVER know. In that very short time, you and I have an opportunity to make a difference and help someone feel special, loved, important, etc. I am the first to say that I can get grumpy, cranky, and impatient. I need to try harder to make sure that I do not let my own mood ruin someone's experience with Santa. In that moment...you can forget about "insert your own name" ...you ARE Santa.

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

My Unexpected Journey...

Have you ever been caught in a mood or moment where your heart and mind are just rushing with sentimental feelings, memories, and thoughts? It has certainly been one of those days for me. Now, most that really know me, know I am a huge softy that will tear up at the drop of a hat. It might be a great film, perhaps a book, a tender conversation with my children, or perhaps just thinking about life in general...I'm a big baby, I admit it. While I am great at keeping my composure during a visit to the children's hospital as Santa, I can confidently say, I'm a basket cast all the way home until I can hold my own babies. It's amazing the choices we make and the roads we decide to go down as we experience the unknown and unavoidable turns, bumps, pot holes, and more of life. Sometimes what we thought would happen and have planned for, just isn't what was in the big picture in our lives and I'm grateful that my life has brought me so much excitement, experiences, and adventure. In particular, I am grateful for my journey here to the Santa community and Clausnet. Portraying Santa has always been something hiding in my life and mind, from my first awful looking beard as a young boy bringing gifts and singing carols to the local neighborhood, to my first "real" suit to bring my first born a magical memory on a Christmas Eve night...I never would have imagined that I would have the opportunity to be someone's REAL Santa. I cannot now, imagine my life without this joy...it is so important to me that I would find it hard to actually express how much. I joined Clausnet on December 1, 2011. I had very selfish reasons for doing so; I wanted to be better and learn from those that had more experience than I did. What I did not expect were the memories I'd make here and the friendships that would develop, even how much I miss it when I can't visit. It really is so much more than just learning to be a better Santa but also learning to be a better human being. I've learned to fine tune my portrayal, I've strengthened my standards as I reflect on the responsibility of portraying Santa, and I am overall a better person. I've also learned that I'm a sucker for something new and shiny! Something that I never imagined or thought about really were all of those Santas that would pass from here. I guess I just never thought about the fact that most Santas are older, have pasts mid life and are enjoying their golden years. As I get older, I am reminded more and more as I see people around me, friends, and family leave this life and reflect on what they have left behind. It seems there is even more of this kind of reminder of how precious and short life is around this community. I am so happy that these individuals were able to experience life and found their role as Santa. I have not known these Santas and have not called them close friends as many of you have...but I take my hat off to them for their role in the Santa community and that they were able to spread Christmas cheer as Santa Claus bringing smiles to countless individuals. I wanted to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for all you do, thank you for your participation here, thank you for helping those around you and supporting the Santa community. Thank you for putting up with my stupid comments that were meant to be funny, and my all too often opinionated posts. Thank you for helping me see the error of my ways and thank you for confirming things that I knew to be true and important in my portrayal. Thank you for helping me be a better Santa, and a better person. I am excited for what the future holds and I will continue to live my life with no regrets, uplifting and supporting my family, and spreading that Christmas cheer that I felt as a child and hold close to my heart to this day. I hope we can all have a wonderful season, that we can all understand how blessed we are to be able to participate in this wonderful community as we bring smiles to children and adults alike. I also look forward to learning more each day and when the time comes, while I hope it is a very long way off, I pray I will leave behind something that my children, wife, family, friends, and community can be proud of. Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

What's the matter with kids today?

Kids! I don't know what's wrong with these kids today! Kids! Who can understand anything they say? Kids! They a disobedient, disrespectful oafs! Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers! And while we're on the subject: Kids! You can talk and talk till your face is blue! Kids! But they still do just what they want to do! Why can't they be like we were, Perfect in every way? What's the matter with kids today? From the Musical “Bye-Bye Birdie” Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I am babysitting for my horrible, spoiled, disrespectful, ungrateful, lying, lazy grandchildren. Yup, I just said that. I have no patience, and my sense of humor is on “off.” I am sick of the mess and doing all the chores. I am sick of getting up at 6 a.m. to get the boys to school. I am sick of the dishes and the laundry and the crap they have left on the toilet. Don’t ask me what’s on their blankets. I am pissed as hell that my daughter keeps throwing away the toilet brushes I buy. Where is my large water mug I brought over? Why can’t I find a channel with Jeopardy? I love the dog (a Great Dane puppy) but don’t appreciate having to try to walk her with a three year old - - neither of whom have the procedure down yet. One pulls one way, the other pulls the opposite way. Both of them sit down and refuse to move whenever they feel like. Not at the same time. My back feels like I’ve been on the rack. One of the boys told me that there’s no need for him to pick up the dog poop in the back yard, because eventually “it will decompose.” I’d like to decompose his butt. Yesterday, I listened for ten minutes to the dialogue on a game the 10 and 12 year old had downloaded on their Playstation called “Grand Theft Auto 5.” I have never heard such horrible language, and I worked all my adult life with lawyers and criminals (or is that redundant?) . Despite the fact that I turned it off, they snuck it back on after I went to bed (admittedly at 8:30 - - sigh). There was a midnight feeding frenzy in the kitchen, and enough food was spilled on the floor to attract an ant hill of mythic proportions. I wandered out in the kitchen before dawn without shoes and discovered the crumbs and feasting insects with my cold, bare toes. Oh, and there are lots of crickets here, just to make it extra crunchy. This morning the gaming controls are (oops!) missing. I have shut every door in the house to keep the dog from chewing books, shoes, toys, Barbie clothes, Legos, and Star Wars paraphernalia. When I put her outside, she HURLS herself at the glass door when she wants back in. Did I say she weighs 90 pounds already. Today is trash and recycle day. I rolled two trash cans, and carted six recycle bins, to the curb (and back). I have swept and vacuumed. There are enough dishes to run the dishwasher twice a day and the washing machine never stops. I’m supposed to harvest the remaining pears and apples from the backyard orchard, and bake up something tasty for later tonight. How long does it take pears to ferment into something drinkable? Currently, the three year old is coloring - - in the vintage Dr. Suess books I so lovingly saved all these years. She is wearing a fifty dollar party dress, that has grape jelly on the skirt. There is Nutella in her hair. I don’t care. She is quiet and out of trouble for the moment. Earlier, she put seventeen colors of eye shadow on while I was taking a shower. A crayon got in this morning’s wash, and quite a few of my shirts (yes, I was doing my own laundry) have large red and orange spots on them. Thank gawd it wasn’t my son-in-law’s Hawaiian shirt. It's silk. Early today my daughter called to see how I was doing? “When are you coming home?" I implored. Amazon just sent me an e-mail saying my copy of “Final Exit” had just shipped. Unfortunately, they sent it to the wrong address. Bummer. I guess my grandchildren didn’t turn out to be the darling blessings yours did. So, go ahead and brag. Santa Nana Be good, for goodness sake. OMG! What’s the dog chewing on? It’s the ant trap I put down on the kitchen floor. Now I’ve poisoned the family pet! Santa Nana’s helpful hint for the week. Just say no. To everything.

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

This is Not a Race...Enjoy the Ride.

I'm sure this has been covered more than a few times but I wanted to address it as well. To all of our wonderful new members that join our ranks...I can assure you, it is NOT a race...find your pace and steady the course my friends. What do I mean? Well, as a new member, for many; it's a GIANT eye opening experience being here. The door to the "North Pole Workshop" has now been open, so to speak, and there are "things" that you never knew existed before for your purchasing enjoyment. A suit you might have looked at with pride the year before, all of a sudden you only see it is the "off the shelf" look. The boots you had before, perhaps you want REAL leather now, that's what SANTA would have...right!? Well, I am all for upgrading, buying, making, and adding new items...but I did not do it all in one year...and no one should feel they have to. Steady the course my friends...you do not have to empty the entire savings account to purchase all of these things at once. Suits, boots, beards, pins, buckles, belts, shirts, bags, props, cards, makeup, and more! Wow...that's just exhausting! There is no one saying that you cannot portray Santa and give a magical experience to a child with "off the shelf" items...it can be done and has many, many times. I'm sure if we all look back at the Santas of our own childhood we would be amazed...while some visited with world class Santas, most of us had very modest and humble materials to make the look. We did not notice the difference It's fun to add to your "box of tools" each year. I personally have a list of my bigger ticket items I'd like to add for the next 5 years ...it does not need to be done all at once. These comments I make for me too as I think we can all fall prey to this need to have better or "the best." I continually look at my own items and it's easy to get sucked into the desire and want to have something better. Perhaps I see something another Santa has and I begin wanting that more than just being happy and blessed with what I have at the moment. There is an obvious lesson to be learned here. What do we think of when we have a child on our knee with a giant list of name brand, top of the line electronics they want for Christmas!? Are we any different? We all are asking Santa for our name brand, top of the line Santa stuff! I would hope that there is no feeling of pressure to upgrade every single item you have at once or even at all. Our biggest effort should be in our inner portrayal - you will add here and there to your outward appearance and it will develop and change over time as you want. Take your time, study, put the giant wad of cash away for the moment, and learn How to BE Santa Claus. How many new members have come and their first question is, "Can someone please tell me where I can buy {fill in the blank}? Show the children they are loved, cared for, special, and that they matter. This is done with your actions, not your suit, boots, buckles, etc. The things do help though, I agree. I am one of the first in line to buy something shiny and new, but we should give ourselves a break and enjoy the ride at a more leisurely pace. We will still get there...and the higher speeds will just mess up our hair. I do love our community here. We are filled with wonderful characters. What amazing work Santas do in the world and the potential difference we can make in someone's life is amazing and powerful. Keep up the good work and enjoy the ride.

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

My Approach to Santa's "Things."

I often am asked about the various things I have to help me in portraying Santa Claus. Now, I do not dispute or go against the common believe that Santa is more than just "things." I do think, however, that the more I FEEL like Santa, the better my acting and portrayal will be in my outward performance. I have enjoyed adding quite a few custom items to my portrayal. Some items I have made myself, while other pieces I have worked with and commissioned individual craftsman and artists to create. Personally, with anything, I have a few questions that I like to ask when creating something to add to my portrayal. 1. What would I have liked to see as a child? This is pretty easy for me...as I'm just a GIANT kid at heart. I remember seeing Santa as a child and I remember being overwhelmed as my imagination was on overload watching films that featured our beloved St. Nick. I have always been one for details. It has been that way my entire life. So, while some children might look at Santa in his entirety...I was studying his buckles, what his buttons looked like, how his mustache was shaped; I love the details! I would encourage anyone portraying Santa to look at a picture of yourself in your suit...what would YOU think of this "Santa" from your younger perspective. 2. What would I like to see as an adult? Well, this question is just plain fun. We have such a great resource here on Clausnet. Here you can see a myriad of Santa professionals, some of the best of the best and see how they portray Santa. While I understand these are real individuals, for the moment, separate them from their Claus persona. Look at a particular "Santa" AS Santa. What do you see? What do you like? Is there something you do not like? Now, I'm not talking about judging our fellow Santas...just look at what might spark your own imagination. Again...we have such a wonderful opportunity to be together here and learn from each other. This also goes outside of just professional Santas...look at your favorite films that feature Santa too...favorite artwork, books, etc. I particularly love antique items like postcards from the Victorian era. 3. What is my style/Who is my Santa? From the contemporary to the traditional, the European to the American...there are SO many ways to look at Santa's style. If you are going to add "things" to your portrayal, you need to know who YOUR Santa is...what would he wear?, what would he like? I know it sounds odd...but if you are really going to portray Santa in any kind of convincing way, you must truly try to convince yourself...make him real in your mind, create who he is. Now, I'm not saying I believe I AM Santa...but when I portray him, I AM Santa, I try to forget for the moment who "Johnathan" is. Now What? If you have asked these questions and have a good idea of the direction you want to take...great! I personally want my "things" and my portrayal to be geared towards everyone. I want children to love Santa just as much as I want parents (adults) to. While most children will look at HOW you portray Santa much more than the adults. The adults will really start studying your details and look at things with a larger perspective as well as your personal interaction with those around you. They too were once children, many an adult has locked away in their memories and hearts the feelings they had as a child when they saw Santa. If you can unlock those...truly special experiences can happen for them too. Your acting and your heart are center stage with everyone. Sincerity is something very hard to fake...don't. We have such a great responsibility, if you don't love it...don't do it, please. Now, once I have gone through these steps, I'm ready to approach the "thing," whatever it might be. The particular item I have determined I want to use, and need to think about the style, need, use, etc. Here is where another interest comes into my portrayal in the form of a concept. I love movie props! I not only own quite a few screen used props, but I've gone to great lengths to create or commission replicas too. In the motion picture industry and prop community, we used the term "hero prop." When you have an item to be used on film, you typically have a few versions...especially for expensive props. The term "hero" comes from a prop that is used by the lead character (think of the hero in the film) and that can stand up to being filmed at very close distances without looking fake or seeing "the movie magic." You might have a particular item that is carried by background and extras, you might have your lead character using a sword from a distance, hitting this and that...but on a close up, you could have the "hero" sword, showing detail in every little way. Now, when viewing the film...they all look the same because you are too far away to see the details most of the time. So...back to Santa. I look at my Santa items as "hero props." If I were to have a film camera photograph or film my suit, my bag, a pen, a button, a book...I want it to look not only real, but aged if needed, and authentic. This looks this way not only from 20 feet away but I want them to read the same way on film at 2 inches. I also find it fun to add details that you are only going to see if you are holding the item and studying it. Why? Because that's what I love...I want it real in every way I possibly can. These things help me get into the character of Santa. They help me... but they are not me remember. I can take my suit and all that I have and place it on the next person that walks down the street, he will not be convincing, he will not be Santa. Portraying Santa has both the inward and the outward elements to it. I have loved learning and fine tuning both those elements and I'm still on a long road ahead. I am not done by any means in my portrayal. I know I can be better, I can know the character more, I can be better prepared for questions that come up, I have SO much to learn. There are also "things" that I will add...and I will do my best to have them fit MY Santa...and have great detail and fun in them. Hopefully this hasn't been too boring. Thank you for all YOU do. If you're reading this, chancing are you are working to be better...and that's just awesome. Reach your goals, make a difference, and have fun my friends. Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

A Summer's Day - Wastin' Time

Sittin' in the morning sun I'll be sittin' when the evening comes Watching the ships roll in Then I watch them roll away again, yeah I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay Wastin' time Dear Readers, On August 1st, a sign outside the Palisade High School read "Summer's Almost Over." Boy, did that make me sad. Technically, summer was only HALF over, and the thought that someone would proclaim otherwise was freaking me out - - especially coming from a school. Unfortunately, here on the Western Slope, school starts in mid-August, not the first of September (after Labor Day) as it did when I was growing up. For the kids in this community, summer WAS almost over, and it got me to thinking about the days of yore. While my grand kids spent a lot of time playing video games this summer, when I was a kid, I found a spot to hide a pile of books and read. I had a particular spot under a shady tree in an orchard in our back yard, where a kid could lie on her back and alternate a story with watching fluffy cloud-characters puffing across the sky. I read all the Nancy Drews and Robert Louis Stevenson, and started into Ayn Rand when I was 11. As long as I was out of the way, I could lie there all day without much of a care. But that was long ago. Right after dinosaurs. Eventually summer ends, and we all grow up, and finding a day to lie in the grass and read a book becomes a relic of by-gone days. Even when I do manage to find that shady tree, and pull out my Kindle, the evil Taskmaster-in-my-Brain rears her ugly head over and over with things I should be doing. Sometimes I'm forced to lock the doors and turn off the computer and stab her with my steely knife to keep her at bay. I did that yesterday. I locked myself in the sewing room - - the one room in my house devoid of electronics, and sat in the daybed by the window where I could see the clouds over Mt. Garfield. I found a true story about a young British kid who decides to volunteer for a year at an animal rescue camp in Ecuador ("A Bear Ate My Pants"). Funny, witty, insightful. I felt like I was transported for the day on an adventure to a foreign land. As should be, I was sorry when the story ended and the sun was setting on another summer day. Today there were lots of posts on Facebook about getting ready for fall - - people who are tired of the heat and looking forward to the changing leaves, the harvest and Halloween. I want to stomp my foot and say "hold on there Bobalooey, it ain't even September yet!" It's curious how we humans have a hard time appreciating what is at our feet today in glorious splendor. If it is summer, we want the harvest moon, amongst the red and gold leaves, we dream of twinkling Christmas lights. In the darkness we plan for fresh spring flowers, and then again for summer's sunny tune. It is 124 days until Christmas 2013 - - but that is one hundred and twenty four days away. Be sure to stop and feel the sun on your face, smell the roses, read a book under the clouds, and enjoy a summer day. No waiting. It's here now. Santa Nana Be good, for goodness sake! P.S. I know my son-in-law likes to play video games on his days off from being a super nurse, daddy and husband. I'm not sure that he has to fight the "taskmaster in his brain" as much as he does my daughter, though. SANTA NANA'S TIP. If you have a Kindle or other reading device you can get FREE books (and sale books) every single day on BookBub.com. Sign up for their daily e-mail. Also, you can download/borrow books from your library for free. Libraries vary on how long you can keep your books, but it is pretty much like borrowing a hard copy, with options to renew. Also, there's never an overdue charge.

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

A visit with Santa Bill and Bestemor Claus

I had the great pleasure of meeting Santa Bill and Bestemor Claus when they came through Grand Junction yesterday. Our time was too short, but my granddaughter, Abby, enjoyed a magical visit with Santa Bill! http://clausnet.com/gallery/image/11860-/ http://clausnet.com/gallery/image/11857-/ http://clausnet.com/gallery/image/11858-/ http://clausnet.com/gallery/image/11859-/ Santa Bill knew all about Abby and her brothers, what they got for Christmas last year, how old she was, and so much more. I guess they just happened to be wearing red

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

The Other Side of the Mountain

The bear went over the mountain The bear went over the mountain The bear went over the mountain To see what she could see The other side of the mountain The other side of the mountain The other side of the mountain Was all that she could see Greetings, my holiday friends. I have finally completed my move from Boulder, Colorado to "the western slope," or Palisade, Colorado, to be exact. For those of you who have asked "why Palisade," my first answer is that my children (and three of my grandchildren) are right up the road in Fruita. I'm also smack in the heart of Colorado wine country! A wonderful park five minutes from my door hosts a plethora of festivals (wine, peach, lavender, music) and the Colorado river runs through it. Beauty, fresh fruit from the farms, and family all abound. Moving to a smaller place created its own challenges and questions, specifically, how did I get so much STUFF? I've been downsizing ever since selling my home two years ago, and yet, I was doing the two step hoarders shuffle through boxes for the first three weeks I was here. I have a little ditty going through my mind to the tune of "Gangster's Paradise" but with the words "keep spending all my life, living in a hoarder's paradise . . . " The fact that I have an abundance of Santa Nana costumes, hats, jewelry, and other accoutrement doesn't help the situation, either. It takes up an entire room, shared by the cat, and she's still a little freaked out by it all. It seems strange to be starting a new life at age 62, but everyone I've met so far has been really lovely. I hope to start promoting myself (Santa's sister) over the coming weeks, starting with a visit to the local Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. I've already connected with some folks I met at the lavender festival, and a backyard concert at a local bed and breakfast on Sunday. There are only 2,500 people in Palisade, so I should know all their names by Christmas. If you know anyone in my area, please let me know. I'm very close to Grand Junction, where my son is a nurse at St. Mary's hospital. Many thanks! Santa Nana We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. Walt Disney Santa Nana's tip: Freecycle is a Yahoo group that has participants in every major city in the U.S. Basically, you can post your still usable items to be given away, and the recipient makes an appointment with you to pick it up. This way, stuff doesn't go to the landfills, people get stuff they can use, and you don't have to haul stuff away (especially nice for an old woman without a truck It is completely free. Of course, there are the occasional "no shows" and odd ducks, but I have used it in Longmont, Boulder, and now Grand Junction with great results. Let me know if you would like more information on this terrific community service. Someone just came and collected a heavy table I could no longer use. Oh, and you can ask for things you need, too.

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

Create Your Own North Pole

Create Your Own North Pole Recently I run across some notes that I had taken back in October of last year that I had from a presentation by Santa Steve Gillham also known as the Triangle Santa in the Raleigh area in North Carolina. Steve done a wonderful presentation of his “sneak a peek” CHRISTmas Eve visits and told some very funny stories. But one of the biggest take away from the get together was how that even though we wear a red suit and beard whether designer or real that is where we stop being the same… We all know that the one’s that do this for the right reasons it’s all in the heart and it show’s through to the children. I realized that we all have our own ideas of what Santa would look like. We reflect that in our individual touches that we add to the suit or our Santa attire. A few of the things I picked up from the meeting was we all are story tellers in some way. When were answering questions we have our on spin on how many elves are there? Or How do you get down the chimney, how does Reindeer fly….. The ways we answer those questions help spin the tale of our own North Pole. We create our on individual North Pole that is the way we see it… If you’re fortunate enough to have some props such as glass bottles with glitter and led lights mounted under them you can even have fairy dust that you use……. Here is a couple of Q & A I took away. Obviously you each will have your own answer that will differ and that is what helps set your Santa apart. For the new Santa’s out there these are some things to think about so that your not stumped by some questions down the line…… If you have time in a home setting or party with children have a question and Answer session with them and story time. For me here are a few answers I have worked on…. Again no right or wrong answers… Always a work in process. How many elves do you have? I have 5,457……… unless elf Caitlyn has her baby while I am gone… How do you get down that small chimney? Christmas Dust (I carry a small pouch with artificial snow and glitter mixed together and show it to them). How do Reindeer fly? Well the way the antlers are made they help pick the wind up and lift them… along with the special CHRISTmas moss only found at the North Pole. What is your favorite cookie? I ask them what theirs is… what ever they answer I say “wow that’s my favorite too”. What happens if someone catches Santa on CHRISTmas Eve? I tell them we’ll have a cookie and milk party just them and me. Then I pull out a white feather prop….. I explain to them that we’ll have a great time but when it’s time for me to leave I will drop the feather on the ground. At the exact moment the feather hits the ground they will be back asleep in their beds and will not remember anything about catching me…..(I drop the feather while I’m talking at the end of the answer and they just watch the feather mesmerized) …. If there is a parent around that is a good idea for them to pick up on…. Leave a feather near the milk and cookies that were left out and the children will think they actually caught Santa and can’t remember it now because of the story…. “Thanks Steve for that one if you’re reading this”….. While I don’t have all the great props yet that Steve had I will be adding some background music while I’m story telling this year…. Easily downloaded to my ipad to give a different atmosphere to the story telling… Hope you enjoyed my little tidbit of info and don’t forget to stop into the chat rooms on Saturday nights starting at 9 PM eastern to get feed back from other Santa’s on things just like this…. Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

 

Interview with Larry Peter

This week I sat down with Larry Peter, the director and producer of the upcoming Santa Claus documentary, They Wore The Red Suit. There is a lot going on with the film. Read on to learn more. ClausNet: So Larry, what is the latest with the film? Larry: The big news is we’re in our first film festival with, hopefully, many more to come. The Indianapolis International Film Festival is featuring the film in a prime screening on Sunday, July 14 at 4:30 PM in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s grand Toby Theater. There’s also a second screening Wednesday the 17th at 6:15 PM at the museum. Thanks to all of our supporters for helping us get this film completed and in front of theater audiences. ClausNet: You have had a few private screenings of the film already. What has been the response to the film so far? Larry: It feels very rewarding to see the responses we’re getting from our screening audiences. I couldn't get people to grasp this film’s importance while I was trying to get it made. Everyone expected a comedy, or some sort of “Bad Santa” clone. The usual response was, "You’re doing a serious documentary on Santa Claus?" and "It’s an hour and a half long?" I got no grant money, no investors, and my son and I finished the film driving around the country in a wrecked 2001 Sable. Now, it has the highest buzz rating of any documentary in the festival – and second highest buzz of all films combined. ClausNet: Why was this movie so important to you? Larry: Because my Santa, Jim Yellig, was very important to me; and I think Santa Claus is important to humanity. The more time I spent around Santas, the deeper I looked at why they have the effect they do. And to get philosophical, I think Santa plays a very important spiritual role for mankind – and perhaps not in the way most people think of. As far back as you go in human history, you’ll always find a member of society – a king, a high priest, a medicine man – who, on special occasions, will take on aspects of the divine. Some people in modern Western society may take that kind of talk as blasphemy, but I feel humans have a basic need for a tangible representation of divine attributes. And every civilization has provided one. The village shaman puts on the cloak of feathers and he is no longer the shaman. To everyone watching, adults and children, he’s now Father Sky. Virtually every society had an individual who would occasionally take on the role of a magical being who could hear requests from far away, watch over you, and reward the good with gifts. These customs strengthened their society’s spirituality – and that’s the reason I cringe when I hear certain groups claim that Santa is anti-religious. When he dons the Red Suit, he provides a tangible representation of the highest qualities we all wish to connect with. ClausNet: What do I want viewers to take away from the film? Larry: Mainly, I’d like them to understand the impact on society that Santas can have. Whether they’re “professional”, paid Santas or “community” Santas, like your grandfather, James Rielly, they have the ability to affect the lives of adults and children alike. And I’d like all the members of the Santa community to know this, as well. Whether you’re primarily taking photos in a mall, working a private party, or visiting hospitals, those few moments you spend in a visit can be moments that affect a life. As Phil Wenz points out in the film, Santa is virtually the only untarnished role model society has left. Second, I’d like to see adults help their children make the transition from childhood belief in a healthier manner. Don’t tell your kids Santa isn't real. He’s just real in a different way, now. ClausNet: Are there DVDs available? Larry: That’s a tricky situation right now. While we’re in the film festivals, and trying to get distribution, we can’t offer our final product for sale. But rumor has it that at least one individual has several DVDs of our Bristol, RI pre-screener that he may be willing to part with. It’s not our “official” release, but has some extra info on James Rielly and a few other historic Santas, that isn’t in our final cut. ClausNet: Ha! Thanks! My wife told me I need to get rid of this box of DVDs. If anyone reading this wants a copy, please contact me! ClausNet: When will the film be available? Larry: I can’t give a definite answer to that. We want to have the film seen in as many festivals as possible, and the next one we hope to be part of is an Oscar-qualifying event. A lot of film distributors and broadcasters will be paying attention. We have already received serious offers for distribution, even before this first festival screening, but I need to see how far we can take this. Not only do I want it available to the widest possible audience, but we have a lot of personal investment – as well as borrowed money – in this film that we have to try to recoup. ClausNet: What can Santas do to help? Larry: At this moment, if you can make it to the Indianapolis International Film Festival, please do. Tickets for the screenings are just $10, and a large group of Santas would just make the event more magical. And tell all your non-Santa friends about it as well. Events like these can show networks and film distributors that this film has appeal to a broad audience. ClausNet: What’s next? Larry: I don’t think I’ll ever be involved in another project that will bring me as much joy as the last two years have. My crew would complain at the end of a day of shooting that their faces hurt from smiling so much. My personal life goal is to use my passion for film making to raise the consciousness of the planet. I want to Educate, Entertain and Enlighten. I only hope I can find more projects that match my goal as well as this film did. I have such admiration for Santa’s work. Keep it up. We all need it. ClausNet: Thank you Larry! To learn more about They Wore The Red Suit, please visit www.thesantamovie.com

Michael Rielly

Michael Rielly

 

Creating Your Back Story

I auditioned for the role of an angel in the Nativity play at school. I didn't get it. I auditioned for Mary; didn't get it. So I made up the character of the sheep who sat next to Baby Jesus. Nicole Kidman Although he started out as pagan as the next demi-god, Nick was eventually converted to Christendom, while I was still firmly embedded in a more magical culture - - the fairies, the gnomes, the elves that Nick wound up using at the workshop. Frankly, we came from elf and fairy stock, and that was never going to change. However, Nick was happy to underplay his lineage to reach the greatest number of children, and he looked to Nicholas of Myra for inspiration and an occasional fashion idea. L.M. Royse, Santa Nana - - the Chronicles of Santa’s Sister Greetings. My name is Santa Nana, and I am Santa’s SISTER. As far back as Aristotle, in Poetics, story tellers have created “back stories” to help them understand their characters in an intimate way. When you know where your character grew up, who his parents were, where he went to school, what sports he played, his favorite color - - then your presentation can be more creatively defined. In written form, back stories are usually revealed, partially or in full, chronologically or otherwise, as the main narrative unfolds. However, a story creator may also invent parts of a back story or even an entire back story, solely for their own use in writing (or performing) the main story and never reveal it to the audience. Creating your particular interpretation of your Santa character is as individual as you are, but also requires that some common “fact” parameters be applied. Take the opportunity to sit down and outline a narrative of your own. Use your unique special talents, but also research how other Santa’s answer the basic questions: What is your wife’s name? I just call her “the missus.” Who’s your favorite reindeer? Rudolph. How old are you? So old I can’t even remember! Incorporate modern books and movies into your interpretation. Have you read the Polar Express? The Life and Times of Santa Claus? Do you know about the Elf on a Shelf? When I encounter children in a mall at Christmas time I always ask, “are you going to see Santa? I KNOW HIM!” This is a line from the movie “Elf” and kids adore it. Santa myths are constantly in flux. While at one time “naughty” children could be stuffed in a sack, whipped and carried off to Spain (or simply given switches and coal), today we accept all children as “good” and no real punishment is ever really imposed. We have done away with the dark and frightening figures that accompanied Santa in times past (Krampus, Zwarte Piet). For health reasons, Santa no longer smokes a pipe (or cigarettes!), but he and the missus vacation in Hawaii in the off season - - a great addition to our new 21st century mythology. Santa’s sister? Why not? We have had recent movies where Santa has had a brother “Fred.” Mrs. Santa was “created” over a hundred years ago. Characters such as Befana, a flying witch who delivers presents in Italy, have existed even longer: In popular folklore Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for the Befana. She is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick through the air wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot because she enters the children's houses through the chimney . She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both. My name “Nana” comes from a distant relative, the goddess Nanna, who it was believed was resurrected by the god Odin after dying from grief at the loss of her husband, the demi-god Baldr. There are many recorded stories about how she was incredibly beautiful. Odin is often considered the first of mythological characters to embody the spirit of Santa. Among early Germanic tribes, one of the major deities was Odin, the ruler of Asgard . A number of similarities exist between some of Odin's escapades and those of the figure who would become Santa Claus. Odin was often depicted as leading a hunting party through the skies, during which he rode his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. In the 13th-century Poetic Edda, Sleipnir is described as being able to leap great distances, which some scholars have compared to the legends of Santa's reindeer. Odin was typically portrayed as an old man with a long, white beard -- much like St. Nicholas himself. Since ancient times, the hearth was held sacred in primitive belief as a source of beneficence, and popular belief had elves and fairies bringing gifts to the house through a magic portal. What an adventure it has become to create Ms. Santa Nana! I appreciate all the love and support from every one of you. Be good, for goodness sake! Santa Nana, BSC Santa Nana’s tip of the week: Please care about spelling. It is an indicator of your respect for the English language, and the people who read and speak it. If you think English should be the official language in the USA, I am especially pointing a finger at you. Comprendo? Wie oft am Tag schaust du dich im Spiegel an? Your computer and your phone have spell check features. I promise - - they do. Take a moment to use them before you post your texts, blogs and comments. An old trick I learned in school: read your text out loud before finalizing it to hear how it “flows.” As Santa characters, you should subscribe to a higher level of behavior than mere mortals. Yes, I keep saying that we have to live up to a higher standard because we are role models. That is part of the responsibility of being adored by children all over he world. Also, sign up for a “word of the day” e-mail. You’ll learn lots of really cool stuff. Try www.dictionary.com

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

Now I lay me down to sleep Beside my bed a Glock I keep If I awake and you’re inside The coroner’s van Will be your last ride Posted on Santas on Facebook Greetings. I am Santa’s Sister, and I am a pacifist. This year, as you may know, I joined the "Society of Santa's" to spread joy and enlightenment throughout the universe. When I signed on to Santas on Facebook, I immediately "friended" several hundred Santas, thinking how grand it was to have such a vast number of benevolent citizenry to be friends with. Well, the truth has come as a crushing blow. The majority of the Santas who first "friended" me are gun fanatics with notions about the 2nd Amendment that defy logic. In addition, they all proclaim to be Christians. Apparently, many of you do not believe these concepts to be incompatible. Over the first few weeks, I quickly whittled my list down to about 75. When the Sandy Creek massacre occurred, I determined that anyone who posted anything in the nature of "guns don't kill people," would immediately come off my friend list. I'm down to about two Santa friends. One is in Australia and one is in Denmark! The bottom line for me is, the NRA are a bunch of bullies, and we continue to allow them push us around. When somebody finally gets the balls to do something about them, I will be right on the bandwagon. It is my sincere belief that mentally ill people are the cause for these horrible deeds. (Columbine, Aurora Theater, Sandy Creek, and on and on). Murder has been going on all over the world from the beginning of recorded history, and movies, or video games, or TV news, or not going to church, or any other number of things cannot be blamed for this awful human condition. However, as long as we are manufacturing blow-em up toys for fun and recreation, the mentally distressed will use them to wreck havoc. In my perfect world, nobody would have guns. Short of that, no one would have bullets. Americans are particularly hard headed and resistant to change. Once upon a time, everyone smoked in the U.S. and it took a lot of years to convince people that smoking will kill you, and it's smelly and disgusting (not sexy and mysterious). We need a similar focus now on gun control. Despite what you see in the movies, guns are not sexy and mysterious - - and they WILL kill you, your neighbors and your neighbors children - - and make the gun manufacturers wealthy in the process. I believe in pursuing the dream of peace on earth, and I encourage all Santas and Mrs. Santas, and elves, and fairies, and other woodland creatures to embody this dream for all they come in contact with, whatever time of year. Be good, for goodness sake!
Santa Nana Santa Nana’s tip of the week: Please crop your pictures. If you have a website, or post on Facebook, or contribute to ClausNet, take a few extra minutes to crop your pictures. The brick wall behind you should not be the biggest feature in your photo, or the line of folks to your right, or any other thing that does not have you, or you and your guest (human or pet) as the main centerpiece. Every single program you use to take pictures from your camera to your cell phone has an easy to use crop feature. Take it all the way down to the faces of the subjects. (Yes, your boots are grand, but we don’t always need to see them.) You can even make everyone look slimmer, by cropping in on the arm and up on the tummy. You have tools. Experiment with this until you get a good feel for it - - then use it! P.S. I anticipate that many of you do not agree with my anti-gun sentiments, and it is not my intention to get into a fight with any of you about the issue. If you support my opinion, however, by all means, let me know! Peace and love. Santa Nana

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

To my Christmas family Have a Happy Memorial Day.

Lets remember the ones who gave there all for the free dooms we so take for granted. To my brothers and sisters who served THANK YOU !!! And if you know one who served or have a family member in the Armed Services give them a call or a hug and let them know YOU CARE. From this Vietnam vet to all who served and is serving YOU MAKE ME PROUD . And to Claus Net thank you for being such a great place to come and meet such an awesome group of folks that share love and pride to be an all American. Your Brother : Big Jim Santa from Peoria IL.

Big Jim Santa

Big Jim Santa

 

Santa Nana - School Daze

“Often, a school is your best bet - - perhaps not for education, but certainly for protection from an undead attack.” ― Max Brooks, The Zombie Survival Guide Greetings. My name is Ms. Santa Nana and I am Santa’s SISTER. Did you know the average Santa is 60 years old, between 180-220 pounds, and between 5’8” and 6’? I’m all that - - and more! Now I have a degree in Santa Clausology. This last weekend, I attended School 4 Santas, presented by world-renowned Santa Timothy Connaghan, at a clubhouse in Lakewood Colorado. I got off to a rocky start early Saturday morning. Here, I must confide to you that my technology is fickle. The minute I start depending on it, it dumps me like a bad boyfriend. For example, over the past few years I have come to rely heavily on the navigation system on my cell phone. GPS services have been an incredible blessing for me, allowing me to go places and see things I never would have ventured to go and see. Unfortunately, my Google maps service has gone bonkers lately. Instead of the kind lady telling me what street or highway to take, some bossy broad just screams “turn right! Turn right! Turn right! Go forward! Turn right!” This is not helpful to me. In fact, it caused me to call the direction’s lady a very bad word - - in front of my grandson. He thought this was hilariously funny. I guess this is what Santa says three times to his GPS, too - - HO HO HO! So, getting to Santa school was a series of pulling over to the side of the road every fifteen minutes to read the real map and then getting back into traffic to turn right, turn right, and go forward. The address given for the school was wrong, so I sat in front of somebody’s condo for a few minutes looking about for Santa cars. You know the ones. They have bumper stickers that say, “My other vehicle is a reindeer sled,” and license plates that read “Big Red.” Some have magnetic side panels proclaiming “Santa Bob, call 1-800-JINGLES” or the PT Cruiser shrink wrapped in candy cane colors. I finally called my buddy, Santa Jerry, and he gave me the right address and I rushed into class, apologetic about my tardiness. Santa Tim Connaghan is a right jolly old elf. He worked the front of the room with great ease and confidence and had a practiced lecture, accompanied by videos and text projected onto a screen, and lots of bells and whistles. Ha, ha - - yes really, bells and whistles. Tim is a highly sought after Santa and has wonderful stories about his jobs all over the world. He also shared his dos and don’ts and lots of funny clips of Santas through history. I loved a short film called “Boot Camp for Santas.” There was a donut break, and a lunch break, and then a nap break. Professor Tim did not schedule the nap break, but it happened organically. Santa Paul fell asleep on my shoulder and snored loudly. Santa Jerry nodded and twitched in and out of his snowy white beard. Other Santas closed their eyes prayer-like or snuck out to their trucks for a snooze. This is not to say that Santa Tim’s lecture was boring, it is just to say that Santas need a siesta mid-afternoon, and unless you want unruly, grouchy Santas, you’d better let them sleep! So, what's the newest thing in the Santa World? LADIES! Women are coming out to help their husbands in Santa performances, and to create their own independent Christmas characters. This opens up new markets and target groups for everyone in the industry - - which we should all celebrate. Technology is also revolutionary. On Sunday, Santa Steve was scheduled to teach us about the use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and websites to promote our businesses. Unfortunately, he was sabotaged by pixies in his PowerPoint presentation. While the search went out for a fifteen year old to assist Santa Steve with his computer, other Santas worked in a short naptime and I downloaded a new navigation app. Luckily, Santa Steve had some handouts to give us with his program information. I would like to take a moment to report that there are Santas, just like other human men, who do not think that women have a place in the Santa community - - or a man’s world. They often will demonstrate their disapproval in condescending or passive aggressive behaviors. Unfortunately, there were a couple of these at Santa school. One Santa went around the room handing out his business cards, but when he got to me, turned and walked away without giving me one. One Santa let loose a door in my face. I was ignored when I spoke in a group. Another Santa thought I should be his personal assistant, scratch his back and give him a wake-up call when he went to his car for forty winks. Another simply treated me as if I was invisible, and refused to look at me when I introduced myself and held out my hand to shake. Oops, he forgot to give me Santa Steve’s handout, too. I realize that these men exist, but I hope those of you who have evolved into citizens of the 21st century will help encourage them to recognize that women have a lot to offer. Misogyny is not a Santa value. On the positive side, a woman, Ms. Christmas Carol, was voted to be the top officer for the Colorado Society of Santas on Saturday night. In addition, an extremely talented seamstress exhibited her beautiful reversible vests, while a local Santa wore the incredible fur trimmed suit and hat she custom made for him. I also had the privilege of hanging out with other great people who came to school: My sponsor, Santa Jerry, who encouraged me to attend the school. Our host Kim, who modeled an exquisite heirloom costume from Norway on the second day. A wannabe Santa let Professor Tim pin curl his moustache, and another mountain man Santa modeled good-naturedly while Professor Tim gave a demonstration on beard curling with a hot iron. It was a hoot. One Santa’s diminutive wife earnestly explained to me that she was an elf, not a Mrs. Santa. Yet another Misses shared tips from her professional makeup experience and helped me get into my costume. At the end of the school, everyone donned their gay apparel to receive their diplomas. We all posed with Santa Tim (see my post on Santas on Facebook) and said “yeah!” Here’s something we learned in class: Always have your hands showing in every photo. I am now a graduate of School 4 Santas, and have my BSC (Bachelor of Santa Claus) diploma to prove it. I highly recommend Professor Santa Tim Connaghan's book BEHIND THE RED SUIT. It is very comprehensive and has some really useful information in it. It is a bit pricy ($60) but covers just about everything in his lectures. You can get it (and other stuff and things) at www.realsantas.com I would tell any new Santa that Behind the Red Suit is the most useful source of information I have found in my first year. Be good, for goodness sake! Santa Nana, B.S.C. Santa Nana’s tip of the week: If you use Facebook to interact with friends and family, it is wise to have a separate account for IRL (in real life) you, and Santa you. Your IRL Facebook can show you in your Bruins sweatshirt and NRA cap, hunting bears and telling risqué jokes about Victoria’s Secret models, BUT NOT YOUR SANTA FACEBOOK! If you have a picture posted of you in a Santa suit, and your name is “Santa Somebody” you should never, ever, ever, post anything that might offend women, children, the elderly, gays, people of different religions, people with different political ideas, people who are poor, or any people who have a different lifestyle than you . . .or have cats. Why? Because Santa is suppose to be a kind and benevolent character and you represent ALL Santas when you appear in the Red Suit. Also, being Santa is a business. It’s simply not good to alienate people who might hire you for a great job. Especially if they have cats.

SantaNana

SantaNana

About | Forums | Blogs | Newsletter | Contact


© 2019 MJR Group. LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Copyright IP Policy

Proud affiliate of My Merry Christmas!

Subscribe to the ClausNet Gazette

Enter your email address to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

About ClausNet

The ClausNet community is the largest social network and online resource for Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Reindeer Handlers, and Santa helpers for the purposes of sharing stories, advice, news, and information.
×