YEA!!! My friend Linda is going to play Mrs Claus with me. I did warn her that it gets addictive, and I think that she is begining to be. WE saw a amimated Mrs claus doll at goodwill. we both really liked the outfit on the doll,and we started to find cloth to make her an outfit. Her mom also wants to get in the act as our seamstress. YEA!!! i think im gonna get a new fat suit and santa robe, i am also making improvements to my suit. I am adding trim above my fur on my coat and added cuff buttons as well!! THis santa family has inspired me to be the best Santa i can be and spred the joy and magic of Santa and the season all year long..THanks guys!!
Hi every one in my Christmas family.
It's Big Jim Santa from Peoria IL and I thought to give you a heads up.
At 2:00 am on the 13 of March you should set your CLOCKS Forward a HOUR A HEAD.
Because it's DAY LIGHT SAVINGS TIME / SPRING FORWARD so if you set your clocks from your curent time at 2:00 am to 3:00 am you lose a hour.
I have had the good fortune of attending a few Toy Fairs. I also live very close to Hasbro's World Headquarters. I've always thought I would love to work for a Toy company. Yeas ago, I interviewed for a marketing position with the CEO and VP of Sales of a small toy manufacturer, now owned by Hasbro. In the interview they asked me what were some of my favorite toys as a kid. Without missing a beat I listed off several of my fondest toys and went on to explain how I still have many of them to this day. The CEO stopped me mid explanation and said "Okay, you passed the test". "Test?", I asked. He said, "You would be surprised how many people want to work here, but can't answer that question." I said, well if you liked that answer, then you will love this one... and I went on to name and describe EVERY character on display in the conference room. On display where Dora, the Explorer, Boots, Swiper, SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and at least a dozen others! They were amazed!
Parents are equally amazed when I can converse with their kids about specific characters, video games, and toys. I don't just nod my head. If a child asks for a "DS", I'll ask if they want a DSi or a DS lite, what color, etc. Another example would be "iPods". Many parents and grandparents have no clue. So I always make sure the parent or grandparent knows which one we are discussing. I think it is important that as Santa we not only know these toys but also know the television shows they watch. My kids are 13 and 18, but I still know what's hot and what's not in toys, electronics, clothing, and trends.
BTW, next month Nintendo will introduce the Nintendo 3DS -- available in blue and black. Can't wait!
Source: Toy Fair 2011: The Coolest Toys
I am very honoured and excited to announce I will be in this new Christmas movie which will be filmed here in Manitoba. Filming started today in Stonewall, and will have more filming here in Winnipeg at The Forks. This is the 7th movie that Beethoven has made. I do not know any more details at present but will post more news as it becomes available
Question: Which of the Macy’s Santas, who work in the NYC Macy’s Santaland, get to ride on Santa’s float for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
Answer: They all do, or at least invited to. But not as Santa Claus. One of the many costumed or uncostumed characters who ride on, or accompany, the World’s Most Famous Parade Float.
Changes in the Wind
This was to be my fourth year returning as a Macy’s Santa in the Downtown Pittsburgh Store. It was late October and I still wasn’t contacted about schedules or shifts. When I finally was contacted, I was surprised to find a whole lot of changes had occurred.
Gone was the photographer who had done it in this store with his family for over thirty years. Gone were the old Halco Majestic suits that had been worn. And gone was Santaland
This year, a company called Freeze Frame had taken over the business of Santa Claus for Macy’s. Freeze Frame is mostly known for shooting photographs of people as they ride thrill rides in various American amusement parks, usually caught in some terrifying pose as the roller coaster is about to descend in it’s death-defying drop.
Freeze Frame, a Florida company, made an offer that Macy’s couldn’t refuse. Freeze Frame would now completely control the Santaland photo operation in Macy’s stores in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Next year they will expand to San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.
The idea was to brand the “Macy’s Santa” image. You could go to any Macy’s in any part of the country and see the exact same Santa that appears in the infamous Herald Square store. Truth is, I don’t think any child (or average adult) sees the difference between a Macy’s Santa, Coca-Cola Santa or any other Santa. Santa wears a red suit with a fur trim and that’s that.
Freeze Frame was scrambling to get everything ready in time. Creative Costumes in NYC was contracted to manufacture Santa suits based on the Macy’s in-store Santa Suit. Real leather boots were ordered from Italy. Beard and wigsets, made of genuine yak, were ordered from Atelier-Bassi of Switzerland.
A” Macy’s Santa School” was quickly thrown together and presented to myself and the three other returning Santas. This was a 45 minute video shown on a laptop. School consisted of, 1) Taking care of the Macy’s Santa Beard and Wig, 2) Taking care of the Macy’s Santa Suit. And 3) Make-up. Oh yeah, and a quick how-to about getting kids on your lap, take the picture and get them off your lap in 45 seconds or less. This part of the video was absurdly demonstrated with Santa and an adult and I’ve never seen a Santa visit go that fast in my life. It became clear that this year was going to be less about a good customer experience and more about profit.
The Legendary Suit
The Macy’s Suit was made of wool and unlined. It consisted of a white, poet-style shirt, and wool overhauls with the straps sewn on that fastened on the front with buttons. This was made as a “one-size fits all” that the front buttons adjusted the length of the pants. The wool coat was comfortable and cool, but where the fur attached to the suit was exposed stitching and looked as if it were made in a hurry. The leather belt/harness was very loose-fitting. The tops of the straps were held onto the coat shoulders by the military-style espadrilles that had a snap button to hold things in place. A belly pad was optional; I didn’t need one. Leather wrist straps finished off the coat.
The worst thing about wearing this suit was the hat. It had four bells around the fur trim and the way that the hat sat, there was a bell directly above my left and right ear. Every time my head moved the bells would ring right in my ears. It made it difficult to hear what the kids were saying and the constant ringing in my ears gave me a headache. By the end of my shift, I could still hear those bells ringing long after I went home. I complained about it and nothing was done. After the third night, not being able to take it anymore, I got a screwdriver and when no one was looking, removed the ball bearing out of the two bells above my ears. No one noticed and nothing was ever said about it.
The fact that I had a real beard created a problem. I was asked to wear the yak beard over my own and I refused. Nothing against it, but there was no way that I could comfortably attach that beard and remove it without damaging my own beard that had been carefully colored and styled for the season. They had to send pictures of me with my beard to Macy’s officials to get approval. Macy’s approved and I was able to move forward. A long-standing good reputation surely helped. I was told that I had the only real beard in the system.
Now the Fun Begins...
Freeze Frame may know a lot about taking pictures but they didn’t know much about Santa. They viewed Santa as sort of a fixture to take pictures with. You could put anybody in that red suit (even a mannequin) as long as they got the picture (and the money). I was told more than once that I was taking too long with the kids and had to get the picture immediately.
A funny thing was happening. People were bringing their kids to see Santa and not buying the picture that was taken. What could be going wrong? After all, this was the famous Macy’s Santa, the same one who appears in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and who starred in the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street”. Advertised locally as being the one and only, real Santa Claus. They were scratching their heads, puzzled in amazement. Now was the time for Freeze Frame to learn a little bit about what Santa is all about.
Basic Santa 101
The main reason that parents take their children to see Santa Claus is to give the kids a good, Santa experience. If I’m doing my job right, those parents will relive their own childhood when they see that their kids having a good time, and they have that special glow in their eyes. When a good experience is created, a picture is naturally wanted. People bring their children to Macy’s expecting the best possible experience.
If I rush a little girl onto my lap who is even a tiny bit afraid of Santa, she will cry. If I spend a little bit of time, coupled with a little Santa magic, the child will willingly sit on my lap and smile. Also, parents will not buy a picture if their kids don’t look their best. It doesn’t matter how good Santa looks, the parents are only looking at their own child. Freeze Frame did not understand that.
Has Anyone Seen Santaland?
The fun of Santaland was gone, too. The old Santaland was on the 7th floor. There were reindeer, polar bears and other woodland creatures to look at while you were waiting in line. Santa’s throne room looked like a living room with his chair, other furniture and pictures & decorations on the wall. A nice, pleasant place, it was coupled with the Children’s Very Own Gift Shop and Macy’s Holiday Lane which was their selection of Christmas decorations.
The new “Santaland” was moved to the 1st floor. It consisted of Santa’s throne and one Christmas tree located between the escalator and the perfume counter. Besides the camera equipment and cash register, that was it. It had been determined that Santa on the first floor would be more visible and generate more sales. Once again money was put ahead of the customer and the only thing generated was complaints.
The season opened and the crowds were lining up to see Santa. If a typical visit to Santa is to last 45 seconds for one child, shouldn’t two children be a minute-and-a-half?
The “rush ‘em on your lap rush ‘em off” approach wasn’t working. Children were crying and parents weren’t buying pictures. What could be wrong?
Freeze Frame finally decided to listen to the Santas and the helpers who had been doing the job for years.
Return of “Miracle”
It’s true, there are some kids that will go through in 45 seconds without a hitch. I try to give each child a “good” visit with Santa. That means a little fun, a little laughter, and a smile on every face. Memories are being made. The children that are scared take a little more time. But when I see a scared face turn into a happy one I know I’ve done my job. Happy kids = happy parents and sales go with that. Also, my elves like to take a little time and make sure that hair is in place, dresses are straightened and hands are placed nicely on the lap before the picture is taken. All this makes for a “good” visit with Santa and people are happy.
“We’ll be known as the helpful store, the friendly store,... the store that places public service ahead of profits. And, consequently, we’ll make more profits than ever before.” -R.H. Macy from “Miracle on 34th Street”
This idea holds true today. Service sells. We even had a came up with a place where customers could put their coats and packages. Parents began buying pictures again, and Macy’s reputation for providing quality and service was intact.
I was glad when Freeze Frame decided to listen. It was like when the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day. Pittsburgh became the store with the highest amount of sales per customer visit in the country, and I started to like working for Freeze Frame after all.
I work a lot of private parties and events throughout the season, but I always have a soft spot in my heart for Macy’s and I keep coming back. It’s long hours and low pay and I use it mainly for the nights that I don’t have anything else planned. Since I became hooked on the original “Miracle on 34th Street”, I’ve always wanted to be Santa Claus for Macy’s.
With me, I’m proud to wear the Macy’s suit and enjoy the magic that comes with it.
Getting the Job
Freeze Frame now hires all of the Santas, Elves, Helpers and Photographers for the Macy’s stores across the country that have Santa Claus in them, including New York City. These stores are mostly old, downtown department stores that Macy’s have taken over the past few years and want to keep the local traditions intact. They typically advertise in the Help Wanted section of your local Craig’s List starting around October. They have called back a lot of people who have worked in previous years but always have an eye open for new possibilities.
They hire all races and ages but you must pass a drug test and a background check, which is done at their expense. In New York City, I’m told, they hire a lot of out-of-work actors looking for work for the season.
The pay is lower than what a mall Santa makes and it is preferred that you don’t have a real beard. There is no bonus for making quota. The schedule is very flexible and the job is usually shared between several Santas. It can be very demanding at times, but still can be fun. You will experience many different types of people, both children and adults, and you’ll form memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
If you have Santa in your heart and like making children happy, you’ll find the joy of working at Macy’s. I know I did.
Alfred C. Gilbert was a great toy maker. In fact, he is responsible for many of the classic toys of the early twentieth centuries, including the erector set and personal chemistry sets. He made everything from toy planes to toy trains and beyond. However, at the start of World War I all of this would change.
Gilbert's factory had been singled out to become a war munitions plant, a need that meant his Country before his beloved toys, a sacrifice made more dear as his own brother was drafted. His factory was soon modified and he began to make things like bullets, Colt pistols, gas maskes, and bayonets. He was miserable.
Not long after this, in the height of the Great War, the US War Department created a campaign that would tear at his heart. They wanted to postpone Christmas. "As the soldiers will have no Christmas," they said, "we too will sacrifice the same." Propaganda posters were soon hung up around the country with sayings like "Santa Claus Wants You To Give Up Christmas." But the worst for Gilbert were those that said he personally was asking boys and girls to give up toys. Coersed by his government contract he even spoke to other toy makers about this point and it was unanimously agreed that Christmas would not take place until after the war. Or would it?
Mr. Gilbert went to Washington. He lobbied at the War Department to reinstate Christmas. He explained that toys were a way to open the minds, hearts, and hopes of the generations and that now more than ever Christmas was needed. In fact, he amazed the politicians by explaining that it was his toys ysed by their department to create engineering plans and strategies. After a vote, Mr. Gilbert's point was carried home where his factory was back to the toy business. He was now serving his Country in another way, by bringing hope to the hopeless. He continued in this effort until his death in 1961.
A toy is a small thing to many, as Christmas to them is just another day. However, there is much more to both. The toy is a gift and a reminder of the hope that the Season brings, just as the day is a reminder of the Hope that was given to mankind long ago through a Baby in Bethlehem. Both have a way of stimulating the mind and the heart of an individual in seen and unseen ways. We are made better by both. May we live each and every day not only sharing the virtues of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men, but may we truly impart the wonder and the hope that it gives in all that we do, not only as Santas but as brothers and sisters in the human experience.
During a conversation with another Santa over the last year, the question was raised about whether or not children were changing with the times. This brought on some interesting discussion to say the least. At that time I truly doubted that children would ever totally change, and I affirmed that the simplest gifts would always be the most played with.
Then began the 2010 Season. I will admit that I was a bit discouraged when day after day I was asked for Ipads, Iphones, and other various and sundry electronics - some of which this Santa had never heard of. In fact, the more I listened I noticed that it was coming from children of all ages. I would have expected it from the pre-teens or beyond, but a four year old little boy? Very curious.
One night during a rather busy line-up, I was asked by a seven year old girl for one of these new fangled gizmos. I just had to ask her. "What is it about this new gadget that interests you?" I asked. "It does everything," she said and smiled. Then I rather jokingly said, "But what will you children think when we go back to wooden toys?" She shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
This put my mind to thinking that imagination was disappearing. I remember the Christmases of my youth and how all that the children ever asked for were toys that required this feature. Many was the time that my sister, my cousins and I would sit and use our imagination to play games for hours. We were residents of the "Imagine Nation" as Edmund Gwenn called it. But after my conversation with that young one (among all of the other gadget requests) I was beginning to think that kids had changed. They had no use for imagination or its fruits. If a toy can play with itself, then all the better.
Of course, I was stopped in my tracks come Christmas Eve. I have always spent that night of nights in my red suit. I had done some deliveries and had made my way to my family gathering. Of course, Uncle Ho Ho (as the nieces and nephews call me) had to hand out the presents. All of them had made out like bandits, and that was just from what their aunt, Michelle, and I had given them. Toys galore all over the living room. As the hours of Christmas Eve ticked away I sat in an easy chair with my nieces and nephews playing intently together. Then it happened. instead of the toys they so wanted for Christmas, the young ones had found something better to pass the time with. They had discovered the wrapping and the boxes.
New conclusion, the magic of childhood is here to stay. Children are always going to be the product of their times, ie in their wants and in their words and actions. However, deep down they will always be children. Though they might ask Mom and Dad (and Santa) for the gadget they saw on television or the one that their little friends are talking about, deep down they will always be children and have more fun with the boxes. That is why coloring books, modeling clay, dollies, and trains never go out of style. I would never wish it any other way, and as Santa I am proud to be a part of that magic. It is what makes all of us real in their eyes. May we adults relearn a few things from the children in our lives, and may we remember and never lose the magic.
Wow, 2010 has been an interesting year in the Santa Community. Drama after drama, with most being provoked over the smallest word or mistyped phrase. Then there are the national problems such as Celebrate Santa. Ego upon ego being trampled, and it doesn't stop. It does get nauseating.
What I want to take away from 2010 are the good things. Mrs. Claus and I had a wonderful Christmas Season to beat all else. Every smile that was created by seeing this Santa will be forever cherished. As a community, we saw the final signings of the wonderful Santa Claus Oath, which I was graciously allowed to be a part of as committee member. Those principles I still pledge to uphold. I wonder if others will. We had a wonderful, though small, gathering of Santas here in WV. What a great day. And throughout the year many friendships were made and are very cherished.
As I write this I am looking toward 2011. What can I do that will truly help me grow as a Santa and as a person of faith and character? This question has been rattling around with me since early this morning. My thought is this, love others. Is this not what Santa does? Is this not the lesson that Saint Nicholas learned from the life of Jesus that caused him to begin a ministry that we continue today? In doing so, we cannot ignore that even in our community there are those who are loveless or have forgotten what it means to show brotherly love, even after pledging it. Therefore I am welcoming and initiating a reconciliation in the spirit of Santa and beyond with those who have offended me or whom I have offended. I know it will take work, but in the interest of our Santa comunity I am willing to do it. My only prayer is that my effort will grow in the minds of others and that they too will do the same. Perhaps when we forgive and begin again to act as we should we can change things and bring finality and peace to problems. When we can act as men and go to one another in private with a grievance instead of using an open mike to tell everyone else too just maybe strife will end.
So, in short, I challenge everyone in this community to let go of past strife. Start clean. Be the Santa that is in you, 24/7/365. And this is something that we can do in costume and out. Just be Santa and may God bless you.
My second season was similar to last year's inaugural Santa Claus experience. My favorite client called again and arranged a booking that added another hour to the event. Again, I made an appearance at a non-profit toy giveaway to children and families in need. And I added a new client who booked me at an apartment complex Christmas party.
Again, I made just a handful of appearances, and this was alright, given the unusual year that has been 2010. In the Spring, I guided my small, mostly elderly congregation into closing the doors after 50+ years of ministry (I'd been there for the final 6 years of it's life). My marriage of 19 years officially came to an end. And for a while I found myself in the growing number of jobless people in this country. There is nothing worse than getting to a place where you wonder where you're going to live, how you're going to afford a tank of gas, and whether or not it's time to visit a food bank.
But the late summer and fall brought good changes. I took a position working in campus ministry, albeit in a part-time capacity. I moved to a better part of the metro Denver area, and I found a special companionship I didn't think possible. This fall, life took on a new sense of normal that was pretty good. But I'd let Santa Claus drop off my radar screen.
Santa sort of snuck up on me this year, but I'm glad he did. The season got brighter and much more exciting. I added some boots to the ensemble this year, retiring the spats. I played around with spirit gum to better fix the beard to my face. I picked up a nicer Santa possibles bag to better carry my stuff to and from events. And I began again to look at the possibilities offered by this still-new experience of bringing the magic of Santa Claus to children and families.
I'm getting cues that tell me I need to take some additional steps down the Santa road this offseason. I've been contacted by a group, Society of Santas, and have been invited to their January meeting. I'm starting to look at making bigger investments in the costume, especially paying attention to upgrading the whiskers. I may sign up for the Santa school in California, though I've been told there is a very good mentor in the area who could help me.
I've not been on ClausNET much this past year, but I've really enjoyed reading the Gazette, and have enjoyed the posts and forums I find here. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute more to this good community as I continue this amazing journey down Santa Claus Lane.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Well so far so good. I have had 2 "jobs" as Santa, both volunteer. i did recieve my new mustaches that i ordered. They really look Great. when i get new pics taken i will have to post them. one question though... When i wear them, they are really itching to my nose.. i dont really want to trim them because they look great and blen in real well with my beard. is there any little tricks out there that i can do to stop or least little the itch...please let me know
thanks guys and heres to a great season
Well after 7 months of marriage, my wife is expecting a new baby!!!YEA!!! I have a 4 year old step son, i came into his life at a year and a half, so i missed the baby stuff. So i am super excited to be in on the whold thing. even if pregnacy sometimes is not so fun to be ajacent to. The due date is July 12th... five days after my brithday.
Well, after looking at some of the blogs and forums, i talked my wife into letting me buy two new laceys 007 mustaches...YEA!!!! i so hope that they blend in well with my synthectic beard... i soooo hope so.. anyway when i get new pics this year i will have to post them in my gallery. Less than a week for me now until we open the castle in stormlake. Its no Santa claus indiana, or anything too big , but its sweet and a big tradition here, so if any of you guys ever get to my neck of the woods, check it out.. and tell them Steve sent you!
Well after a fall of being spoiled. We have our first major snowfall here in Nothwest Iowa. It looks like the North Pole out there. A few towns are even wthout electricity. And ofcourse some businesses are closed. Of course not where i work. I think it would be easier if i did have a real flying sleigh. IT would be alot easier to travel.. and think of the money i would save on gas...Of coure there would be the cost of buying special feed for the flying reindeer!
Winter is upon us!!!
Hello there fellow kringles. We are all probably alittle anxious for a new season. I did something tonight that gave me a mini heart attack. As i have said before i am making some improvements to my look. So i cut the mustache off of my set. Keep in mind that it is old. So i was trimming it and i cut alittle far.Heart attack time to the nth degree. So thankfully i know how to basic sew. so i took a thin thread and stiched it together.Save!!! It is in need of some more styling. i have wet it and sprayed with a little wig spray and curled alittle. I was wondering if there was a better way to get that great curl and shape with out much trouble. it is synthetic and like i said kinda old...as always any advice would be very much appreciated. i can not wait until i get older and hopefully,like my grandfather, be a naturally bearded santa!
The beard and wig st i have is really old and really good. I have seperated the mustache and beard, and styled the beard. I do have facial hair and have shaved off my mustache.I was wondering if spirit gum will do what i want it too. Any tips on it please let me know, maybe if i get some new pictures this year.
Looking at all your pictures, I am begining to wonder where you guys get those gorgeous suits. i had min homemade out of velvet, it is pretty standard, but looking at those kingly suits i am seriously wanting one. Are they specialy made for you guys or did your order them. any idea where i can get the patterns?
I have been playing sants for about three years. most of the time it has been for nurisng homes and family gatherings, and ofcourse some volunteer stuff.
but as more and more people find out that i play santa i get busier and busier, so i was wondering what i reasobale fee would be to charge for my performances. i dont want to over charge but i also dont what to under sell myself and the profession as a whole. any thoughts would be helpful.
This week we reached a major milestone on ClausNet.com. On October 21, 2010 we welcomed our 1,000th member to our community. Now you may not think this is such a big deal, but consider the fact that unlike other online communities, I personally approve each and every request to become a registered member.
When I launched ClausNet.com, I had just returned from my first time attending theCharles W. Howard Santa Claus School, in Midland Michigan. As a first time student to the school, I was struck be the comrade and the overwhelming feeling of being part of this community. I so much enjoyed my time at the school, that I felt I needed to give something back. So as a Christmas gift to the Dean and his wife, I created a new website that year for the school.
But just building a new website for the school didn't seem quite enough for some reason. I wanted to give back even more. So I started researching how I could build an virtual community online, that would replicate in some way the fellowship that had I felt at while the school. At the time there were a few Yahoo and MSN group "Santa" sites where fellow Kringles could exchange emails. These sites were essentially bulk email mailing lists and I realized early on that threaded mass emails with attachments was not the way to go.
A big part of the CWH school is meeting others and learning from them; exchanging ideas, and improving your Santa Claus persona. I knew early on that ClausNet would have to be much more than these group sites. It had to be a "destination"; a place that you wanted to check in often; a place where you could "meet" and discuss ideas. It had to be a community.
In my career as a marketeer, I have created and managed several customer focused user groups, online forums, company blogs, and social media sites. All of these things have something in common -- people with a common interest -- and THAT is what ClausNet is -- a community of men and women dedicated to the faithful the portrayal of the legend of Santa Claus and who devote their time to bringing joy to children of all ages.
Thank you all for being part of this experience!
I had something happen today that is way past just strange. A father whose family I investigated, and found that he was molesting his children and abusing his wife, walked up to me and said that he would never again be with his family because of it. He said his wife is divorcing him and she is soon to regain custody of the children, in large part because she has excluded him from her life. He was not belligerent or threatening, just filled with hate, I suppose, and wanted me to know how I had ruined his life. This is the very sort of man that is the only sort for which I find nothing in myself but enmity. I so wanted to offer to escort him outside for a "tune up". As these thoughts raced through my mind, I was locked in to his eyes. I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to give him back some taste of the pain he has put into the world. Then I saw it. Not fear. Genuine anguish, he was anguished over the consequences of his actions. Suddenly, my straining to not act out in violent retribution, had turned into a teachable moment. I had him at an instant of time wherein he was vulnerable. I told him the story of the adulterous woman and Jesus saying to her, "Go thy way and sin no more." I pointed out that Jesus didn't say to her to right all her wrongs. He said "Sin no more." I told him that his first priority is to resolve never to touch another child, another woman, never to put a hand ever again to anyone to use them without regard for them first and foremost. Then to execute that resolve, every day with every one. Only that is repentance. I told him that in repentance is forgiveness. If he repents of his sin, he is forgiven, even by himself. I told him that whether he is a Christian or not, the principle is the same. Take it out of religion and it is just the idea that to be truly sorry, is not simply to wish it didn't happen, because you can't change the past. To be truly sorry is to make sure it never happens again. If you make sure it never happens again, one day you will realize you are not the same man that did those horrible things, you have made yourself over into someone else. Someone, not any longer guilty, but rather someone forgiven his past. Maybe not by your ex-wife or your children, but forgiven none the less.
For those who feel they are at some level acquainted with me through this website, and wonder why my response to prayer requests are usually very slight, I offer the following explanation of my personal feelings. I read a book, decades ago now, "This Way For the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen" written by a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp. He was not a Jew, but he served in a workgang with two learned Polish Rabbis. For many months he heard their endless theological discussion and their many prayers regarding the Nazi's "Final Solution" of the "Jewish question". Then one day, both of them went up the chimney at the Crematorium. I do not recommend the book to anyone not prepared to have their beliefs changed. I assure you, it will change your thinking. I was required to read it as part of my University class regarding the problem of evil and suffering. So, what do I now believe about prayer? I believe it is at worst harmless. I believe it brings many a great deal of comfort. I believe God hears them all, Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, He hears them all. If he regards them differently one from another depending on the conception of the praying person, I'll have to ask that some later time, because I see no present reason to think so. Don't get me wrong, Osama praying for destruction and mayhem, is different than my praying that Osama learn tolerance and forgiveness, but that Osama calls out to Allah, while I call to Yahweh is not a matter of any real import. What is important here though, is that just as surely as I am free to hope, even work for Osama to come to some less violent outlook. Just as sure as that, is Osama's freedom to burn down thousands of people in a senseless act of mindless violence. God will not stop Osama from his evil intent. He did not stop Adolph Hitler. He did not stop Pol Pot. He did not stop Joseph Stalin. He will not intervene. We are God's instruments on this Earth. Not some mystical hand...US! We are charged to be Christ in every way, to every one, all the time. Impossible to fulfill. but look to the ends of your arms and you will see the Hand of God. If He is to have a hand, you will have to lend it. I have heard the testimony of an eyewitness who watched while two of God's most devoted servants, were cruelly worked nigh unto death, then reduced to ashes. Their prayers did not fall on deaf ears, but for God to stop the Holocaust would have meant to deny an unspeakable evil be permitted to the Nazis. It is you and I and what we DO. By all means pray for the betterment of your fellows and circumstances, but hope for nothing if you will not seek to work out the realization of your prayer.
As we all are aware, the Christmas season is fast approaching and it would be nice if the people in your area knew that you existed as Santa. Advertising our Santa services can sometimes be a hit or miss proposition whether we use the internet resources or the sometimes costly print or television media. I have discovered, certainly not on my own, a great source of free advertising that exists in most major television markets around the country. The TV stations created what most of them refer to as the "A LIST" of local businesses who consider themselves as the best business in a particular category. The businesses then recruit their clientel to vote for them as the best. The results are then listed, by the TV station, as a recomendation to the public to use these businesses. Basically, you can get some incredible free advertising by ending up in first place in a particular category. What makes this really unique is that you do not have to live in the city of the business to vote for that business. We have had businesses across the country that have voted for us and we have voted for them so that it helps both businesses in different markets. Santa Claus and Company is listed in the "theatrical group" category in the Denver market so that any Santa can go to the Denver Channels "A LIST" and cast a vote for us and we can go and vote for a Santa at their home TV station. Kind of cool being able to help others from a long distance. To see how this works follow this link http://ctvr.us/santaclaus and go through the voting registration and cast your vote if you so choose and then look for your local TV "A LIST" and the post your link in the response section of this blog.
Boy, I didn't realize how long it has been since I have written a blog entry here. Well, things have been rather busy, and it seems that are beginning to again for this year. However, as I have been busy doing various things my wife, Michelle, had me cleaning out a closet here in my workshop. I came across a real treasure there. In a frame that I had forgotten about was a photo of my first "real" outing as Santa Claus. I was flooded with memories. I have included it in my gallery for you to see.
It was the Christmas of 1983, and I was in the first grade. Mrs. Hudson, my teacher, had asked for volunteers to be in our Christmas pageant in front of the whole school. As she announced the roles, and then announced the role of Santa, my hand shot up like a rocket. Looking back now it seemed that it was meant to be. The feeling I received from being allowed to be Santa was as if an unseen torch was placed into my hand. And I was on top of the world, literally.
My mother, a PTO/homeroom mother, had heard of my responsibility and set away that very evening making me a Santa suit. Out of some red material she fashioned a pull over coat and a hat. On both the coat and hat all borders were lined with white cotton balls. The jacket also received three large white felt circles to represent buttons. Then came the coton ball beard. I also had red sweat pants and one of Mom's large buckled black belts that were in early 1980s fashion. It was the most beautiful thing this kid had seen, and in my mind I would have to compare it to my Santa and Co suit of today. I wore that beard and hat until the beard wore out and a new one was bought by my father at a local five and dime, as they had children's religious pageant costumes and a wise man's white beard. But while wearing the original beard and my hat and red suspenders, Mom managed to take a picture of me in my chair holding to the best of my ability my new born sister, Amy, on my lap. It was her first Christmas and I was her first Santa. What a memory.
I had no speaking lines at all in the pageant. The scene was set that all the little children were to be asleep in their bed with their covers up and around them. As my class mates played "sleep" I was to quietly enter the scene as a chorus of sixth graders sang "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas." I was to walk up to the Christmas tree and then kneel down and emplty my large sack of toys. Then, as the chorus began "Up On The Housetop" I was to waive at everyone and leave the stage, all in silence. That was how it was supposed to go. As soon as the chorus finished their second song I exclaimed as loud as I could the words I have used as Santa ever since, "Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!" There was a large applaud and a giggle and smile from both Mom and my teacher.
That was how it began for me. From there I went on to portray Santa for family and friends and for school each Christmas. I would star in two more pageants in the role as well. I acquired a nicer homemade suit from Mrs. Conn, my fourth grade teacher. Then when I was a teenager a Walmart suit, and then when Michelle and I were married a Corduroy suit. Then up, up, up, from there. I have been given the privilege to be Santa for many children and in many venues over these long years from schools to homes to malls to parades to festivals and parties. So many memories from all of them. This year will make my 27th Christmas Season as Santa Claus. I wonder what new adventures I will encounter and share with you. In all, I was just blessed to be a part of it and to be able to be in so many people's Christmas memories.
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