Jump to content

Santa Johnathan's Blog

Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    16
  • comments
    35
  • views
    19,341

About this blog

Comments, Observations, and Overall Sentiments with Portraying Santa Claus.

Entries in this blog

 

A Lesson in Storytelling

A Lesson in Storytelling: I have long collected history and story books on Christmas and Santa Claus. While this collection started out just for pure enjoyment, I now find these books a great resource to me in my portrayal.  I was reminded on a recent family road trip of a very special book, after enjoying the audio version with the family. “Letters From Father Christmas” This is a collection of illustrated letters from “Father Christmas” recapping the activities of the preceding year at the North Pole. The letters were written by the author J.R.R. Tolkien (yes THAT J.R.R. Tolkien) to his children from 1920-1942. These letters, precious and creative gifts from a master storyteller, were shared with the world after his death and published in 1976. How lucky we are as a community, to have been gifted with a look at these special and person family treasures.   Many historians believe that these letters and stories were some of the building blocks to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It’s even said that Gandalf had his early beginnings as Tolkien’s Father Christmas.  I highly recommend you purchase a copy of these letters and even pick up the audio version. While I am not saying to copy the stories in your portrayal, it has always been clear that Tolkien created his worlds...he fleshed them out.  From the battle of the goblins and elves, to the troubles of the polar bears, to the Arctic language and more, Tolkien helped make the North Pole and Father Christmas REAL for his own children. From his drawing to even the shakiness of his handwriting, he created layers of story.  I believe this is what can be done, in our mind, at the ready, create your layers and depth of your character. It has been said, looking the part just is not enough. When I am portraying Santa Claus, it is my hope that my ramblings and details could only mean one thing to those I visit...that perhaps, just maybe... I really am Santa Claus. 🎅🏻  
 

Lessons Learned In the Bonsai Garden...

There are quite a few charities that I love to work with, mostly involving children’s advocacy and care, music, and education. I find that as we find ways to help within our communities, we are gifted with opportunities to grow, to touch other people’s lives, and truly make a difference. I find at times that I may be grumpy, depressed, or negative, finding ways to serve others is a great medicine. One of my favorite volunteer positions is as a curator and docent for one of the more important bonsai gardens in the US, the Lake Merritt Bonsai Garden.  The tree next to me in the picture is just one of the more than 200 amazing trees on display. A black pine that was on display at the 1915 Pan-Pacific World Fair of San Francisco. At the time it was a 300 year old famous bonsai tree and a true novelty to see here. Now, over 400 years old, it’s a special treat to care for this tree and see it stays healthy for future generations. This is one of my decompressing activities to relax and think. Recently during a day in the garden volunteering with my son, I took an oppotunity to reflect on things. Our life is but a short moment, are we leaving something positive behind when the time comes to pass from our mortal life? Have we helped brighten someone else’s life? Made a difficult time easier for someone? Supported a good cause? I think all of us can do SO much.  There is a phrase used often at the garden, “Wabi-Sabi” it’s a Japanese concept seen in art and ascetics that could apply to us in the Santa world too. It means, “Nothing is perfect, nothing is permanent, nothing is finished.” I apply this to how I portray Santa, it can be applied anywhere. From purposely placing a patch on Santa’s bag or other item to make it look real, used, loved, like it’s so old it has been repaired. It could also mean an internal dialog in recognizing, “I am never done learning, I am never done finding ways to be better...always a student.” Sorry for the long post. As I enjoy the peace and quiet of the garden, wearing my ISC Denver shirt and yet again, my mind goes to Santa Claus and the Christmas community. I love my time here and I love spending time with my son learning. Have an amazing day everyone! Make someone smile today, tell someone they are loved, and find ways to make a difference. Love you all. Johnathan  
 

When Is It Enough!?

This will be my 11th year portraying Santa Claus with any real determination and focus. In that time, I have grown (figuratively and literally!) to not only respect the opportunity that I have in the suit, but to cherish the time I have in the suit. We have all heard it said, "you never really can understand until you are in the suit" and I can attest to that. It's an amazing rollercoaster and you never can expect what's around the corner as I, like most, have been thrown a few curveballs here and there.  This season is almost 100% booked and while it's not only going to be busy, I am adding a new wardrobe, new belt and buckle, new boots, new items for my Santa show, new giveaways, and a new custom ornament based on my mailbox design for special visits. Not replacements, just additions. Will all of these new things make me a better Santa? The obvious answer is, "NO."  When I was in high school, I was hired by a family friend to work as a roofer. I would learn to spot repairs that were needed, reroof a house, and treat wood shake. One thing that I was not prepared for was the experiences and lessons I would learn from this trusted father figure in my life. He has now since passed away but recently I heard his words ringing in my head and I thought I would share... Mr. Brown had one of the biggest roofing companies in our area with one major competitor, a newer business that seemed to be everywhere. While our company had two older tiny little pickups and modest equipment, the competitor was seen around town with a full size truck fleet, brand new equipment, and trailers with their logos everywhere. I remeber one afternoon while on a roof with him, one of those shiny big trucks drove by and the driver honked and waived. As they drove off, I made a comment about how we should get a truck like that. His response was, "Why?" He explained, "Can we not do everything our job entails and to the best quality standard? His company has been around for five years and in that time, would you like to know how many customers have come to us because they were not happy? While they were out buying stuff in their first year of business, in my first year, I was walking door to door, and doing the best possible job I could do, treating every customer like they were my first but that they could be my last. "I have never seen a need for the shiny and new because what I have gets the job done and leaves my customers happy."   It was a year or two after that conversation that the competitor filed for bankruptcy and was gone. Mr. Brown kept going until he decided to sell the business and retire. I found myself, while I sent off another payment for something new and shiny, Mr. Brown's word enter my mind. Now, what's the point of the story? I'm not going to tell you to stop buying things because, let's face it, new and shiny is pretty fun sometimes, but...time, effort, and training will always come out as the victor in our Santa portrayal. I am fortunate to not be in an area that is saturated by Santas. I have more than enough work in my area and I'm certainly not competing with other Santas. Time and effort is always spent on the "stuff" for the coming season but are we taking time to prepare our minds and hearts?  May each of us not forget or lose sight of the fact that our inner Santa, our knowlege, our heart, our experience, must ALWAYS come first in our seasonal preparations...each and every child needs this to be our focus. The new shiny buckle, suit, or boots will NOT make you a better Santa. What is on the outside is not what makes you Santa. We have an amazing opportunity coming soon. We will put on a suit and create lasting memories for those we visit. Be your best, study, read, ponder how to be your best. That's my focus for this season. Finding ways I can be better.  Thank you Santas! I am grateful for this community and for the sharing that takes place here. I cannot imagine portraying Santa isolated, not being able to share or learn from each others experiences. I am grateful for you and I can certainly say there are some giants and mentors here that I respect immensely...keep sharing!     

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Light at the End of the Tunnel...We Need a Little Christmas! When I fell in mid November, I had no idea that it would be over four month before I was truly walking again. Now, while I've already written a few times on the subject, I'm happy to say that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! This week the staples were removed from my final surgery that took place two weeks ago and I will transition into regular shoes by the end of April. Now, this might sound funny but having MATCHING shoes, for me, is going to be a very exciting time. I've gone from braces, to casts, to walking boots, and now a walking shoe. Just having a nice pair of matching tennis shoes is going to be a CELEBRATION! I'm also looking forward to building back muscle and having a fully functional body to get to the gym and exercise. It's amazing how tiny my whole leg is now in comparison to the other. Yesterday, as I was scheduled out the next few weeks and reviewing my calendar for work, a song popped into my head. It was Angela Lansbury singing "We Need a Little Christmas" from the musical "Mame." I just smiled as I thought about the song...I need a little Christmas. It's truly amazing what the Christmas season brings and the feelings that come with the sounds of the season. I'm excited and looking forward to a wonderful Christmas this year and wishing you all an amazing year as well. A giant thank you to my Clausnet family and all the support you have given me.

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

I Spoke With THE Perfect Santa!..WHAT!?

I Spoke With THE Perfect Santa!..WHAT!? by Santa Johnathan So, I will apologize to you, my fine Clausnet friends, right off the bat...this might not be the best reading as I'm just going to throw my thoughts into this blog as they come and I might ramble. If you are able to make sense of it all...well, BRAVI! Now, I am always grateful for the opportunity to speak with fellow Santas, it's really a fun experience. However, one such conversation this week had me rather at a loss for words. This individual will more than likely read this blog post, and I can only hope it will act as a sort of wake-up call or perhaps we can name this an Inter-Santa-vention. Ho, Ho, Ho! While speaking to this Santa on this past season, lessons learned, and a few things I'm working on to improve my "Santa" for this coming season, he commented on his own journey and where he is at this moment. As best I can from memory, these were a few of his words, "I've pretty much seen it all, learned it all, and am confident in my portrayal...this old dog doesn't have any more tricks to learn." The phone conversation ended shortly after this statement and I was left speechless...almost. What just happened!? Did I actually speak to THE worlds one and only PERFECT Santa!? ...no. I'm a true believer that we can all bring something to the table, whether this is your 1st season or your 30th season, I believe everyone has something we can appreciate and learn from. We are all at different points on the map of our "Santa journey." While I agree that there MUST be a great amount of confidence within ourselves to portray Santa correctly, we CANNOT find ourselves at a point to say there is nothing more to learn. We can all put the "teacher" hat on at times, but every great teacher I have ever met, was just as quick to put the "student" hat on too. I would think that if you find yourself in a place where you don't want to learn any more, or think you can't, then perhaps it's just not that important to you. I think we have all seen those individuals, even on Clausnet, some are here for the social fun, some are here to learn and study, some are here just for just the networking, and some unfortunately are here just for the marketing with little participation...we are the "Santa demographic" in their sales projections. I cannot lose sleep over another Santa thinking they are perfect, but I can assure you, none of us are there. I know this blog post has been a giant soapbox, I'm sorry. I have a great deal of respect for the Santa I spoke with, I have a great deal I can learn from this individual, but he certainly is not a perfect Santa. I get excited when I learn something new, I get excited when I've figured out a better way to do something. While someone might find themselves in a delusional state thinking they have learned all there is to portraying Santa, I would just say...you are missing a great amount of joy in your life in this frame of mind. Don't let your ego get in the way of being an amazing Santa Claus...we can all learn to be great, but we all must never forget to keep learning. ##END OF RANT##

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

My Santa Inspiration: A Look Art by Santa Johnathan

My Santa Inspiration: A Look at Art by Santa Johnathan As those portraying Santa Claus, we are able to express so much through our personal choices in that portrayal. Our Santas vary in personality, demeanor, and appearance by quite a bit. Now, these choices happen as a result of many things; our own imaginations, our childhood memories, books, poems, fellow Santas, films, and so much more. Today, I wanted to review where I personally have found much inspiration in my portrayal, and that's ARTWORK. Speaking of the the American Santa Claus, what we might say is the base foundation of Santa Claus has evolved as artists placed their own personal touches and choices within their art. Some artists can be attributed with much of what that "foundation" is...while others have taken that foundation and added upon that. Either way, I wanted to share with you, those artists that have made a difference for me...pretty much all of my favorites; historic and contemporary. ...a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment, it must be St. Nick. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of Toys he hand flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack. His eyes- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly! He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself! While we have these iconic words found in Clement C. Moore's famous 1822 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," it was artists who shaped from those words and their imaginations, what we know today. While I would love to go into detail on the history of each artist, this is really an opportunity to share my favorites and those that have made a difference for me. While some of you might have stumbled into portraying Santa and just thrown on the suit, some or all of these images might be new to you. My hope is that you can find some inspiration here too in creating YOUR Santa...inside and out. So, let's begin! Thomas Nast has been credited with making the first real dent in the image of the American Santa. You can see many changes in the time of his work. From clothing to size...Santa begins to really take shape with many elements of the image of Santa still around today. From the look of his face/beard, his big belt, even the fur rimmed hat...we truly begin to see Santa. Now, I'm a collector at heart and finally finished a full set of original Thomas Nast prints this past year featuring Santa Claus. His work has and will continue living on for the ages. Thomas Nast (1840-1902) Now, this is quite a big jump in years, as American illustrators after Nast were creating all kinds of artwork that focused on Santa. My next favorite though would have to be J.C. Leyendecker. He was certainly WAY before his time and many actually see his work and first think perhaps it's from Norman Rockwell. He has a sense of warmth that I LOVE in his work and he is one of my very favorites. As with most of my favorites, these images are rich with detail and keep the eye moving. Just look at that little boy...don't you just want to pinch his cheek! J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951) We could not go into any kind of look at the history Santa art without featuring the work of Haddon Sundblom. His work on the image of Santa for the Coca-Cola Company is truly iconic. While drawing from past artists, Sundblom added his own touches that can still be seen in how many professionals choose to portray Santa Claus to this day. While many, I believe give too much credit to Haddon and the image of Santa, his work and the driving force of the Coca-Cola Company brought the image to the masses. Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976) Next on the list is a family favorite, Norman Rockwell. I grew up with the art of Norman Rockwell, as he was my grandmother's favorite artist. They would actually write back and forth and her home not only had many of his prints but also a few personal sketches of his as well that he sent to her. Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) The next artist worked primarily as a book illustrator and became a favorite of mine on his 1940's-50's work of Santa's surrounding. There is so much detail here, this is something I really look for. George Hinke Moving into what I would call "contemporary Santa Claus art", we start things off with a brilliant artist, Scott Gustafson. His work is truly beautiful and I find it quite inspiring with his rich but soft details. Scott Gustafson Moving on to another favorite, this next artist has truly brought not only beautiful imagery to Santa Claus, but also creates rich and magical environments. There is more of a classic feel in style to his work in color and tone...but certainly with a magical touch of contemporary illustration. Dean Morrissey The next artist is probably the most successful contemporary artist today when it comes to the image of Santa Claus, Tom Browning. I've had the opportunity to visit with Tom on a few occasions and his work is quite fun and can be seen in almost any store you enter during the holidays with his work found in greeting cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, and more. Tom Browning The next artist is Myles Pinkney and he is yet another favorite on my list. His mixed media approach to art creates quite a unique look and his styles is saturated with details. You will also notice, out of all of these artists, Myles' work had the biggest impact on my own suit design. Myles works focuses on many fantasy subjects, like fairies, dragons, steampunk genre, and Santa Claus. His Santa work for me certainly stands out. Myles Pinkney As a performing and visual artist, I love to step into these paintings and illustrations. There is just SO much there to experience. I also like to look at these paintings and image, how would this particular Santa move, act, speak, what's going on in the background, etc. Not only have I used art as a way of inspiring my portrayal, I've also used art in my portrayal. A concept that I began this past year was to create a unique and special card to say "thank you" to my clients. In this card, I wanted to have an illustration or painting that depicted not any Santa but my personal portrayal as Santa, offering clients a glimpse of their Santa in the middle of doing something they would never actually see me doing. I'm not sure that makes sense but the feedback I got was overwhelming. The cards are handmade by a professional card maker and feature the print of the years painting/illustration, as well as artist information and my own wishes for them. Here is a peak at last years painting that was used. This brings me to my last artist I wanted to feature in this blog posting today. I first stumbled upon his work a few years ago and fell in love with his unique style. A rich a creative look with a slight twist, I love the detail rich images and the hand drawn feel. Robb is another artist I've been able to visit and he has been commissioned to create the 2014 season's image and I am excited at what we will come up with this year. Robb Mommaerts My fellow Clausnet friends, I hope, regardless of where you find it, that you find inspiration in how to portray Santa. It certainly is not a cookie-cutter goal but finding how to put your own special touches and feelings into your portrayal. Fine tuning your inner character, and then moving to your outward appearance is exciting. I wish you all the best in how you choose to portray Santa Claus and that we all continue to grow, learn, and improve. I pray that the families and children we come into contact with will feel that they have spent a bit of time with THE Santa Claus.

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

Santa Arrived!

During the season, it doesn't take long for us all to see the magic that exists when portraying Santa. There are so many experiences that take place with families, particularly children, that can put a smile on your face; a tear in your eye, and joy in your heart...all in the same moment. While I'm certain there are a few Santas that focus solely on money and trying to get ahead on the business side of things, pushing those around them aside. I'm fairly confident that most still put the needs and dreams of children first, regardless of if there might be financial gain or not. This Christmas morning, I was not Santa...I was a father, and proof was left of Santa's visit to our home without my help at all. My two young children popped out of bed early and ran in to wake their mother and I. There excitement could be heard in their voices and seen clearly on their faces...Santa had come, Santa had made the journey, to bring them something special, just for them...and they were both on cloud nine. While it truly is wonderful to be a part of so many families lives and play even a very small part in their own Christmas celebrations...this obviously was different, the magic of Santa was there for my own children, and I was once again a spectator and not a participant. Now, I've mentioned this before...I'm a giant baby. When I see my own children enjoying the magic of Christmas morning...I can't help but have tears in my eyes. These are the moments, and I am under no illusion in knowing, these years will quickly pass by. Both children seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds this year and I couldn't help but review in my own mind, "was I an active participant?..or did I take a back seat?" This Christmas was like no other with my broken foot. With strict orders from the doctor to keep my "toes to my noes" to keep my foot from swelling, staying in bed; my amazing wife was pretty much in charge of all things Christmas. Being a season that was largely my job to prepare for, I was always the one that did the bulk of the preparations. My wife, my friend and hero, did the shopping, did the decorating, and even dragged the 8 foot tree into the house. This year, my wife was Santa for all of us. She did the shopping, she did the wrapping, she did the decorating, she made it all work and I am so grateful. Christmas was wonderful, the gifts were amazing, the food was fantastic, but more importantly, we were also celebrating the "reason for the season" too. We have a tradition in our family, that while our beautiful porcelain nativity comes out with all of our Christmas decorations, finding a place of importance on top of one of the grand pianos; the baby Jesus is not set in the nativity scene yet. "Santa" places the baby within the nativity when he comes to visit to celebrate His birth. This is the first thing we ask the children to check, is Jesus in the manger? After this, we move to the stocking and gifts under the tree. We treat Santa, the gift giver, as a special symbol of the love of Christ for us all...giving us all gifts seen and unseen. As my five year old said this year, "Jesus must love us so very much if he's giving US presents on HIS birthday!" ...yes, he loves us more than we can comprehend. Christmas was an extra special one this year. I was truly just a spectator and participated in very little in all the preparations of the day. I did what I could, but my wife was my Santa this year, and she worked so very hard to make this an amazing year for us all. Is Santa real? Very much so. I've never met the one and only, but I've seen his mark on the hearts of many. I've seen the magic of Santa Claus many times, and I've seen the beauty that comes from children believing and us all letting our imaginations and hearts dance together. I truly hope, with all of my heart, that Santa visited your homes, that he touched your lives and hearts, and that the season was so much more than just a job. I hope and pray that each of you had an amazing Christmas, that you continue enjoying the season, and wish you all an amazing and happy New Year!

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

A Failed Season...Full of Success.

For me the 2013 Season began in it's planning stages in 2012 like most. Brainstorming all the things I would add and do to improve my portrayal for the upcoming year's Christmas season. December 26, 2012, I would begin the long process of growing a new season's beard, complete with a massive amount of hair care products and supplements for a healthier and stronger beard to survive the harsh process of turning my young beard into a more Kringle worthy look. As the season quickly approached, there were props and additions large and small that were added. A packed schedule with more events being scheduled daily, parades, schools, hospitals, tree lightings, and more! There was even my Santa Claus concert; which required a myriad of additional planning and resources. There was no way to know what was coming up in my future... November had arrived, the beard was looking good and the schedule was now packed. Mid November, on a brisk morning walking to my classroom to direct my children's chorus, and carrying their newly arrived tshirts, I took a fall that would change everything. I knew something terrible had happened but it would be another week before I'd discover I was out for the count. Having suffered a fracture and obliterating the tendons in my right foot, there would be two surgeries to try and correct the issues caused by my swan dive. There is projected a total of two to three months before I will start to walk again. And my foot is currently littered with screws and plates that will cause any TSA agent a little apprehension. So, I will not lie, I will not hide it...I was angry...REALLY angry. I probably spend 20-30 hours each week volunteering my time to others, I'm involved on numerous boards in the community, I support various charities, and more. I'm not boasting...I'm just saying, I'm one of the good guys, and I was angry. My anger initially was directed at myself, angry for not having paid more attention, angry that I was the cause of such a massive amount of stress. My anger then turned to God, why did I have to deal with this!? Why did I have to be tested in this way!? It just wasn't fair! My internal child-like tantrum did not last long, it was probably needed, as this was a growing opportunity. I was given a few moments of clarity in my life, and learned of a few trials going on in friends lives that had me feeling guilty for my outburst. Why was I going through this all? Well, because I had something to learn, something to experience, perhaps an example to set, and in the end...because I'd be just fine and stronger in the end. It was devastating making those calls to cancel my appearances. With each one, I wanted to just cry. It wasn't too bad with my corporate events, but when I had to tell families, and hospitals I wouldn't be able to make it...I could hear there sadness and it broke my heart. I had visits planned for children on hospice, I had numerous charity events, I had the preemies at the Children's Hospitals...all cancelled, special visits that Santa would not make. Despite two days out of surgery, I managed to get through my Santa show, performing through the haze of heavy pain killers. I truly don't remember that much of the show but everyone loved it, I just knew...it was NOT the show I had planned and look forward to being at 100% next year. That being said, I was able to reach out to a young girl who left me a touching letter and I felt I made a difference for her. I was able to return with a few adjustments to the America's Children's Holiday Parade. It was an event that I really was able to enjoy in the moment. They were kind enough to put together a new sleigh that I could get in with my broken foot and we made a cast cover that closely matched my Santa boots. My other events that I was able to manage were charity, a pancake breakfast, and a few schools...all a bit different because I lacked the ability to walk around and mingle. Last night I had two of my last opportunities for the season. I had donated a "Santa visit" for charity last Spring and the local Vice Mayor won the opportunity. While I had planned to visit his home, we were able to arrange him to come to my house. He brought his sweet son, a young man with autism to visit. I had many things memorized and at the ready from his teacher and dog's name, to his favorite toys. I was told he would not want to be close to me and that I would not be able to understand him. It took a few minutes, trying a few different things to interact with him with my experience with autistic children...he soon was in my lap, and cuddling with Santa. He wanted to be held, he wanted to hold my hand, and hug me. We had a conversation, and while the parents were there to translate, I understood his words, I could see his excitement. I had heard that he loved dinosaurs, so I took out one of my books in my collection, "How do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?" While sitting on my knee, he and I read the book, taking turns sounding out the words. I had not planned it, but as he was about to leave, I check my "Naught & Nice" watch, I told him he was being such a wonderful example for us all, and told him I'd like to give him an early Christmas gift. I hugged him and handed him the book. I cannot express in words his reaction but to say it was pure joy. Shortly after this wonderful family left, a neighbor dropped by with their family, and a 6 month old little guy that would not take a picture with Santa...they had tried 3 times. They came to try immediately but I said, let's wait. We chatted, and the little guy just soaked it all up with bright eyes. It seemed he had warmed up a bit and we finally tried, he came to me and by the end, was resting his head on my shoulder. The moments this year as Santa, for me, were few and far between but they were incredible moments. I'm feeling now, knowing I'm all done for the year, fulfilled and blessed. What an amazing opportunity we have and what a blessing it is to be invited into these families lives and to participate in such a unique way in sharing the Christmas season. I have been blessed with so much and even getting in my suit once and seeing someone through the eyes of Santa, makes it all worth it. My extra time with my family has been such a blessing too and seeing so many friends and family gather around to support us has been humbling. Next year will be here before we know it, and I look forward to a season where I'm walking again. This season will surely be a season to remember and I'm grateful for all I've learned through my own struggles on how to be a better Santa and not take things for granted. I wish you, my fellow Clausnet friends, an amazing and wonderful end to your season and a happy and prosperous new year. Thank you for all you do and for the examples and lessons you teach and provide me...this is an amazing community and I feel honored to be a part of it.

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

The Other "Gift Giver" in Italy - La Befana

The Other "Gift Giver" in Italy - La Befana by Santa Johnathan There seems to me, to be a lot of misunderstanding on Italy's dear Befana. After watching the 1994 "Miracle on 34th Street" last night, and seeing Santa (Richard Attenborough) list off all of the names he is known by, including "La Befana," I thought I'd write a little bit about the Italian "gift giver." First off, Santa and Befana are certainly NOT the same person. Santa, known as Babbo Natale in Italian, translates to Father Christmas. The word "babbo" is actually more a familiar and loving word for father, similar to Daddy or Dad in English. Babbo Natale shows up in Italy late Christmas Eve and there are all sorts of Italian traditions surrounding Christmas there from unique foods, to when you open presents but that's for another time. Now, back to the Befana... La Befana vien di notte Con le scarpe tutte rotte Col vestito alla Romana Viva, Viva, La Befana! The Befana comes at night With shoes all torn With clothes in the Roman style Live, Live, The Befana! La Befana is the traditional "gift giver" of Italy and is often called the "gift giver" more than "La Befana." This Italian character is certainly celebrated as Santa is here in the US, and children flock to her when she is portrayed by an individual throughout the country. Described as an old woman, she has become very much, a magical witch-like character. Traveling the country on her broom, delivery toys to the children. She is old and ugly, with rags for clothes, but she IS kind and loving. From my experience an an American living in Italy, it felt like they were getting ready for Halloween, which they do not celebrate, as the streets are decorated with witches on brooms. It also amazed me, while my childhood taught me to fear the image of the witch, children would flock to the ugly old woman when she would show up in the form of an individual portraying her. A Bit of the Tradition Italy's tradition and history of La Befana is very much a religious story. The story goes that the wise men were journeying afar to find the baby Christ child. They came upon an old women and asked her for directions. After the directions were given, the kings invited her to join them and celebrate the birth of Jesus, but she declined as she said, she was just too busy. Shortly thereafter, a shepherd came with the same inquiry, but again, the old woman said she was just too busy to go. Later, as she gazed up at the North star, she realized she had made a grave mistake. She wanted to be there, and celebrate this special baby. She grabbed what she had to give as gifts to try and catch up to the kings and shepherd. To this day, she has vowed to honor the baby Jesus that she never found, by honoring all good boys and girls gifts, and charcoal for those children who do not listen, like the day she did not listen to her heart and follow with the Kings and Shepherd. Celebrating La Befana The Befana brings many gifts, filling stockings and also bringing wrapped gifts too. While there are many similarities between Santa and the Befana...they are very much two separate individuals. While tradition has been that the Befana is quite old and ugly, she has in recent years began to be more and more beautiful. In Italian television it is not uncommon now for La Befana to be portrayed by a beautiful young actress with a grey wig and a patchwork of clothes. Santa continues to show up Christmas Eve, while the Befana's day of celebration is the night before January 6th, known as the Epiphany...and for much of Italy, is an even bigger celebration. As time goes by, outside cultures are bringing more Santa in a big way but the Italians are holding on to their traditions and La Befana is alive and well within their hearts.

Santa Johnathan

Santa Johnathan

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Sign in to follow this  
About | Forums | Blogs | Newsletter | Contact


© 2018 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.
×