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