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A topic that no one wants to approach.

Santa Gordon

Viewed: 1,007 times

Jan. 29, 2014

A topic that no one wants to approach.

One way of looking at it is:

"“Naughty” Joke To Adults Get's Beloved Macy's Santa Fired"

or another headline on the same story:

"Bad Santa Fired From Macy's Over Lewd Joke | The Stir"

Two different headlines on the same story. This happened back in 2010 and was perhaps a bit of an over reaction on the part of the adults involved (No children were present or privy to the joke telling) and also of that on the part of Macy's but it is a problem that is growing.

The Santa involved with the first example was John Toomey told a joke to the adult couple that had asked "Why are you always smiling?" His reply was "I know where all the naughty girls and boys live." Macy's pulled John out of the chair before the next break. No hesitation on the part of the employer to get that Santa out of their building once they had a customer complaint. This is after working the same location for 20 years.

John after he appeared on the "Tonight Show" and shared his story was later hired by the Pub "Lefty O'Doul's" where John collected over 10,000 toys for the children of his city and also earned much more money than he ever did working for Macy's. A small silver lining. Sadly John Toomey passed away in July of 2011. Age 69

In 2013 we had:

"Man arrested, banned from playing Santa, after Hanover Mall incident"

"Herbert Jones, 62, now faces indecent assault and battery after cops say he got handsy with Santa’s Little Helper, leaving the teen in tears as she recounted what had happened to detectives, The Smoking Gun reports.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/mall-santa-62-molested-female-teen-elf-barred-playing-st-nick-cops-article-1.1528938#ixzz2rrfvusVu"

Which even if he did not do what he is accused of here, means he has to fight the case in court, then find a new venue to perform in and on top of that, has lost an entire season over what was possibly a bad act of judgement.


"Winterport lawmaker fired as Bangor Mall Santa after saying 'I don't give a damn'"

"Joe Brooks, who had been working as Santa six days a week since Nov. 15, said he was very upset when he was fired by two female representatives of Noerr Programs Inc., which operates shopping center photo services nationwide. They called him during his evening break, he said.

“At about 6 o’clock I got a phone call from corporate headquarters in Colorado. Two women called me and said they were relieving me of my duties,” he said by cellphone Friday. “When I asked them, ‘Why?’ They said they were not going to tell me. I said, ‘This is a pretty serious matter, relieving Santa Claus five days before Christmas.’”"

"“They said, ‘Two weeks ago you were apprised of a complaint. This is a continuation of that,” the four-time state representative, now an independent, said. “They would not tell me what it [the complaint] was in reference too.”

"Brooks said the only thing that he can think of that could possibly have led to a complaint was a conversation he had with a staff member about three weeks ago during which he said, “I don’t give a damn.”

“Yes, I was in the kiosk and I probably should not have used that word,” Brooks said. “It was a private conversation. I didn’t think twice about it.”

What is the point of all of this? Simple. We need to become more aware of the things we say and the way we conduct ourselves in the public eye. Especially in the High Volume Venue such as a Mall or BPS.

We are products of our upbringing and what was acceptable in the 70's and 80's as we grew into adult stature has become criminally actionable and socially unacceptable in the middle of the 2010 decade. As we have seen, the telling of an off color joke can now have major consequences. The act of touching anyone without their express permission is equally actionable. There is no such thing as a private conversation while you are dressed as Santa and in the public view at any time.

There is a reason for wearing white gloves while taking pictures. That is so your hands can be seen and you have proof you had not touched anyone inappropriately during the picture taking process.

Now we need to be just as aware of what we say and the context it is being said in if you wish to avoid the problems these recent cases have brought to light. At the least they can result in a reprimand all the way to losing your season and criminal prosecution

Always remember you are there to bring Joy and Fun to those that visit with you. You having "fun" is not part of the Job description. If you can not enjoy working this type of venue, then it is not for you and you should seek other venues to play the role of Santa such as home visit, Corporate event or the new emerging Video Chat visit with Santa that has begun.

For those that say "Bah! I will say what ever I chose! It is a free country and I know how to be Santa!" this blog is for you!

May your season be Joyous!


Santa Gordon

No one special

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Santa Gordon


We live and work in a "One Way" environment. The customer can say ANYTHING they chose or please on the set and there truly is no repercussion on them other than their possible removal of service and their being asked to leave the set by security. Certain actions and poses tried by customers will result in this but that varies from set to set and photo company to photo company. In the end, it is not so much what the customer does or says (provided the safety of the children is maintained and that of the set crew) it is what the public sees and hears from the Santa that is the issue.

This blog addressed a growing problem in what the set Santa does and says and how it was received by the public. Particularly by the individuals sitting on or interacting with Santa at any time Santa is in the public view. What shows up in the papers is simply the more "sensational" examples that gain traction as a story and sell those papers. This also happens in private home visits and at corporate events as well but we rarely see those examples in the news simply because it isn't sensational enough to make it past the News Editor. Upset a family visit or a couple of hundred people at a corporate party will not usually rise to the level of interest to make it to print.

This is not to say their are not repercussions. The agency that sends out that "problematical" Santa certainly hears about the problem, IN SPADES. For instance, the Santa that is one of several working a mall event over the course of several days (parachuting Santa, Tree lighting singing Santa and a couple of different Santa that cover the chair on different days) sits in the chair and does a wonderful job while in the public visit time but then walks over to his Van and waves the one finger salute to serveral people as he drives off. The Santa that goes to an adult dinner party to sit for pictures a couple of hours and he spends much of his time flirting with the single ladies then peruses the buffet and eats without being invited to do so. Finally there is the Santa that calls the customer and says he cannot make it due to car trouble and in the background of the call the customer can hear the party and the host calling to Santa to come back to the chair for more pictures an hour and a half past his show up time for the customer he is calling.

These three examples are just a few I fielded behind the desk at the agency I was working at the time. In two of the instances it was the same Santa. I truly recommended using a different Santa after that second incident to the owner of the agency due to the loss of the customers and the refunds and difficulties that followed his actions. Fantastic looking Santa that works still to this day but not for that agency.

Our behavior and deportment is under extreme scrutiny at all times while in the suit and in the eye of the public. Certain behaviors that used to slide past as marginally acceptable have become actionable both criminally and civilly by law. It does not matter if the intent was to be humorous on the part of the Santa, we are not stand up comedians doing a riff off of Don RIckles. Our performance is set by the public expectation and individual interpretation is not expected or always appreciated and can lead to repercussions from our arrival on scene to our departure. I am not speaking of actions or behaviors that someone does in their private life, I am only addressing those actions and words while in the public eye performing. Your performance is what you will be judged by in the public eye unless and until your actions privately brings you to the attention of the authorities and the press. That is a subject beyond the scope of this blog.

As with any of the blogs I have written, they have been meant to entertain (myself if no one else) and help educate or make you aware of existing or developing problems happening in the Business we all do when we play the role of Santa.

May your season be Joyous.


Santa Gordon

No one special

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Santa Allen


I do private parties and events.  If you arrive after the cocktail hour it can get dicey. The basic rule is watch your hands, don't say anything with sexual overtones and maintain your dignity. They may think it is cute to be photographed with their boobs poking Santa in the eye. You may try to move your head but remember DO NOT touch. The only time my behavior resulted in me not being invited back was when the hostess tried to drag me to the bed room as I was leaving. I told her Mrs. Santa would not approve and left quickly. I also had a lady tell me I was the cutest thing and wanted me to go home with her.  Nancy (my wife) was there to lay claim to Santa.and we made it a joke.  You must always remember it is Santa that is the "chick magnet" not you.

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Santa Gordon


Any kind of inappropriate behavior while performing no matter if there are children present or not, will come back to bite you. Again you need to stay in character the entire time you are performing and the minute you feel you are slipping out of character you need to stop and reassess. ALL it takes is one unhappy adult making a complaint and you have to work all the herder to rebuild your reputation and image.

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