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Seeking recognition

Felix Estridge

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Seeking recognition is a downward path for a legend who performs his tasks in the veil of night.

Recently, a fellow portrayer of Santa posted an image on Facebook that they constructed to look like a magazine cover with him on it and several story snips like many publications have on their covers.  You may have seen it if they are your friend on Facebook.  It looks okay.  The composition is good, but the rendering when uploading it to Facebook became distorted it and it is quite pixelated when you look at it from a development standpoint.

What got my goat was his choice of accompanied text, “Finally got a little recognition…”.  Let me say that his post was all in jest, I am certain.  This man is one of the kindest, gentlest, giving souls you will come across.  I love him as a brother.  Yet his unintended incursion on the spirit of the Claus legend got me more than a little flustered. And I know it would be last thing he would want anyone to get from this posting.

If you are in this to seek recognition, get out.  Plain and simple.  It’s the last thing that the real Santa Claus would have wanted.  It’s the antithesis of St. Nicholas, for whom Santa is mostly based.

More and more, I see the ego of man rearing its ugly head in the Claus community.  And this comes from one of the vainest individuals you would ever loath to meet.  My mother, rest her soul, would chuckle and get all sorts of entertainment over my time in front of the mirror as a youth.  As my hair fell out and turned grey and I stated portraying Santa, it became less of an issue of ego and more of an asset to putting forward the best portrayal I know how.  And yet attention to Felix Estridge is the last thing I want.  Last year, I was elected as President and Executive Director of the Board for Lone Star Santas Charities, Inc.® I tried to refuse but the Board felt it was best moving forward with the group as the current President & Executive Director was retiring from guiding the organization.  I still felt awkward in that it might bring me some kind of recognition that I did not ultimately want.  But, for the good of the organization and at their begging, I accepted.  When asked for my name after having had news footage or news photos shot of me as Santa, I tell them “Kris Kringle” and wait for the response.  I will never give my real name unless I am forced to do so, and, even then, I have been known to refuse.  I always tell them that the magic for people remains in the mystery of the legend of Santa Claus.  They then understand.

And all who portray him should strive to keep that magic alive.

As I recently defended, I am no one’s arbiter, police, or any authoritarian on portraying Santa.  I merely offer this perspective as a personal opinion from simple observation over time.  I am less learned than many, many others.  I just happen to be passionate about this issue.  I will never give up trying to protect the legend.

Do no harm to the legend.

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Felix Estridge

Posted

And now he has removed the text from the image.

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Felix,

Thank you for this well written and heartfelt commentary on the humility that should go hand and hand with the portrayal of Santa Claus.  Having been away from CN for a bit while getting my teaching year started, this was a wonderful first read and great reminder of where we should be in our heads.  

DL

 

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SantaJoe

Posted (edited)

Why are we so quick to judge another's portrayal? (ya, I said it) 

Edited by SantaJoe
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Felix Estridge

Posted

2 hours ago, SantaJoe said:

Why are we so quick to judge another's portrayal? (ya, I said) 

Who did I judge?

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Felix Estridge

Posted

46 minutes ago, SantaJoe said:

Apparently, it doesn't really matter.

Apparently, paying any attention to someone else & making observations are frowned upon.

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2 hours ago, Felix Estridge said:

Apparently, paying any attention to someone else & making observations are frowned upon.

I guess some would see it that way.

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Felix Estridge

Posted

36 minutes ago, SantaJoe said:

I guess some would see it that way.

Then how in the world do we understand the value of something unless we have the capability to assess, discern, judge, or whatever word you want to use in order to make ourselves better people?

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Kevin Haislip

Posted

I am coming into this late, but Felix, I completely agree! 

I keep my beard and much of my persona year around as it brings opportunities everywhere you go to speak into people's lives.   I encourage them in their faith in God, in their keeping their eyes open to look for ways to help and bless others and to be quick to be secret givers themselves.  I came to see many years ago that St. Nicholas was the dynamic person he was simply because he early learned how to put other peoples interests above his own, a very Christ like life.  We Santas have a very important and blessed role to fulfill.  And though I am not in easy access to working with Lone Star Santas right now, it is a very important role fulfilled in bringing hope to others devastated by some disaster.  Yet I continue to associate myself with it and promote it wherever I can.

God bless you my friend!  I am sorry I was not able to get together with you this past season...

Santa Kevin

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Drosselmeyer

Posted

On 1/6/2018 at 12:36 PM, Kevin Haislip said:

Do no harm to the legend.

I do not want to inject into the debate - i did not see the post discussed

but the above quote I think sums the discussion - "do no harm" - we have such a special opportunity to affect folks in a positive way - that must always be on our radar - we can not forget that - in or out of the red suit....

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Kevin Haislip

Posted

First, let me correct Santa Drosselmeyer on the above quote.  While I wish I would have said it, but Felix Estridge wrote it in his original post to this subject.  It is a perfect quote relating to the message of this thread and Felix hit it with, "Do no harm to the legend."

On a related note, I am actually discipling a man to be a Santa.  He has become a dear friend to me and we get together about once a week for coffee or lunch.  He totally looks the part and has spent his career caring for children.  So being a Santa will fit him like lambs wool gloves.

I was a commercial photographer during my career.  Photographers are notorious for purchasing the latest gizmo and if you look into most of the camera bags of a pro, you will find all manner of gadgets that look new but that the photographer has used but once or never.  We Santas are a lot like that ourselves.  We see a Santa with a compass or set of gold keys or something and we have to rush out and purchase it for our own ensemble.  I think it is a man's thing.  However, Looking our best is important as a Santa.

My friend kind of resembles this behavior.  Thankfully for him, I believe he is well off and can afford all the capes and staffs and custom boots and customized suits.  Often when we get together, he will tell me of a source for belt buckles or shirts or whatever else.  And I keep telling him to just, "Be the man."  But this man is going to make a great Santa!

Some of us have spent small fortunes on our ensembles with customized this or that.  I have seen many stunningly beautiful suits of different Santas.  I myself have continued to improve my own look from year to year.  But the first priority for us is to "Be the man!"

Felix is the first Santa I met when I was considering this role 10 years ago.  Even in the off season, he looked the part, but his demeanor was what really impressed me.  And as I studied about who St Nicholas was and the legends and history of the man, I found I could easily identify because I myself had spent my adult life serving and loving children.  And besides reading up on who St. Nicholas was, get involved in local Santa gatherings and organizations.  We all learn a lot from each other that can make us better Santas.  

Look for opportunities to ply the character all through the year.  Volunteer at children's hospitals.  When someone stops you on the street as a Santa, 'Be the man!"  

Thankfully, among the Santas I know, they are already doing this in many ways.  So if for nothing else, let this be a reminder and an encouragement for all of us toward becoming better at this.

Through our efforts at improving our portrayals, we will "Do no harm to the legend."

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