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Elf Hermey

Dear Santa: Can't you just be Santa at Christmas?

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SantaCraig

Shannon, in all of these discussions I do not recall anyone pointing you out or trying to force you to change anything. I'm confused to why you try and spin these posts in that manor that one opinion of a situation is a calling out of Shannon settles?

If parties can't post opinions here then why do we even need clausnet ?

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SCSanta

Yes I agree we don't know the whole story and I see the dress up as nothing but a dress up, but I see the problem in claiming to be Santa. None of us should claim that role, a wink, a gesture, a smile and a little class keeps the magic in Santa and Christmas alike. Just respect one and another and the children we all dedicate ourselves to.

 

I must confess...despite all of the recent threads and posts out there about off-season Santas or groups of Santa Helpers at a Santa gatherings...I have never seen the blatant, flagrant, competitive "I'm The Real Santa" displays that so many others are alluding to. I have been part of small lunch gatherings and the parade at ClausFest and I witnessed nothing less than a concerted effort from everyone in attendance to always behave in a professional manner.  On occasions, I have seen children with and without parents approach the group I was in at a lunch in a private dining room and ask why all of these Santas were together. The answer has always been along the lines of..."One of us is the real Santa and he is having a meeting with Santa's helpers."  If the question ever comes up about who the real Santa is, the answer is always "You have to decide for yourself"

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Santa Dave

Lets face it everybody. There seems to be people that don't want to see Santa all year long.

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SantaCraig

I must confess...despite all of the recent threads and posts out there about off-season Santas or groups of Santa Helpers at a Santa gatherings...I have never seen the blatant, flagrant, competitive "I'm The Real Santa" displays that so many others are alluding to. I have been part of small lunch gatherings and the parade at ClausFest and I witnessed nothing less than a concerted effort from everyone in attendance to always behave in a professional manner.  On occasions, I have seen children with and without parents approach the group I was in at a lunch in a private dining room and ask why all of these Santas were together. The answer has always been along the lines of..."One of us is the real Santa and he is having a meeting with Santa's helpers."  If the question ever comes up about who the real Santa is, the answer is always "You have to decide for yourself"

I think you are exactly right! I have been to several meet ups had dinner with many Santas some with beards and some without. Some of my best friends are responsible men in their portrayal...but I think a lot of the posts are pointed to the handful of individuals who seem to go above and beyond.  In every group you are going to have them, and if you are in a group that you don't....you better look at yourself LOL.

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Bestemor Claus

I haven't had time to read every comment addressed here so this post may be totally off and for that I apologize.

Every time I have been with a large gathering of Santas, I have never heard one of them claim to be the real Santa. As taught in the C W Howard school and others, Bill's usual standard reply is, " no he's my brother (or cousin), but he's here some place." And then he starts looking over the crowd as if trying to locate him. When we were in Montreux, Switzerland at the Santa grotto in the Alps, I taught him to say in French " I'm not Father Christmas. I'm his cousin from the United States" since our clothing and accent were obviously American. When we were in Los Angeles attending Tim's International School4Santas, we went to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood. Let's just say we were a major attraction. One little girl looked a little confused. I leaned over and whispered  to her, "it's a family reunion." That was an acceptable answer to her. We never claim to be the REAL Santa. I am surprised that these men chose to say they were him  instead of claiming to be a relative. Being sensitive to the magic and mystery of Santa, when it comes to the people around us, is a responsibility of the person who chooses to be a naturally ( or real ) bearded Santa. This sacred trust should be carefully and prayerfully upheld.

  :m2c:

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Nick Hudson

I must confess...despite all of the recent threads and posts out there about off-season Santas or groups of Santa Helpers at a Santa gatherings...I have never seen the blatant, flagrant, competitive "I'm The Real Santa" displays that so many others are alluding to. I have been part of small lunch gatherings and the parade at ClausFest and I witnessed nothing less than a concerted effort from everyone in attendance to always behave in a professional manner.  On occasions, I have seen children with and without parents approach the group I was in at a lunch in a private dining room and ask why all of these Santas were together. The answer has always been along the lines of..."One of us is the real Santa and he is having a meeting with Santa's helpers."  If the question ever comes up about who the real Santa is, the answer is always "You have to decide for yourself"

I have seen cards handed out, I haven't seen a single person claim to be the real Santa, I have seen the answer of one of is the real one and you have to figure it out, I love t when everyone is together but it does make mw wonder if it's the correct thing to do or not. I guess we all have to make that decision on our own. Lets face it, no one can claim to be the real Santa because there isn't a real Santa , just the magic of Santa.

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Santa Johnathan

You avoid contact by telling your child "no" and walking away. I know its a difficult concept in today's parenting.

No it's not...my children hear it all the time.

Some just choose to create children with velum thick skin and the idea they are the best at EVERYTHING. You can certainly teach about hard work and potential and build their self esteem without telling them even their crap smells like potpourri. It also does not help when you have uneducated and/or juvenile adults (and kids) raising children with no sense of honor, manors, and pride.

You have great comments Santa Shannon. I do not think it's 100% black or white. I think it's easy to blame the parents but Santas need to have a bit of responsibility here too. What we do and what parents do should all be about what's best for the children as best we can. I agree that the "helpers" route is an easy one but I can also see how being caught off guard would leave a parent a little lost for words. In the OP, I believe that Santas AND Parents could have made the situation better. It looks like parents want to point the figure here and Santas want to point the finger there...we could point the finger at ourselves and ask, "if it were ME, how could I have made it a better situation?"

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Santa Oliver

After reading and rereading this letter I came away thinking about a couple of things. One, were these men really dressed as Santa or were they just wearing red t-shirts? Since we don't have pictures of them, I'm a little skeptical. Also did they actually claim to be Santa as this parent claims? If they did, then they are very irresponsible in their portrayal of Santa. However, I believe the parents used poor judgment in this situation. They had to know by approaching these men that they would have to explain to their children the whole idea of Santa's helpers and if they couldn't do that then they would have been better off to avoid those men all together. It sounds like to me they need to brush up on some parenting skills.

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Michael Rielly

After reading and rereading this letter I came away thinking about a couple of things. One, were these men really dressed as Santa or were they just wearing red t-shirts? Since we don't have pictures of them, I'm a little skeptical. Also did they actually claim to be Santa as this parent claims? If they did, then they are very irresponsible in their portrayal of Santa. However, I believe the parents used poor judgment in this situation. They had to know by approaching these men that they would have to explain to their children the whole idea of Santa's helpers and if they couldn't do that then they would have been better off to avoid those men all together. It sounds like to me they need to brush up on some parenting skills.

 

I reached out to Jeff when I saw this. He said the email was legitimate. He's on here, but I am sure he hasn't seen this thread yet.

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NYSanta

Lets face it we have hashed this thing out over and over for a long time and we have all remarked, defended and tried to convience each other we are right.  

This subject will once again rear it's ugly side  again in the near future and we will once again debate, crtiisize and point fingers at who is to blame.

Why don't we just accept like any other profession there are going to be pros and cons of each side and accept that we are and always will be a Brotherhood

all trying to do our best to portray the Jolly Old Man in Red the best we can be and that we can not live up to everyones expectations and morals of others

whether it be part of our own or those from the outside. Most of us have at one time or another attended a Santa gathering, we have all attended one of the parades or worn Santa Casual even if only a T Shirt to fit in and yes we gather at locations where other people come and vacation by themselves or with their Children. Interactions will always be subject to the person and their own beliefs in what it is we should do or not do. In closing we Portray a Fictional Character called Santa and for the most part we understand that we do this, It is usually the public who interacts with usthat  can not understand and be able to seperate fact from fiction.  It is usually the negative letters that get posted to stir the pot and not the positive ones that get posted because all you can say is Oh That's Nice. I for one have received more positive feedback from both parents and children when attending an event with my Brothers and sisters in red than negative.

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Santa Johnathan

I blame and point my finger at Hermey the Elf!!! That snide, rude, know it all little elf has been trying to tear this community apart so the elves can take over! This is just the latest attempt at an elf union smear campaign!

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SCSanta

Lets face it everybody. There seems to be people that don't want to see Santa all year long.

 

You are so right...and they can be quite adamant about it. Last fall, a very large national retailer was doing marketing tests to determine whether or not they wanted to add a photo studio to their chain of stores. They decided to start with family photos at one location in the country and since it was late in the year, I was selected as their Santa for the holiday packages they were considering. The test shoot was scheduled for November. They had already done publicity photos and wanted to put a live display up to pre-sell sittings to help determine the number of shoot days and staff needed. Because this was a plan for adding a year-round photo studio, and not a typical North Pole set in a mall, there were packages for both Christmas and non-Christmas sittings. There were balloon artists and give-a-ways and I was on site in character and costume at the registration area one day in late October so that the parents and children could see and talk to me to help with market research and to help them decide if they wanted to schedule a sitting for November. 

 

Wow...what a mistake that was! There were people handing out info flyers near the entrance to the store and directing them to our location if they were interested in more information. Folks passing by could see me if they happened to look over, but they needed to actively approach us to interact. Quite a few did and many other parents just steered their kids away with a dismissive wave. But there were others who went out of their way to come over to where I was and berate me and literally cuss me out for 'forcing Christmas' on them before they were ready for it. They were automatically hostile, assuming that the store had started with their Santa village in October. They never asked questions or allowed anyone to explain and were really quite unpleasant. A handful apologized later, after things were explained to them, but more than a few spewed their vitriol and went on their way. A couple of them even came back later for another round of nasty.

 

I guess the lesson for me was, people are different. Most people are reasonable and tolerant while some have knee jerk reactions but are willing to listen to an explanation, particularly if I take the time to listen to their concerns. Then there are always the handful who want to be negative and cranky and unwilling to listen no matter what I do. All I can do is be honest and sincere and not let these people dictate how I feel or what I believe.

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Santa TJS

I disagree in blaming the parents,how does one tell small children to avoid a group of Santa's when your on a boat with them,you can't leave until the ferry docks.

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Santa John Gable

Here's my response when I am in public, plain clothes, and told I look like Santa by a small child.  I simply smile and say, "Thank you!  What a nice thing to say!"  That keeps the kids guessing and the parents happy.

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SantaCraig

Here's my response when I am in public, plain clothes, and told I look like Santa by a small child.  I simply smile and say, "Thank you!  What a nice thing to say!"  That keeps the kids guessing and the parents happy.

I really like that response. The mystery and Mystic that your statement makes speaks volumes.  Children are going to make their own decisions as to what criteria makes a person "Santa" or not.  What you have done is let the children ponder on it and that builds excitement.

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Coudy Santa

I think that as a group we need to develop a guide in a somewhat official way on how to act on and off the "job", in and out of the suit, and how to handle ourselves during meetings, classes and the gatherings we enjoy so much. I am a new Santa, 3 years now, and I know that each year I try less and less to be seen as Santa off the job. I have ditched the red suspenders, Santa print shirts and other off season trapping (except at the above events) that help verify that I am a Santa. I want to come up with a way to deny (perhaps a little weakly) my Santa roots so that kids, and adults, know I am not Santa but but suspect, just a little, that I am Santa incognito and they have just experienced a rare sighting. I dunno, I have to work on this a lot more.

 

Anyway, I don't think I have the experience to lead a group to develop an Official ClausNet Guide to being or not being Santa as each situation presents itself. Like the unwritten law not to be Santa on another Santa's set (or is it written?). I can devote time and effort to such group doing this if one of you can pick this up. I guess that sounds like I am throwing this over the fence. I guess I will agree to carry this forward if there is support. I am committed 1,000 percent either way. - Pete

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Santa Johnathan

Here's my response when I am in public, plain clothes, and told I look like Santa by a small child.  I simply smile and say, "Thank you!  What a nice thing to say!"  That keeps the kids guessing and the parents happy.

Perfect response.

There were a few times that I spent a little extra time with a child out in public. It happened ONLY when a cue was given by a parent. I would go to a store and a parent would smile, as their child noticed me and you would hear parents say, " why don't you ask him." I heard one in a restaurant say, "he's here! And he will know if you eat your dinner." Still, with all the hints, with all the fun, I would do everything but say, "Yes, I am Santa." ...it's more fun.

My idea of Santa is he would always keep children guessing and having fun in a public setting. Even in my suit I still ask, "what do YOU think?" when asked "the question." I also often state, "that's a question that is only for YOU to answer with your heart." More often that not, they will quietly say, "I think you are," I will say "thank you, that makes me very happy to hear."

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SantaStephen

I must confess...despite all of the recent threads and posts out there about off-season Santas or groups of Santa Helpers at a Santa gatherings...I have never seen the blatant, flagrant, competitive "I'm The Real Santa" displays that so many others are alluding to. I have been part of small lunch gatherings and the parade at ClausFest and I witnessed nothing less than a concerted effort from everyone in attendance to always behave in a professional manner.  On occasions, I have seen children with and without parents approach the group I was in at a lunch in a private dining room and ask why all of these Santas were together. The answer has always been along the lines of..."One of us is the real Santa and he is having a meeting with Santa's helpers."  If the question ever comes up about who the real Santa is, the answer is always "You have to decide for yourself"

I am out of likes (so soon? so few?, but I guess that makes them truly special) so I've quoted here. I was just about to post an almost identical comment on my experiences, both from JYWS and the recent Dallas IUSC. During both of these, the group of 10 to 12 "Santa Clauses" was approached by believers and asked about Santa. One amongst us quickly and clearly satisfied the child (and children present) with a, "Santa all his helpers together for training." 

 

The children were totally placated - and satisfied - and there was no problem with the situation. Mind you, some of the SC were actually in complete suits while others were more casual, so choices did need to be made.

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Chris Capstone

I'm not going to delve too deeply here, but I have a couple of points I'd like to hit on.

First, if the parents were incapable of explaining away the situation then they should have AVOIDED contact. If it had been a bunch of leathered-up Harley dudes they could have managed to avoid them. Or a bunch of guys in drag. Or better, what if it was a bunch of guys in starched white shirts and ties doing Bible study and expressed an interest in talking to their kids... I guarantee they would have found a way to avoid contact!

Second, I find it hard to believe that the parents of a 7 and 4 y.o. is unfamiliar with the "helper" defense. I'm calling BS (butterscotch) on this.

Finally, if someone likes dressing up like they attend Hogwarts, and meeting with other wizarding folks, and I think its all stupid why would I write a nasty letter to J.K. Rowling, or complain to the Harry Potter character at Universal? You want an explanation or an excuse for why a person is behaving the way they do, you know who you can ask? That person! He's the only one responsible for his actions. Mind you, I'm not defending these guys, that's not my job.

 

To say it's the parents' responsibility to avoid contact in the case of Santa is a bit unrealistic.  There is a principle in tort law know as "Attractive Nuisance."  Now before anyone freaks out and thinks I'm calling RBS nuisances let say categorically RBS should be free to look however they want, go where ever they want, etc... We must all (RBS or TBS) be responsible for our own actions.  No Santa police please.

 

Now, back to the principle of attractive nuisance.  When a situation is created that by its very nature is attractive to children, then legal responsibility falls on the person who creates the attraction.  I mention it for the purpose of stating a general principle, I'm not calling anyone a nuisance or trying to give legal advice.

 

So, we as Santas, (whether RBS or TBS) need to realize that when we are out in public and we look like Santa, we have in fact created an attraction for children and thus have some responsibility for issues arising from a child's reaction to us.

 

Of course the parents have a responsibility too, but we share that responsibility because we have created an attraction for their children.

 

I don't think it's a very good idea for us to have an attitude of "It's not my responsibility, let the parents need to deal with it."

 

Finally, the Hogwarts comparison doesn't work.  Santa is in a class all his own.

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Shannon

I was going to drop this, but Chris, that is too much to ignore. If I have a trampoline in my backyard and fail to put up a fence I risk a finding of "attractive nuisance" against me should a child sneak onto my property and hurt themselves on it. I am at almost no risk whatsoever if the child's parent is standing there watching as the child ventures onto my trampoline. That said, I'm not going to live my life behind a fence. You can't allow your child to engage a group of missionaries and then blame them for sharing the gospel with the kid. And frankly, these guys dressing in a Santalike manner are actually doing the parents a favor, saying hey, if your kid comes and talks to me there is a pretty good chance I'm going to act like Santa. It's like they were wearing a warning label! LOL

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Santa Dave

Shannon, nobody is telling you to live behind a fence. If a little kid comes up to you and asks if your Santa you can and have the right to say no I'm not Santa. (Because your not Santa. Nobody is).

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Santa Oliver

It still sounds like to me the mother just didn't want to have to answer the "Is Santa really real" question from her children. Perhaps she had a tough time thinking of how to explain it to them especially the 4 year old but she'll be in a heap of trouble for sure when the really tough questions start when they get older. I'm not saying the letter wasn't legit but since none of us were there we can't say for sure if these Santa's acted out of line in any way. Perhaps they did, if they did they used poor judgment, we just don't know.

 

I would hope this topic doesn't turn out to be about reigning in RBS's and creating some kind of official policy on how one should act when in public. Although the proposition for such a thing I'm sure is well meaning.

 

We are all going to portray Santa the way we want to, I think that's what make us all special. I think we all would agree we just need to use some common sense and personal responsibility when we are in public. I have never known anyone hear at ClausNet doing otherwise.

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Chris Capstone

I was going to drop this, but Chris, that is too much to ignore. If I have a trampoline in my backyard and fail to put up a fence I risk a finding of "attractive nuisance" against me should a child sneak onto my property and hurt themselves on it. I am at almost no risk whatsoever if the child's parent is standing there watching as the child ventures onto my trampoline. That said, I'm not going to live my life behind a fence. You can't allow your child to engage a group of missionaries and then blame them for sharing the gospel with the kid. And frankly, these guys dressing in a Santalike manner are actually doing the parents a favor, saying hey, if your kid comes and talks to me there is a pretty good chance I'm going to act like Santa. It's like they were wearing a warning label! LOL

 

Shannon, I didn't say you should live your life behind a fence.  In fact I said was "RBS should be free to look however they want, go where ever they want, etc... We must all (RBS or TBS) be responsible for our own actions.  No Santa police please."

 

I expressly stated I was not calling any Santa a nuisance.  I was not making a comaprison.  I brought up the PRINCIPLE of attractive nuisance to help explain why I believe we have some responsibility for the way children react to us and to  the attitude of "It's not my responsibility, the parents need to deal with it."

 

I'm simply saying when we appear in public as Santa we are an attraction for young children (that's an undeniable fact)  and it's unrealistic to say "It's not my responsibility, the parents need to deal with it."

 

How you define and fulfill your responsibilities while appearing as Santa in public is not my business.  I don't know how much clearer I can be.  If you want to read something that's not there that's your prerogative.  You are a fine Santa, please, nobody wants you to "live behind a fence."

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Santa Marty

This has become a totally new experience for me in the last few weeks.

 

Here is how I have been handling it thus far.  (it has only occurred a few times)

 

When asked by a child if I am Santa and I have an opportunity to engage them I will simply answer with something like.

 

Are you Santa?

 

"No, but I really like Santa and wouldn't that be the greatest job in the world?"

 

And depending on the circumstances just continue to converse with how much fun it would be to live at the North Pole, and feeding the Reindeer, and eating cookies and making toys, and getting to fly around the world in one night.  Just going where ever the conversation might take us.  Just sharing the topic of Santa, and having some fun with it.  Much like answering questions while in the chair, only keeping it in the context of how much fun it would be.... "IF" I could be him, not how much fun it is to BE him.

 

So far they have left excited and with just a touch of maybe in their minds.

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Chris Capstone

This has become a totally new experience for me in the last few weeks.

 

Here is how I have been handling it thus far.  (it has only occurred a few times)

 

When asked by a child if I am Santa and I have an opportunity to engage them I will simply answer with something like.

 

Are you Santa?

 

"No, but I really like Santa and wouldn't that be the greatest job in the world?"

 

And depending on the circumstances just continue to converse with how much fun it would be to live at the North Pole, and feeding the Reindeer, and eating cookies and making toys, and getting to fly around the world in one night.  Just going where ever the conversation might take us.  Just sharing the topic of Santa, and having some fun with it.  Much like answering questions while in the chair, only keeping it in the context of how much fun it would be.... "IF" I could be him, not how much fun it is to BE him.

 

So far they have left excited and with just a touch of maybe in their minds.

 

Nice touch Marty.

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