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Michael Rielly

Silly Santas on Parade

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Michael Rielly

Silly Santas on Parade

March 7, 2016



Everyone wants to be Santa Claus.

Who wouldn’t want to work with toys, elves and reindeer? Who would not want to be beloved of children and adults alike?

Santa is universally recognized, perpetually jolly, well fed, and immensely popular.

Other men look on Santa with envy. He is the ultimate man’s man. He works with power tools, drives faster than anyone, and he gets all the girls.

Santa is so popular people cannot help dressing up like him for all kinds of public events. In Sweden they gather by the thousands dressed in beards and red suits – to jog. In Denmark an annual international convention of Santa portrayers gathers every year – and each one of them swears they are the “one and only” Santa Claus. And in cities around the world hundreds will gather during the holidays to crawl from pub to pub – dressed as the Big Guy.

The media eats this all up. They love to give us pictures of Santas gathered together. After all, Santa, no matter what he is doing, makes everyone smile.

Who cares if an image or a video shows a whole gaggle of Santa Clauses? What’s the harm in a herd of Kringles? The more the merrier, right?

There’s just one problem: the kids.

Whenever there is a public spectacle that features Santa in numbers the kids get confused.

“Wait a minute,” they write in, “what’s going on here?”


Santa of old was just one guy. History has added reindeer, elves and even multiple ways to track Santa on Christmas Eve but at the end of the day it has always been one dude in red coming down each chimney.

Announced today was yet another gathering of men and women wearing the red suit – this one in Branson, Missouri. More than 1000 of them will be there to “Discover Santa”.

These are professional Santas – the real Santas — the ones that take kids on their knee and hears Christmas wishes.

These Santas will hole up in a fancy resort for a couple of days to hold a convention. They will talk shop. They will take classes about sacred Santa traditions and sly Santa techniques in working with kids.

They will sing Christmas carols in July. They will celebrate the heritage of Santa portrayers. They will hand out awards.

And there will be a big parade right through town with 1000 plus dressed in their best suits with beards freshly trimmed and waxed, all giving white-gloved waves and smiles to the crowd — a crowd, by the way, that will be packed with children.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, there’s certainly nothing wrong with Santas getting together.

In fact, there is a fellowship among Santas that I really admire. They do tough work, work that sometimes has them facing difficult situations and long hours.

There is certainly a lot to be said for a Santa portrayer who invests time and money to hone his craft in the name of serving children and families better. If I were playing Santa I would want to know all the latest techniques and news that would make me a better Santa, too.

I love the historical celebration of Santa. The fact they identify the selfless givers among them is commendable.

But for all of this why, oh why, can’t the professional Santas of today remember just one little thing: their customers? Their customers are the kids!

No, it isn’t the kids that put what little jingle in their pockets that comes from being Santa. But the kids are the reason there is a Santa at all. Can’t Santas get together with these little ones in mind?

It’s July, guys.

Nobody in their right minds parades in long fur-trimmed sleeves in July – except for…uh…why are you doing this again?

I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun. But can’t you guys just show up in short sleeves, sandals and shorts like millions of other men your age who go to summer gatherings?

Do you really need to put yourselves on television? Do you need to parade through town? Don’t you get enough love from all the other parades you are in?

I had this problem with you when my kids were little. Now I have this problem with my grandchildren. I shouldn’t have to explain why there are 1000 of you guys at a meeting.

Santa is awesome but he’s got secrets.

His North Pole compound has never been found. The reindeer games have never been on ESPN. There is no actual footage supplied by NORAD or anyone else of Santa’s Christmas flight.

Santa has never been caught. Santa comes in the dark of night, he delivers fast, and most often he gives anonymously.

How he gets around the world in a single night remains a scientific mystery.

He “knows when you are sleeping and he knows when you’re awake” – that’s powerful, legendary, and mystical stuff.

So do you really expect the kids at a resort or just in town there in Branson to understand Santa in multiplicity?

Surely there are better answers than a rehash of past Santa gathering mistakes.

You guys are a brotherhood – a united front of Christmas cheer dedicated to the public good.

That public good isn’t just valid at Christmas.

Take off the suit and go to your meetings as the secret Santas you are. And when you gather for the big picture please wear something to disguise your merrier identity.

Ok, you can say “Merry Christmas!” That’s cool even in July. But don’t let them see you sweat.


SOURCE: http://mymerrychristmas.com/silly-santas-on-parade/

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Ol Santa

As far as I'm concerned Michael...AMEN !     

        ...Ol' Santa here.    You're right on.    I too, wish all Santa's remembered that it's the kids who are the real believers.    What's to

be gained with a Santa Parade?    Our City's Christmas Parade has a rule stating "The Parade Committee shall select the Official Santa

Claus.    No other entry may display a Live Santa or other likeness of Santa as a participant or part of the entrant's display."

Ol' Santa

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Santa Johnny Boy

I don't think that any kids will be fooled by the Santas in THAT photo!

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Elf Without Jingles

The pros and cons of having more than one Santa in the room. We repeatedly discuss this and no matter what we say or how we say it, we reach the  same conclusion: there should be ONE Santa in the room --- I"m gonna keep me mouth shut on this one; I'm too old to open up a can of words anymore.

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Santa Castor

I thought long and hard about Discover Santa.  I have attended Santa conventions in the past.  While I enjoyed the camaraderie, learned a great deal, when it comes right down to it, being seen with other Santa's ends up making me feel 'less'.  I just can't do it.  The fact that every convention I have attended or even been aware of makes a concerted effort to draw attention to itself and makes no attempt to be secretive, I just can't do it.  To the news organizations that are invited to cover the event, just don't do it.  To the parents that want to bring their children to the publicity stunts, just don't do it.  To the Santa's considering attending a convention that has the intent to make it a public spectacle, I get it, I understand, it is a big frat party disguising itself as an educational program, just don't do it

In the words of dearly departed Nancy Reagan, Just Say No!

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Jerry Nebel

So the real Santa can't be everywhere and he needs helpers. It is clear that the picture used in the story that Michael posted up is not from a conventions of Santa's. It is from a  Santa pub crawl.  Let's be straight about that. 

At Discover Santa and other gatherings he is there to share, learn, and enjoy fellowship. All year at the North Pole can get old and how else to check on who is being naughty and nice than to get out and mingle with the masses.

Parents that brings their children will hear from a Santa that they ask "are you the real Santa".  Ho Ho Ho you are right the real Santa is here today visiting with some of his best helpers. You know he can't be everywhere at once. It is a big world. Yes the real Santa is here. I'm not going to tell you if it's me or that Santa over there. You will know it in your own heart when you meet him.

Thanks for listening.



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Michael Rielly
4 minutes ago, Santa Jerry said:

It is clear that the picture used in the story that Michael posted up is not from a conventions of Santa's. It is from a  Santa pub crawl.  Let's be straight about that.

The picture posted in from the news source.

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Jerry Nebel
1 minute ago, Michael Rielly said:

The picture posted in from the news source.

Yes that picture was with the story when it came out earlier this week. But we all know by looking at it that it was not taken at a gatherings of Santa's such as Discover Santa. Right. This picture was used for sensationalism.

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There are some topics in Santa circles that never seem to get resolved or go away,(this being one of them) there are always a variety of views and opinions, pros and cons, they can be listed and argued about season after season, and far be it from me to put an end to that tradition, but please remember that there are good Santas, and Mrs.Cs and elves on either side of this coin.  :hug:

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Ol Santa

Well, I really don't care Santa Jerry...

        ...Ol' Santa here.    To a five, six or seven year old believer (or any age) it still isn't right.    Hey, If it were the right thing to do

running around in the Red Suit with a beard in August, I'd love to do it.    But it just isn't right down deep in my heart.

        I've been retired for over 20 years and could have grown a beautiful long white beard by now.    (See photo at left and look at

that REAL mustache)     But, do you know; as much as I love kids I don't want them coming up to me in a restaurant (or anywhere

else for that matter) and asking me, "Are you Santa Claus?"    It's not that I don't want to be bothered by them, (I'd love that) but

I just don't want to create confusion in their minds, by having them ask, "I thought Santa lived at the North Pole!"

       As I said earlier, if the Charity called and said they needed a Santa somewhere out of season, I'd be there as Santa...but I

wouldn't drive across town in the Red Suit.    I'd see that I was provided somewhere to change.

        Let's just say that if it isn't late November or December, I prefer to be an "Incognito Santa."    Sure I give some Mom's one of

my business cards very discretely and tell them where I'll be at the appropriate time...but that's it!

Edited by Ol Santa

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Santa James

            The only 'national' gathering I have attended was the Jim Yellig Conference in Santa Claus Indiana.  There were several seminars and events for the Santa's to attend, and while I spent a lot of time attending a table for the Society of Santa, I was able to attend some events.  I remember there was a car show which I was not present for, and I visited the Candy Castle where the Santa Hall of Fame is enshrined, and I attended the ceremony for the induction of Hall of Fame Santa's.

              I thoroughly enjoyed all the time I was there, it was nice to speak with others I had conversed with here on Clausnet.  The induction ceremony and the salute to our veterans brought me to tears.  Even getting a flat tire and a warning ticket from Kansas State Patrol did not deter my enjoyment of the weekend!

              I  can understand the thinking of some that children seeing all the Santa's and Mrs. Claus's might cause confusion,  ruin the magic, etc.  And I won't argue that ego's had not been present! But as in real life, 99% of the people are good people with good intentions.  And while I feel I am still a newbie, I am concerned about the difficulty in finding those individuals who would follow our footsteps.  I have not participated in a parade of Santa's , but if you think about 700 Santa's walking from the hotel to the post office for a picture in a town of 3000, it would be hard to miss!  But my hope is that during these events there will be children who see this and think this would be something they would like to do, to help spread the word of giving to others, and the belief in the Christmas Season.  And maybe some of the adults might catch on after seeing so many Santa's that believe, and stir their interest.

            I volunteered for pictures with Santa  Paws one year as a way to give back for Cody, my best friend and dog, and had no idea of the world behind Santa Claus.  Now with the internet there is much more available.  But I often think, if I had not volunteered, I would not have been contacted by Noerr to become Santa, or by Santa Stephen Patterson to join the Society of Santa, and I might have missed my chance to find out about becoming Santa, and it would not have made me a better person that I believe I have become for being Santa.

          Thank you for letting me give my two cents, I offer this as only something to think about, I certainly don't know all the answers, which is why I continue to read and listen and learn.

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