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Elf Without Jingles

Meet the Real-Bearded Santas Trying to Keep Christmas Alive All Year

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Elf Without Jingles

Meet the Real-Bearded Santas Trying to Keep Christmas Alive All Year

by Ashley Hoffman, Time Magazine | Posted: 06-13-2017, 11:45 AM EST

EXCERPT:

LOS ANGELES --- For dedicated professional Santas, representing the world's most famous merry man is a year-round gig.

"We're Santa 24/7/365," says 79-year-old Bob Callahan, President of the Fraternal Order of Real-Bearded Santas (FORBS). "If I go to the grocery store, I can't be offstage. The kids will look at me, and right away, they'll know."

Founded in L.A. in 2008, FORBS unites more than 350 natural-bearded Santa impersonators for learning and networking events. Most of FORBS' members are retired from other jobs, and they find that appearing at shopping malls, private and corporate Christmas parties and at local and regional Christmas Eve home and other stops as St. Nick is a most rewarding way to supplement their Social Security checks.

Impersonators in the Brotherhood call each other "Santa" first as a sign of respect. "All my friends are Santa," says Callahan. "You have to be willing to literally live out your whole life as this character."

This June 17th, 75 FORBS members will attend the annual Christmas in June-themed Angels baseball game --- all of them clad in jolly red street clothes.

Now the organization is working together on practicing original storytelling in order to get even more bookings. FORBS Secretary Santa Michael Wubker says that when it comes to home visits, families want more than just a Santa who does much more than a reading of and a "Jingle Bells" sing-along. That means Santas are looking beyond 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to spin their own personal tales with character that leave an impression. Wubker, for example, came up with a full backstory about his faithful Elf pal Murray back at the North Pole, while another Santa carries around a chest filled with "pixie dust" that he tells the children has the power to help make the reindeer fly.

Joining the Christmas community often starts with friends and/or family members persuading a man to don the costume. "You're just an old guy with a long white beard until you put on the suit. And that's when the persona starts to come over you," says Wubker.

Spreading joy while wearing the proper attire can get pretty expensive. An aspiring Kris Kringle can drop $1000 on a red-velvet Coca-Cola ad style suit with buttons; and traditional (white fur) versions. They'll spend as much as $400 on thick belts with a shiny gold buckle and fine leather boots, and most of them will dye their hair platinum white.

The movie The Santa Clause? It was fine until the sequel, when the Big Guy knew every kid's name, thus setting up practically impossible expectations. "Tim Allen has given us a lot of tough moments," says Santa Callahan.

SOURCE:     

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Santa  Kevin

Not a member of either FORBS or IBRBS yet but looking into one or the other..any Suggestions all of you RBS?

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Santa Johnny Boy
6 hours ago, Kris Kringle Kevin said:

Not a member of either FORBS or IBRBS yet but looking into one or the other..any Suggestions all of you RBS?

To be honest with you, Santa Kevin,  living in Pittsburgh with very few Santas around I didn't see any benefit to belonging to either.  It's usually a long way to travel to attend an event.

I find everything I need just belonging to Clausnet :D.

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Santa Bill Reiller

If you look for background checks and liability insurance IBRBS has a good deal.  Some venues are asking for it.

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Eileen Strom

Unless things have changed with FORBS from their takeover back in 2011/2012, if you do not live in CA, NV or AZ, you can not become a member.

It is why IBRBS was formed...we belong to IBRBS.

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Santa  Kevin

Thanks everyone I think IBRBS is the route to go... I'll be downloading their application form and hopefully be a Member in July or August... depending on finances ....

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rdpugh
1 hour ago, Eileen Strom said:

Unless things have changed with FORBS from their takeover back in 2011/2012, if you do not live in CA, NV or AZ, you can not become a member.

It is why IBRBS was formed...we belong to IBRBS.

I just checked the FORBS website, and it says that the membership requirements have been revised to allow members from any state in the US.

 

I have been thinking about joining IBRBS because of the insurance and background check.

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Eileen Strom
19 minutes ago, rdpugh said:

I just checked the FORBS website, and it says that the membership requirements have been revised to allow members from any state in the US.

 

I have been thinking about joining IBRBS because of the insurance and background check.

Go with IBRBS...

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Santa Marty
7 minutes ago, Eileen Strom said:

Go with IBRBS...

Wot Eileen said.

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Santa Marty
40 minutes ago, rdpugh said:

I just checked the FORBS website, and it says that the membership requirements have been revised to allow members from any state in the US.

 

I have been thinking about joining IBRBS because of the insurance and background check.

Thanks for checking and updating us on this FORBS membership revision.  I was also under the impression that FORBS membership was only available in a few Western States.

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rdpugh
Just now, Santa Marty said:

Thanks for checking and updating us on this FORBS membership revision.  I was also under the impression that FORBS membership was only available in a few Western States.

I believe this is a fairly recent change.  I had read their website some time back, maybe a year ago or so, and they had the stipulation that you had to be in the area that Eileen mentioned.

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Santa Michael Sayyae

I am joining IBRBS later this month, They have more in the state of AZ where I live.

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Elf Without Jingles
17 hours ago, Santa Johnny Boy said:



I find everything I need just belonging to Clausnet :D.

Me too!

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