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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/21/2018 in Blog Entries

  1. 9 points
    It wasn’t a deliberate decision, but for the past two years I’ve been on Santa sabbatical. It’s felt a little weird, especially this year; kind of like the feeling an active church-goer gets when they’ve missed worship for a few Sundays. It’s like the rest of the week feels a little off when you’ve missed church. Stress has been a factor, along with my wife’s health struggles, and a recent transition from care center chaplaincy to serving a new church in a new town. I did some of my best “Santa-ing” at the care center, but also felt the biggest push-back I’ve ever experienced, from people whose strongly-held religious beliefs had convinced them that Santa was an inappropriate person to appear there (and that a pastor-type person had no business portraying him). There’s a lot more tolerance at my new setting, and health concerns aren’t nearly as big as they’ve been. So let’s raise a toast to the New Year, 2019, with the hope that it’s going to be a great year for all us Jolly Old Elves, Mrs. Clauses, elves and reindeer! Peace! Health! Love! Santa Dan
  2. 4 points
    ClausNet has, in my opinion, has always been an informative resource to Santas of all levels. In comparison with other social media, FB and other inter web Christmas enthusiasts sites and groups I get the perception that ClausNet is much kinder. Sure, we have spirited and vastly divided topics that are discussed. Some of which become very passionate and polarizing and emotionally driven. Let’s face it, as a Christmas enthusiast, we have certain levels of passion. Without that passion, I would not be motivated to blog, and you would not take the time to read it. Recently (not on CN) I have noticed an upsurge in what appears to me to be a bunch of old guys hanging around waiting for Christmas again and since its not here yet, have become grumpy or perhaps that is their natural tendency. I doubt they would participate in a poll or survey on my assumption but that if neither here nor there. On FB, in the last few weeks I have noticed Santa posting photos or their new suit, new boots, or something trade related. In variably someone chimes in with criticism. Blasting the poster photo, what he bought, how it fits, how they should NEVER wear boot spats, never this beard or that. Yes, granted some are asking outright for thoughts on the photo. This is good, its how we learn, how we make the best of what we got. To see someone (supposedly a brother in red) tear into their photo with a vengeance. There are ways that constructive criticism can and should be offered. Destructive criticism however, can suck the spirit right out of someone. It can cause hurt feelings, and in the very least not help. By using constructive criticism you can say the very same thing as a destructive critic without sucking the spirit out of someone. I am very glad that ClausNet offers more information than any school provides, the knowledge base is huge and growing daily. The information is here, you do have to work to seek it out it is not spoon fed and it is like finding that golden nugget that gives you that “aha” moment. ClausNet is so much Kinder and Gentler than most places but, it can only remain so by those who participate who keep their minds on being helpful and not hurtful. Thanks for reading. Santa Marty santaforhonolulu.com
  3. 3 points
    A Lesson in Storytelling: I have long collected history and story books on Christmas and Santa Claus. While this collection started out just for pure enjoyment, I now find these books a great resource to me in my portrayal. I was reminded on a recent family road trip of a very special book, after enjoying the audio version with the family. “Letters From Father Christmas” This is a collection of illustrated letters from “Father Christmas” recapping the activities of the preceding year at the North Pole. The letters were written by the author J.R.R. Tolkien (yes THAT J.R.R. Tolkien) to his children from 1920-1942. These letters, precious and creative gifts from a master storyteller, were shared with the world after his death and published in 1976. How lucky we are as a community, to have been gifted with a look at these special and person family treasures. Many historians believe that these letters and stories were some of the building blocks to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It’s even said that Gandalf had his early beginnings as Tolkien’s Father Christmas. I highly recommend you purchase a copy of these letters and even pick up the audio version. While I am not saying to copy the stories in your portrayal, it has always been clear that Tolkien created his worlds...he fleshed them out. From the battle of the goblins and elves, to the troubles of the polar bears, to the Arctic language and more, Tolkien helped make the North Pole and Father Christmas REAL for his own children. From his drawing to even the shakiness of his handwriting, he created layers of story. I believe this is what can be done, in our mind, at the ready, create your layers and depth of your character. It has been said, looking the part just is not enough. When I am portraying Santa Claus, it is my hope that my ramblings and details could only mean one thing to those I visit...that perhaps, just maybe... I really am Santa Claus. 🎅🏻
  4. 2 points
    Yes, I know that I promised myself to only post every week or so, but I can't help myself. This definitely doesn't fit in elsewhere in the Forum, but I thought you might enjoy it anyway. As I mentioned in my introduction, I am an Amateur Radio (HAM) Operator (KK4ETS), and have a number of contacts in that field. One of the local hams (Gary Pearce KN4AQ) wrote this variation of The Night Before Christmas. Not the only Ham Radio related version, but the only one by a person I have met personally. I've linked to a UTube of Gary reading the poem too. Enjoy! A Ham's Night Before Christmas 'Twas the night before Christmas, And all through two-meters, Not a signal was keying up Any repeaters. The antennas reached up From the tower, quite high, To catch the weak signals That bounced from the sky. The children, Tech-Pluses, Took their HT's to bed, And dreamed of the day They'd be Extras, instead. Mom put on her headphones, I plugged in the key, And we tuned 40 meters For that rare ZK3. When the meter was pegged by a signal with power. It smoked a small diode, and, I swear, shook the tower. Mom yanked off her phones, And with all she could muster Logged a spot of the signal And the DX Packet Cluster, While I ran to the window And peered up at the sky, To see what could generate RF that high. It was way in the distance, But the moon made it gleam - A flying sleigh, with an Eight element beam, And a little old driver Who looked slightly mean. So I thought for a moment, That it might be Wayne Green. But no, it was Santa, The Santa of Hams. On a mission, this Christmas, To clean up the bands. He circled the tower, Then stopped in his track, And he slid down the coax Right into the shack. While Mom and I hid Behind stacks of CQ, This Santa of hamming Knew just what to do. He cleared off the shack desk Of paper and parts, And filled out all my late QSLs For a start. He ran copper braid, Took a steel rod and pounded It into the earth, till The station was grounded. He tightened loose fittings, Resoldered connections, Cranked down modulation, Installed lightning protection. He neutralized tubes In my linear amp... (Never worked right before- Now it works like a champ). A new, low-pass filter Cleaned up the TV. He corrected the settings In my TNC. He repaired the computer That would not compute, And he backed up the hard drive And got it to boot. Then, he reached really deep In the bag that he brought, And he pulled out a big box. A new rig? I thought! A new Kenwood? An Icom? A Yaesu, for me?! (If he thought I'd been bad It might be QRP!) Yes! The Ultimate Station! How could I deserve this? Could it be all those hours That I worked Public Service? He hooked it all up And in record time, quickly Worked 100 countries, All down on 160. I should have been happy, It was my call he sent. But the cards and the postage Will cost two month's rent! He made final adjustments, And left a card by the key: "To Gary, from Santa Claus. Seventy-Three." Then he grabbed his HT, Looked me straight in the eye, Punched a code on the pad, And was gone - no good-bye. I ran back to the station, And the pile-up was big, But a card from St. Nick Would be worth my new rig. Oh, too late, for his final Came over the air. It was copied all over. It was heard everywhere. The Ham's Santa exclaimed What a ham might expect, "Merry Christmas to all, And to all, good DX." (c)1996 Gary Pearce KN4AQ Permission granted for any print or electronic reproduction.
  5. 2 points
    With all of the joy, love, wonder, and excitement that Christmas brings the "professional" Santa; it can, for some, bring a bit of sadness, anxiety, and overall depression too. Now, many might think, "What!? How can Santa be depressed...it's Christmas!" but it truly can happen and it's good to inventory those feelings and problem solve what an appropriate solution might be. Now, I'm not an experienced therapist nor do I hold a Phd. in any medical field but I did want to share some of my thoughts, experiences, observations, and get some things down on paper for my own benefit. We have seen on Clausnet the occasional discussion on what has been coined, the "Christmas Blues" or the immediate lull right after the busy season and the feelings experienced at this time. For me, personally, I had not experienced these post season feelings. I believe I was spared because life for me seems to run at full speed regardless, and I love to plan and start working on new Christmas projects in January. I have, interestingly enough, experienced PRE season blues from time to time. Why on earth would anyone have the blues BEFORE the season!? I must be pretty crazy...but a quick search found that I was not alone in the least. For me, there is so much planning, so much to do, there is just...SO MUCH! With the work on a Santa show this year, I have also found a financial drain with no guarantee to recoup any of that money, it's worth the risk because I love it. This has all been stressful though. Also, with a bleached beard, I continue to panic at every fallen hair, "WILL MY BEARD SURVIVE!?" "WILL IT ALL FALL OUT!?" "WHAT ABOUT ALL OF MY CLIENTS!?" "WHAT IF I GET SICK!?" "WHAT IF IT'S NOT WHITE!?" etc. There certainly is a lot that one can stress over, IF YOU CHOOSE, and many I'm sure, can relate. I think that one can actually plan too much, focus so much on the details, that there has not been a chance to breath, to rest, or just a quick relax. This is where I'm trying to find balance this year. Not going at 150% ALL of the time...I cannot afford to burn out, and I certainly cannot afford to drop dead of a heart attack. This balance and "relax time" is something I am truly making an effort to make time for...it is SO important. My friends, make that time for you and your loved ones. I've tried to put together a few things I have found and hope that it will help you before, during, and after the season. As I tend to tell my wife who constantly goes at 200%, "You cannot give others what you don't have to give." This goes along with what we are doing too. Keep your inner wells filled my friends, and you can continue to give to others. Let that well run dry, and you will have nothing to offer. Here we go: 1. Keep your expectations balanced. We all have the perfect Christmas and the perfect season in our minds, it's okay if you don't quite reach that...set your goals and move towards them and you will be a better Santa. If we don't all have our seasons looking like a Norman Rockwell painting...that's okay too, this gives you something to shoot for next year! It's not all in our control and perfection, is a pretty hard thing to achieve...I never have. 2. Don't try to do too much. I look at my schedule this season and I want to slap myself. I would get off the phone with a panicked and desperate individuals pleading for me to fit them into my schedule..."Sure, I guess I can manage to fit that party in the afternoon before my morning and evening event." WHAT!?? My friends, scheduling and taking on too many tasks can dampen the spirits. Learn to say no, delegate where possible and manage your time wisely. If you choose to do less you will have more energy to enjoy the most important part of the season - friends and family, and making a difference! No amount of money is worth your life. 3. Don't isolate. We sure do go from extremes. We can be the center of attention and life of the party and some Santas, might find themselves going home to a quiet home. If you're feeling left out, then get out of the house and find some way to join in. There are hundreds of places you can go to hear music, enjoy the sights or help those less fortunate...not as Santa...but as YOU! 4. Don't overspend. I have long sense had an issue with some of the "professional Santas" ...to me, it seems that some Santas do not see themselves as being a successful Santa unless they have something to sell the rest of us Santas, their events were not enough, their market was not big enough...let's sell TO the Santas! We do NOT all need to make something to sell, sometimes it just looks like a few are just trying too hard. We do not need to buy everything that sparkles before our eyes, (although, Eileen's Buckles look amazing!) Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Remember it's not about the "stuff", it's about what's in your heart. 5. It's appropriate to mourn if you're separated from or have lost loved ones. If you can't be with those you love make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together. My children are young, but I could see at some point, traveling off to some far off land to portray Santa...at this point, I am home with my family. Connect with your loved ones or schedule to do so. You'd be surprised how much a phone call, or even a journal entry or card can help. 6. Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad weather. Using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day can lessen this type of depression called SAD (seasonal effectiveness disorder). We can't all be like Santa Marty, wearing Santa shorts to visit the beach! You'd be surprised how much this can help. 7. Watch your diet and remember to exercise. When it comes to dieting...I'm your Santa! You can watch what I do...and just do the opposite! Ho, Ho, Ho! t's normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods effect your mood. If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down. It can be very helpful to take a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal. We need to keep that metabolism up! Just think of all of those children (germ containers). 8. Be aware of the Post Holiday Syndrome. When all the hustle and bustle suddenly stops and you have to get back to the daily grind it can be a real let down. Ease out of all the fun by planning a rest day toward the end of the season. My family does sacrifice so that I can do quite a bit in portraying Santa and attending my events. After the holidays there is always the announcement of a family vacation. Somewhere fun, to celebrate and spend time together. 9. You are NOT Santa. Oh man, did that hurt? Let me say it again, You are NOT Santa. Wait, what? Oh you changed your name to Santa Claus...okay, then...uh...hmmmm...YOU are still NOT SANTA. I will not say that being the center of attention isn't fun or isn't even addicting to some...but you must be very careful with this. Coming to expect this, or even seeking it when there is no need is just asking for issues to pop up when the season is over. Now, perhaps you dress as Santa year round, this is a marketing choice for you...just remember, there is someone else inside. Give yourself opportunities to relax, and NOT be at the center of everything...take a moment NOT to dress in red. 10. Learn forgiveness and acceptance. If some of your relatives, friends, or even fellow Santas have acted out or made you feel bad, chances are that won't change. If you know what you're getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons. We teach people how to treat us and we teach ourselves how to react to others. You are far better off being like that amazing duck, letting the water just run down your back...of course, the guys at Duck Dynasty just blew it to smithereens, but you get the idea my friends! Ho, Ho, Ho! I wish you the very best of seasons my Clausnet family. YOU are amazing, and YOU have the potential to do so much good, to change lives for the better, and truly make a difference. I encourage you all to review the Oath, reflect on your own Christmas memories and favorite times, for you believers...remember the reason for the season, it is THAT love that you share with those that need it. Be active. While the season brings a hectic schedule for many of us, take a few moments here and there to visit us and share your adventures. Merry Christmas! Santa Johnathan
  6. 2 points
    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.
  7. 2 points
    It has been quite a while since I have written about anything regarding Santa Claus for our community. That I am going to try to remedy with this article that I hope will be found to be light hearted, yet thought provoking. This is to be the first of many of these types of items that I am going to tentatively title “Mistletoe Musings.” In many groups such as ours (whether historical, theatrical, or literary) there are those who seek higher learning and understanding of what the subject is about. I feel it should be no different in the study of Santa Claus. To get the clear picture of whom he is and what he represents only benefits the portrayals of each of us. He is more than a doddering old man or town drunk as depicted in popular interpretation. Santa is something more. I hope you will enjoy pondering these ideas, and by doing so may we grow closer as a community as we endeavor to portray our beloved Santa. The Rudolph Question Every Santa Season we are asked about that one particular reindeer who’s known as the “most famous reindeer of all.” Everyone knows the other eight. But they are dismissed when it comes to that one little fellow with the glowing red nose – Rudolph. Thanks to a popular song by Johnny Marks, an RKO cartoon, and several Rankin Bass Christmas specials he has become as inseparable to Santa as the Jolly Old Elf’s big black boots. Rudolph is a part of the Christmas canon now, and there seems that there is no child worldwide that doesn’t know his name and story. Rudolph was born in the mind of Robert L. May way back in 1939. May’s poem was used as an advertising blitz by Montgomery Wards – or “Monkey Wards” as they were popularly called. And the original story is very different than that of the little reindeer and his elven friend and dentist who travels to the Island of Misfit Toys. Copies are still readily available, and I suggest if you haven’t read it that you do. Rudolph and his story have been everywhere, even to the Hit Parade by both Gene Autry and Burl Ives respectfully. His has become one of the most recorded Christmas songs in history. Since Christmas 1939, Rudolph has been a part of every child’s visions of the Christmas Eve flight. Even at the age of 74, Rudolph still leads Santa’s team across the sky and into the hearts of children of all ages. I have often pondered the role of Santa’s partner in relation to other companions he has in various incarnations across the globe. He is definitely less threatening than Krampus – the devil like figure of many Alpine countries who accompanies St. Nicholas and takes care of the naughty children. He is definitely cleaner than Schmutzli – the helper of Samischlaus in eastern Europe who not only carries the sack of goodies but also makes sure the chimneys are clean and children are behaved. He is much less controversial than Zwarte Piet or “Pete” – Sinterklaas’ helper in the Netherlands who assists him attired in black face paint and colorful clothes and has become a sign of racial prejudice. No, Rudolph’s presence is both practical and benevolent. Not only does he teach that differences are to be celebrated, but that everyone’s talents, no matter what they are, are relevant. Rudolph proves that being different is being great – a lesson that children of all ages can use. While in the chair this past Christmas I was asked all about Rudolph by one little fellow who was eager to learn. I, of course, explained that Rudolph is doing very well and he does remain very active on foggy and inclement Christmas Eves. The youngster was very happy to hear that. Jokingly, I also said that he has become quite a snob thanks to the song and movies about him. I furthered the story by explaining that the elves can’t even get his autograph these days. The little fellow laughed. But I reassured them that Santa still loves him and all the other reindeer love him too. When asked how old the reindeer was I responded that this would be his 74th Christmas flight. The little fellow’s eyes grew large and he ran to tell his parents in his excitement. I am sure Rudolph would approve of this telling of his story. Rudolph’s story and character hold something for everyone and are equally loved. So, remember to tell the little ones you meet about that dear of a deer and what he means to old Santa. His story is one that is inspiring and should be told. And when you are asked about your favorite cookie, be sure to remind the little ones to think of the reindeer. Rudolph loves an extra carrot – it helps his battery charge so his nose will glow even brighter through the Christmases to come!
  8. 1 point
    After multiple hacks, clones, excessive drama, I have closed my FB accounts. There is an element of freedom in doing so, and I am glad it is done, fine', over, quit, outahere. Mainly, I am frustrated with FB's lack of interest in controlling cloning accounts. It is as though they simply don't care, or perhaps they are producing the clones themselves to have Billions of accounts, and boost their advertising revenue. What ever the case may be, I'm done playing the game and taking my marbles and going home.
  9. 1 point
    Today was a productive day, sort of. I started the day by re-bleaching my beard, which I haven't done over most of the summer. Since my beard tends to be grey anyway, it wasn't strictly necessary until later in the season. But the reason I did so is the next thing: At the request of one of the photographers that I will working with this season, I visited her in-home studio to do a practice photo session with her kids, to generate some promo shots for use on her website and my own. Since this is my first year, and I don't have pics with kids yet, I was willing to do this on an otherwise unused Saturday morning. I don't know if I'd be quite so willing to do this if I had more experience, and a collections of photos to post. But I might, since relationships like this can be useful. As a beginning Santa Claus, I am learning that there are a lot of moving parts to this occupation. Care and feeding of reindeer, toy manufacturing, bell jingling, not to mention working with things like GigSalad, PayPal, and so forth. I was on the phone with one of my gigs yesterday, and found that she could not make a payment on my personal PayPal page, since she didn't have a PayPal account. She suggested that I try a business account. So I did, and it was easy. Learn something new every day.
  10. 1 point
    " One word only. What's one word you could give a new Santa or Mrs. Claus that is starting out that sums it all up? " I found this an interesting thought project! My answer was "Build". My one word of advice, "Build". But what did I mean? What do you "Build"? (Another word for "Build" would be "Develop") and so the the source for this particular blog. Lets begin at the start, shall we? When you first decided to portray "Santa" you needed to put together the look you will present as Santa Suits look pretty much the same all over with slight differences in detail, material used in construction of it and the items you accessorize the basic Suit with such as Belt, Buckle, Boots, pins, buttons, Beard, hat, Bag and bells. That is about it except.... clientele, presentation, advertising and building your business. Build your appearance by taking care with the selection of your Suit and materials making it. continue to build your appearance with Grooming your Hair, Beard and health. Since all of these are in a constant state of repair or maintenance Look in the Tool box and see what tools you have to work with here. Do you sew? Do you have some one that does? Hair care, do you understand how the chemicals you would be using on your head and face! Finally do you have qualified contractors on hand near by that can do that job for you charging a reasonable price for the service? That should cover the "Building" part, yes? No! Build your presentation. Build your "Act" as "Santa" that you will present to the Audience you perform for. Private Family visit, Corporate Employee Christmas Party. Corporate Customer Promotion party, Strolling Santa in a Store or Mall, Sitting in a Chair in a Mall as the subject focus in a "Three and Done!" photo opportunity or televisiting in a Children's Hospital or visiting an Adult Assisted care for Memory challenged (along with many more various situations). Better get out that tool box and see what tools you have to work with.and remember, if all you have is a hammer, your approach to every problem will be to pound them. Look to stock your tool chest with tools that will finesse the project rather than beat it to death with your "Mighty Ho, Ho, HO!" hammer. Having a Story telling Flat head Screw driver combined with a Carol singing Phillips head screw driver combined with an adjustable wrench stock of all purpose answers ready for those questions that seem to come every year. Don't forget to store a quantity of Nails, Screws and fasteners of various size and color as the best Hammer still needs a nail to pound to make something. Otherwise all you can do is tear down/beat down/Break down instead of build. All done?? NOOooooo! Not yet! Build your Clientele and Contacts! This takes different tools to build those circuits and maintain that transmission of information flowing. This is going to take a different type of tools but building this is very important as well to any growing Business. First you will need to have some Advertising "Brushes" to "Paint" your business with. Small brushes like Business cards well designed work here. Wider brushes would be press releases, Flyers, and developing a social media presence. From there you could look into an "Area Sprayer" to cover larger areas such as a well designed web page, mining your Email accounts, Wrapping your vehicle with contact information and pictures of your presentation then using (judiciously) constant contact to notify clients about your product. So the kind of tools you would use for this part of your Building project would be in the form of Pliers to hold the attention of your clientele while you connect them to your products. You will also need a supply of connectors and a few Splicing tools as well. So keep in mind when you go out to portray Santa for the Public, you want to build a beautiful modern Home and Office to work from. Try to be a step up from a rustic outhouse lacking running water, electricity and wifi. So pick up that tool box, look inside to see what you might need to add to it and then look at the project you have built with an eye to what and where you can add to make it better. Finally once you have your own house in order with tight doors and tight roof with a dry basement, You are ready to look around and offer help to others still working on their "Building" and stocking their tool box. This is called Mentoring. May your season be Joyous! Yours, Gordon Bailey SatBobS.com
  11. 1 point
    Everyone has an idea what it takes to be Santa. They then go forward to follow that idea into reality. Where the fantasy meets reality is where some problems occur. No matter how you conduct your Santa performance service, you are conducting one of two different things in the eyes of the IRS. You are either spending your money on an expensive hobby which you are not allowed to write off OR you are operating a business Which has to show a profit 1 out of 3 years or as my accountant says 2 out of 5. In the eyes of the local city and county tax offices, if you advertise you are operating a business and need proper permits and licenses. Some think starting an LLC will protect them and their property but as has been shown, that does not exactly work the way some folks think it will. Everything used under the LLC is up for grabs. Vehicle, Equipment down to the lap top and cell phone used in the business is up for grabs when you rely on a LLC to protect you. If your actions go beyond the coverage of a LLC it can be pierced and all your personal assets are then up for grabs as well. In many states personal liability insurance is a better protection for the cost all the way around. Your presentation will determine your market and your abilities will determine your share of that market. As Santa we are portraying a fictional character the image of which is fixed in much of the public's mind and shown in movies and pictures and books dating back to 1822. Currently for the last 12 years there has been a push to alter that image by including/merging the image of Father Christmas from the "Old World". Nothing wrong with that but you are now competing with an established image that is being exported to those "Old World" countries that are importing the traditional Santa image and the folks at home that want the "Rankin Bass" image. I have strongly suspected this used as a way to "separate" one presentation from the crowd of "Clones" in order to breakout and win market share based upon a "New and Fresh" look or gimmick such as any new "Bling" that will set your Santa image apart from the crowd. This is the easy path to being different or individual as a performer. I advocate a better and stronger way to separate yourself from the herd. Be a better performer. Unfortunately that takes study, effort and work on your part over and above putting on a different looking suit or belt or accessory. It takes personal development in order to stand out.as a performer portraying the role of "Santa". You need to actually develop and expand the basic character and bring it to life right in the venue you are performing in be it a corporate party, a mall set or a living room. You have to step into that role when recognized on the street or in a store or at the gas station even if not in the Suit. How do you do this? By studying the traditions and history of the character. It is all there and several schools can help you with this but essentially it happens when you decide to take this activity seriously, like a business. Some use this as a path to spread their personal religious beliefs and sense of moral behavior which is not counter to the role we portray. It is when we begin to use the role and our religion and or our political beliefs to beat on others that is not acceptable. A Santa is a Santa first keeping in mind we are there for the children and keeping the fantasy of the fictional character alive during their short years of believing in that wonderful fantasy. The message we bring is for all ages but the sector of the public that is our most important demographic is children. if not for them, we would be a footnote and nice story made into movies. Remember that the next time you are tempted to beat on some other "Santa" that does not eet up with your personal expectation of how he should act or look or conduct his business. Instead of beating on him (or her) for their presentation as a Christmas performer, let this become an open door for you to help another learning how to be better. Make the effort to instill an idea, educate someone that has a poor image in their mind of what we do by educating the people in the public about what it is we do. Make this a better performance and world one person at a time. In the process you will become Outstanding in how you portray and perform the role of Santa, Mrs Claus, Elf or any of the many various roles that are Christmas Season venues. Strive to be the best and help those you come in contact become better as well. In this fashion you will become an Amazing Santa. A Mentor to others and someone that has made the industry better for it. May your season be Joyous! Yours, Gordon Bailey SatBobS.com
  12. 1 point
    The most recent change in how Bass Pro Shops handle their Christmas seasonal business has once again inspired people to grab a handy soap box and pontificate upon how "They" would prefer the Bass Pro Shop Corporation to do business the way "They" would prefer since the "Bone head Greedy new guys in charge" obviously do not know what they are doing. Besides it affected "My" pocket book! "This will come back to hurt their business!" and often seen "It is all the fault of (someone that has absolutely no fault or power in the business decision currently happening) and that person should be eliminated!" (That last is one of my personal favorites! I spend many a happy hour trying to figure out how anyone outside of the top corporate structure has any power to sway managed to effect such a change.) But then I am easily amused. The path to success is not to bemoan the loss of the past opportunities. It is in looking and examining the present and all it entails to find a situation that might help you achieve that success once again in a different way. To all that this event and others that have happened in the past and for those who will be affected adversely in the near future when other changes in the way the people that hire us to portray the role of "Santa Claus" go into effect, You have my heartfelt condolences. That and $12 will buy you a large coffee at Starbucks. Maybe. The point is the ONLY constant in any field of business is CHANGE. Change is constant and comes in many small and occasionally large ways every day. There is one aspect to this process that every individual has a great deal of power and control over this situation and that is in how you deal with it. That lesson can be used in every part of your life! I certainly used that attitude in my recent battle with Cancer and also in how I operate my personal business which is the "Santa and the Business of being Santa" school. Faced with no fewer than 30 new Schools, Symposiums, Round Tables, Colleges, Conservatories and Universities (opened since Feb.2014 when my school popped into existence) chose to call a Spade a Spade when describing my educational effort. It is a technical School for people that wish to learn the basic issues, a lot of the intermediate concepts and a few of the advanced ideas involved in this business of being a professional Independent Contractor Entertainer from one that has been exactly that for 39 years as of 2017. That has proven to be a good way to advertise what I actually have to offer but a poor example to "sell" my school as a lot of people prefer to be made "Amazing", "Outstanding", "Extraordinary" or any of the other "buzzword" claims you usually hear on "Ronco" television ads for "Turnip Twaddlers". The reason for this is simple. No one can do this except the person that is taking the class. It does not matter where or from who you get your information from as long as it is factual and up to date, the only person that can make you any of those titles is (look in the mirror) You!. Since I refuse to go down the same path as all my competitors in the "Santa/Christmas Entertainer/Mrs. Claus/Seasonal Worker/Independent Contractor Entertainer" educational field of technical school education, I looked for other ways to stand out (sometimes in the rain) from the crowd as something different in how it operates and what it teaches. This is how I have broken new ground in the area of "Santa Schools". I decided to write a book that would cover the spectrum of what we would run up against when starting out in this field of work that covers the first 3 years rather well. Actually I wanted to do an updated "Big Book of Santa" like Victor Nevada did up in Canada which he finished shortly before his death. I very nearly joined him by the time I finished the third volume of the Textbooks used in the school. (I think it may have something to do with writing a book over 575 pages or a set of same at 600 pages.) Well with the updated and expanded editions of the three volume set now out, (and available through Amazon and quality book vendors near you on the internet) I have brought that to the community while managing to avoid the dying part for now. The second way I have gone and done something very different is I took steps to make sure my school would last beyond my (then best medical advice and estimate) expiration date. That date is currently back in the "Unknown" box but the steps were taken and remain in place. Basically I franchised my school to others in vastly different areas across the US and Canada. No other school has tried this experiment and this is the first year of the franchise being offered. In simple terms I made an offer that the very qualified individuals I offered it to they simply could not refuse on financial terms. First year free! Yup the franchise in 2017 for those that take it get the ability to kick the tires and run the shop for free this year. After that, if they decide to continue the agreement, they then will have to make a franchise royalty payment on December 30 of each following year they decide to run the school again. They get the printing at cost for the textbooks used in their classes, and they have a proven curriculum they can follow. Oh, if you are interested in the details, I am currently looking for instructors in the UK, Australia, Europe and anywhere else that imports or uses the Character "Santa Claus". Sorry this is not a school on how to be "Father Christmas" or any other permutation of St. Nicholas. He is a distinctly different kind of portrayal and the focus of this school is on being "Santa" in the country of the origin of the character and those countries that currently import him. The concept of a Technical school teaching to a focused industry bringing information to the students from Professionals experienced in the field of study is nothing new. Nor is that concept restricted to the realm of performers. It is an interesting exercise in learning just how much experience on the part of the instructor teaching the class is involved. In several cases this issue is side stepped by the use of hiring or otherwise gaining the services of someone that does hold the required level of experience applicable to the study of the subject involved. That too has been going on for quite some time back in the southeast portion of the US and now on Video instruction. In Either case, as long as the students receive fair value and actually benefit from the information passed along, it is a good way to learn. The concept of a "Traveling" school is also nothing new. Consider the movie "The Music Man" and you see both the benefits and the possible pitfalls. Tim Connaghan's IUSC was avery innovative and surprising method of bringing a quality and quantity of information and education to our community Besides his and my own offering there are or were at least 4 other such schools that were in operation and or continue. Look for Susen Mesco to bring her teachings on the road in 2018. The single one thing that truly set SatBobS apart from all other school up until this year was the policy over the previous 4 years of operation no class booked was ever cancelled due to lack of attendance being the ONLY school that would teach classes of One (1). Sadly due to the shift of operation with the franchised Instructors, that particular part of the class operation has been removed for the current year. When starting the school I looked hard at what was currently offered back in 2014. One day workshops were to limiting in duration to cover the amount of material I wished to present and so I chose to bring out a 2 day class which eventually grew to include 16 hours of interactive lecture. The textbooks were a work in progress during this time and so the price of the class reflected that as well. LAst year I capped the price of the school at $250 per full student There is also a "Sponsored" student option where the sponsored student shares the textbook of the Sponsoring student. This has been popular with Married couples. Unless or until another Textbook becomes published that is where the price of the SatBobS School will remain for the foreseeable future. January of 2018 it is my (hopeful) intention to have each announce their schedule of classes and starting in February we would begin teaching classes at the rate of 1 class a month if there is a response from the market. Each instructor will be traveling in his or her territory so that will maintain the classification of "traveling" school but the volume of classes will increase from 9 a year when I was the only instructor to a maximum of 45 classes happening some where near your area during the February through October school season. As I said there are three textbooks included in the full tuition price. The first book, Santa And The Business Of Being Santa, focuses on the business end of things, covering things like what separates a hobbyist from a professional Santa, being a performer and a Santa, negotiating contracts, pricing your services, ethics, taxes, and a lot more. The second book in the series, The Nuts And Bolts Of Being Santa, talks about things like Santa schools, companies that hire Santas, costumes, beards and wigs, and the people and services that support us in doing this job . Book 3, Santa And The Performing Santa, is filled with great information including the lyrics to Christmas songs, magic tricks, props, Santa’s elves, story telling and a lot more. Over 85 different chapters that are included covering the industry we work in. So included in the tuition are the three textbooks, 16 hours of interactive lecture, a diploma, and 12 months of question answering "mentoring" for the one price. There are several other benefits attached to the school but suffice to say for the price, you will be hard pressed to find an offering equal to this school. Yes there are some schools that offer more at a higher price. There are also schools that offer less at a comperable price. You pays your money and takes your chances. May your Season be Joyous! Yours, Santa Gordon Bailey SatBoBs.com
  13. 1 point
    this is now our second semester of sign language classes and what a difference. Holy Cow! once you've passed the initial beginners course, there is no more nice and slow pace action. Last semester our instructor was a deaf man who at one time had been hearing so he was able to vocalize his explanations and wishes. This semester his wife is teaching those of us who are supposedly seasoned signers. Talk about culture shock. She is quick and totally deaf. SO... we are definitely in the "jump in the deep end and learn to swim as quickly as possible or drown" stage. On top of that, Bill and I had missed the first 2 classes due to moving my daughter to New Haven, CT and then attending the St. Nicholas School at the St Nicholas Institute in Livonia, MI. Those of you who know me know that I talk rather quickly ( as Bill says all Yankees do). Well that's how our instructor talks- really fast but in sign language. I know i sat there with a look of total befuddlement, trying desperately to keep my lower jaw from dropping open and fake it as best as possible. I had to laugh at myself. When Bill and I are in the speaking community, I sometimes sign to him if I don't want those around us to know what I am saying. Well i found myself looking across the room and signing to him-- "You ok? did you get that?" Only thing is-- everyone there knew exactly what I was saying. lol hmmm no secrets in that room. I must say it's a little daunting to be surrounded by a class of much younger classmates who grasp things faster and whose fingers don't complain about the contortions i am trying to put them through. So this week and weeks to follow it will be intense practice and maybe an investment in some aspercream for these old arthritic fingers. Lately my 2 favorite signs are "forgot" and " I know nothing" (Col Klink style). with a dash of "grumpy" just for good measure. well on ward and upward. the adventure continues.
  14. 1 point
    What makes a Santa? It’s not whether you have a real beard or a designer beard. It’s not whether you’re plump or a skinny right jolly old elf. It’s not whether you have the suit that cost hundreds of dollars or the economical suit right out of the box. It’s not based on how many appearances you make each year. It’s not based on how much money you make or charity organizations you help. It’s not based on how many Santa groups or organizations you belong to or if you can sing and carry a tune. The true making of a Santa, Mrs. Claus or an Elf is in the heart. That’s right it comes from the heart. It does not matter when it happened, whether just this year or many many sleigh rides ago. At some time we all got the calling to become a Santa helper. For those of you that have the true gift in your heart you understand what I am talking about when I say you got the calling. I still have the very first letter given to me as Santa from a child. Still remember the smiles and the twinkle in the children’s eye’s the first time I portrayed Santa. And I still remember the first heart tugging request that was made by a little girl that I knew could not be fulfilled by a mere mortal in my Santa outfit. There is a reason why we do what we do. From playing Santa Claus or the supporting roles of Mrs. Claus and elves all the way to even reindeer costumes. And that my reader is simply what comes to each of us in sharing and giving the simple gift we bring of joy. As the season approaches I say a prayer for each and every one of you. For a safe trip if your traveling away from family to support a mall or just a few miles to do some smaller visits. I pray for your safe travels and that the true meaning of Christmas been seen through you in each and every child from 1 to 92 and beyond. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! Santa Brian Voyles
  15. 1 point
    Just got back from a lovely trip, travelling from my home in Saint Albans, West Virginia, across the state of Kentucky and to Santa Claus, Indiana. To me, this town is the cradle for most of what we as "modern" Santas do today. A good part of the protocols of being Santa began in that wonderful place. As he has told me before in conversation, Phil Wenz reiterrated what could be referred to as "Yellig's Rules of Being Claus" to the attendees. For the sake of this entry I want to dwell on the first rule which is research. Santa Jim (as does Santa Phil now) believed in researching the character to know who you were portraying and why. You might call that mechanics. And indeed this does make sense. Think of yourself, what do you know about yourself? Hopefully, a whole lot. You should be able to tell everyone all about yourself. Well, as we "become" Santa we should be able to do the same thing with him. In doing so we invite the children both young and old into the world of Santa, into a world that they will either believe in or will reject. I have witnessed too many Santas that have failed to bring realism to their role because of a lack of knowledge about Santa. Ultimately, as ambassadors to childhood and childlike faith we need to do the very best we can to instill belief and overall hope. Maybe it was the atmosphere, maybe it was the presentation, or maybe it was the spirit of Santa Jim whispering in my ear the other day. The question kept coming to me, even though I have spent and continue to spend much of my free time learning about this person I become. Who is "my" Santa? How does my portrayal relate to that of Saint Nicholas? How does my portrayal relate to that of even Santa Jim or Charlie Howard? How does my portrayal connect with that of Santa Jay Long, my mentor Santa? I have thought hard about this, and I want to share with you what I have come up with so far. The bond that connects my portrayal to theirs is first and foremost a love for others. A Santa has to first and foremost love others, children and adults. At the same time, my character portrayal is a mixture of the facts. I portray Santa in a spiritual way, honoring not only Nicholas but also Christ. I portray him as a humble toymaker, which is also something that does go back to Nicholas and other traditions. I picture and relate to him as a man who has travelled the world bringing joy and love, migrating from his home to the remote North where he can find solitude and peace. Are there really elves? Well, I like to call them helpers. What about reindeer? Not always does Santa use them. Do I know about where both of these come from? Yes, because I am Santa and I need to know. But in all things, I do my best to make him a living and breathing person for those who visit with me. And in all that I do or show, I make sure they feel the love that Santa has for them. This is going to be a question that I truly ponder for a while. Very deeply. I think it is one that we all should ponder. Who is "your" Santa? And may we all grow and aid one another with our findings.
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