My first experience portraying Santa Claus was in December 2003. All I knew about Santa Claus was what we all know. I’d seen Santa in the movies, TV shows, and in kid’s books… that’s it. He’s jolly, laughs with a Ho Ho Ho, and wants to know what you want for Christmas. Nice children get gifts, Naughty children get coal.
I think that covers it. That’s everything I knew about Santa Claus, and I knew absolutely nothing about “being” Santa Claus.
Now, nearly 20 years later, I know a lot about Santa Claus. I also know a lot about portraying Santa. Over the years I have appeared as Santa many hundreds of times. I, as Santa, have talked with tens of thousands of children, and adults.
I’ve appeared in dozens of TV shows, commercials, movies & YouTube videos which have racked up more than a billion views.
By looking back on my experiences I can now see mistakes I have made along the way… and things that I learned over years, that those new to portraying Santa can now learn in a few hours, or a few days.
Here are 7 that came to mind very quickly:
- Thinking that portraying Santa Claus is all about the children. I have since learned that adults love Santa, and experiences with Santa, at least as much as children do. However, adults can be a bit more difficult to ‘warm-up’. Once I learned the ‘secrets’ to warming-up adults I found an entirely new way to spread the Christmas Spirit.
- Not asking the right questions to event planners. This applies primarily to big community events. The event organizers would ask me (Santa) to make announcements, give thank you’s, acknowledge dignitaries, etc. shortly before I would take the stage. I now ask questions about this when I accept the booking.
- Beard and mustache grooming. It took me 10 years to finally develop a beard grooming routine that I was happy with. You can watch the video under “Your Looks”.
- Not using questions as ice-breakers for children. When I discovered how to use questions to help establish rapport with children I became a much better Santa.
- Not having a refined ‘Sequence of Events’. Identifying & refining my ‘sequence of events’ for personal appearances produced a better experience for my clients and helped me more easily identify areas for improvement.
- Missing marketing opportunities. When I started working as a paid Santa. My business skyrocketed in 2012 & 13 when I ramped up Internet marketing. Anticipating the increase in virtual visits in 2020 I was ahead of the curve with my Internet marketing & it resulted in my best year ever.
- Not clarifying my “why” sooner. I instantly fell in love with ‘being’ Santa in 2003 at my first Santa appearance, but it took me more than 10 years to really get clear about WHY I love portraying Santa. Knowing that WHY has improved every aspect of my life.
I hope you find this list helpful.
I’m sure I’ll create another list soon, and probably another one to tow after that. To get notified of future posts and to access some Free educational sessions for Santa & Mrs. Claus portrayal artists be sure to become a member now. You can start with a FREE membership and upgrade later if you would like.
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