Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Staying in Bed Getting Well

Well I spent all of Tuesday in Bed. I had called Mrs. Claus and was able to get out go online. Then I was able to type to her to call Cherry Hill and explain to them what was going on. It hurt so much to even try to talk early in the day and I was fighting fever. I was finally getting the Fever to break and felt like I could talk a little when Lupita called and let me know they had a Santa to take my place and that I should probably take an extra day off to make sure I am ready and healthy. It really amazes me all of the precaution that I have tried to take building up my immune system with expensive dietary supplements, taking 4000mg of vitamin C daily taking an airborne daily. I even went and got a flew shot before I left. And here I wind up catching a bug anyway. I could pretty much pinpoint where it came from too. A young lady who was sitting on my lap I had my hand on her back and could feel the heat coming off of her like she was a stove, I even felt it through my Santa Pants which are very thick. Oh well we are getting over it now. I just do not like the idea that if I am sitting there that I may be passing a bug on to children, and I sure do not want to see any kids get siclk

I reluctantly agreed and then I did have breakfast with him here at the Holiday Inn Express, this morning. He works at a mall in El Centro where they have 4 fake bearded Santa's that they rotate. It makes me wonder how they pull that one off. So this morning I was still feeling some of the after effects of this bug, so I went to Wal-Mart and picked up some Alieve for the body aches, and some tussin cf for nasal decongestion and minor cough. I sarted feeling a whole lot better. I have not lost my voice all day, sure it sounds a little gravely but it has not disapeared.

I was pulling out of the motel so that I could get my suit and extra pair of pants out of the dry cleaners, and some lunch. The GM and Sales Manager for the Holiday Inn Express here had been shopping. Tonight is the managers reception here at the Motel. Well I had been asked about what I drank and I let it be known that the strongest thing Santa drinks is hot cocoa. So these sweet ladies picked up a gift package of hot cocoa, six different boxeswith six packages in each double fudge, french vanilla, caramel, mint, rasberry, and supreme. There is only 140 calories in each envelope with fat calories at 30. 3 grams of protien and 26 grams of carbs. This could turnanta into a bad boy.

So I picked up my suits from the dry cleaners and went into Denny's restaurant for Lunch. After they had found a place for me to sit, as I was looking over the menu 2 little ones may 4 & 5 years old came up and said to me "hello Santa Claus, we celebrate chanuka". I let them know that I was good with that because it is all about sharing the love peace and happiness anyway.
I went back over to their taqble and offered that I Met Santa Claus stickers, and was then able to thank mom and dad for letting them come over to see me. I was glad to have the extra day so as to give my voice a break.

I did attend the mangers reception this evening they put out little sandwiches chips dips and some deserts, as well as beverages. They have Yahtzee , dominos and one of my favorite board games called sequence. It felt good to just do something different even if it was only for 1 1/2 hours it was a nice break So now I feel like I am ready to get back to visiting the Children starting tommorrow.
Now I will get to bed early so that I am fresh for Tommorow

Monday, November 28, 2005


Sit downs today was 53 which was probably 53 too many if any of those little people get sick I will be feeling awful. Talked to my doc this evening and I have brought the cure with me.

That brings the total for this season to 1320 good night

Sunday, November 27, 2005

If You Can't Say Something Nice Don't Say Anything

While I was growing up that was one of the things that I got from my mother but do not always apply and this is probably one of those times I should. I understand parents wanting to get their child's photo with Santa but there is a time period for a lot of children probably from 18 months to 3 years that these children are not at all interested in some big guy with a Red Suit on it is frightening to them. So we try to keep the parents happy. If we have a child that even looks a little bit afraid we ask the parent to back them up to Santa and set the child down then step aside. We try to take the first shot possible after the parent moves away. We also have already explained or attempted to explain that if the child doesn't fuss then we can try for a smile.

Now I get to see a lot of different types of parents with these children. There is the parent who clearly sees this child is not going to sit still for this and is still trying to make sure the dress is perfect or the pants are in the right position. Standing directly in front of the camera so as to make it impossible to get that quick photo before the child starts crying. Then they insist on trying to get a photo of there child not fussing.

Then there is the parent who has a child that is already coming up to Santa kicking and screaming and they put this terrified youngster in Santa's lap, now we are supposed to get a smile.

The ones that really get me are the parents with infants who are fussing and the parents still want a photo, but the kicker here is while the parents are picking out the photo the want they leave the child fussing in Santa's arms.

Combine this with the parent that makes Santa out to be the bad guy. If you are not good you will not get anything for Christmas. No wonder some of these children are so horribly terrified by Santa until they get to be eight or nine years old. I had one come in today who was actually seeing Santa for the first time without any fear and she was nine years old.

The event that triggered this blog happened later in the day, dad was in the mall with his two sons about 5 & 6 years old, and his daughter who appeared to be about 3. He had the two boys get up on my lap and then was trying to force the little girl into coming up to Santa as well, she was so terrified that there was no way dad was going to get a good photo. So the four of them left the Santa set and the so called dad did what had me just boiling. He smacked the little girl and told her to go away as he pushed the stroller with the two boys walking with him. They had stayed in the area of the Santa set and I was thinking I should just take a quick break when the dad brought the two boys back and pretty much was forcing the photo on the boys.

Now when things are slow and I see a little one waiting who appears to be a little afraid I go up and shake mom or dads had and say something like it has been awhile since I have seen them and then ask the child to give me five. Then I can gradually warm the child up and most of the time can get them on my lap for a photo. I have been able to do this to the point where the child did not want to leave. They have really decided that Santa was a good guy and they are not terrified anymore.

Ok on the brighter side we had 234 visitors to the Santa set today and number 200 was a little girl who told me she just wanted to go to Disneyland for Christmas. So out total visits for the season is up to 1,267.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Real Believers???????

The WOW warm up this morning was alright, I finally had convinced one of the assistant managers from Cherry Hill to attend. And we were at standard # 14 it was perfect. Smile - we are always on stage. Maintain positive eye contact and use phrases such as "Good Morning, Certainly, I'll be happy to". Avoid using such phrases as "Yeah, Nope" and other slang words.
One thing for sure is that Santa is always on a very noticeable stage, and and needs to be of good cheer at all times.

Then I was asked to share some infromation I received in an e-mail from one of the Santa organizations I belong to. A television station in southern California must have been real bored and had decided to make Santa look bad. They had an actor apply for a position as a mall Santa using the name of a deceased convicted pedophile, then made the mall and the photo company look bad for not doing a background check on the Santa. So now it is possible that other media people will be attempting to do there own stories about Bad Santa's. So this Santa doesn't even want to see any media people around. It is good to know that there are people in the administration office who have been trained in how to deal with these problems. My guess is the producer probably did not get what he or she had asked for one year way back when. This Santa has been through several backround checks and I am sure that if anyone really needed the information to do another one on me I would have absolutely no problem with it.

There was a time when the mall or department store Santa was someone who could not get any real work and was willing to put on the fake beard and suit to get enough money for his next bottle of booze and pack of smokes. In recent years since more and more real bearded Santa's have appeared on the scene, we have worked hard at maintaining higher standards making being a Santa an more honorable and professional thing to do. None of us who have this commitment have any use for those who make us less than that. I have been asked a couple times this year to participate in photo events that would have been in really poor taste and put a bad spin on Santa. I adamantly denied the request as well as asked the people who made them not to do that with any Santa image. With the stories I am putting into this blog it sure makes it hard to believe how an old drunk or someone just looking for the paycheck would handle them.

Some times I wonder who the biggest believers are in Santa Claus, the children or the adults? This was an absolutely wonderful day, I had 195 Santa visits. One of the early visits and photos was with Justice, he was a lot of fun sitting with Santa and getting his picture taken. He was there with Mom, Dad and Grandma. When the photo was picked out and all were happy or so I thought.

Then grandma wanted to talk to Santa, I was sure she was going to say something like Santa had done a great job with her grandson. So I told her to just sit right on down on Santa's knee. Then the story started she informed me the last ten years of her life had been a real mess she had lost her husband and had been estranged from her family. Today was the first time she had been able to spend time with her son and grandson, the story went on from there for several minutes and it had not gotten busy yet so Santa listened. The details do not need to be put in this format. She then put in her Christmas request, she asked that she could stay reunited with her family so she would not be feeling so lonely. She was sure looking for something to believe in, I asked her if she had ever seen the movie Polar Express or read the book. When she told me she had not, I gave her a bell and suggested that she buy the movie and then go home and watch it with her family then she would understand the meaning of the bell.

Had to be the greatest laugh of the day, a little girl came up we took photos no problems, mom & dad picked out what they wanted and went around front to do the money thing. Then this little lady comes flying back through the barriers with 2 wallet sized photos in her hand. They were of her and Santa taken at another mall from 2 different years past. As she is fanning them in my face and saying do you remember when we took these photos, I looked at them and said why yes and that you sure have grown since these were taken. It sure wasn't this Santa in those photos but she believed and that is what counts.

Lunch time came and went and several people had been by to see Santa. I was informed that one Mom would be bringing her 2 boys by for a visit and that they had written up there list, mom was requesting the letters back so she could get what they were asking for. Not a problem for me I am used to that happening. Later the two boys came by with Mom and I was told that the oldest one was not so sure he believed in Santa. Well I have been trying to ge the people who are working on the Santa set to get the names of the children and let me know that in advance of a child comeing up to Santa. This time it worked out real well as soon as I called them by name I could see all the doubt gone. We read the letters together they were short and just asked for a couple items each. They had photos taken and once again I thought all was well. It sure is a good thing I don't get paid to think.

We were busy enough that the computer had overheated, so when I saw Andy (the General Manager at Plaza Bonita) and Tim (he does not really have a desk or office as of yet so I am not sure what his title is maybe he is the manager of building operations I am not sure all I know is that he works out of the administration office and wears a tie) of doing a walk around, I asked them if they could come up with a small fan that we could put in behind there to keep it cooled down. They turned to me and almost in unison said Santa we are your biggest fans. Then Tim came back around and surveyed the situation and cam up with a temporary fis anyway. The computer box just needs to have better ventilation on the rear.

Then what was almost a real train wreck happened. I went for my dinner break and the above mom had come back by to see if I would deliver some Christmas gifts right on the Santa set to her two boys. She had told one of Santa's helpers that the boys had lost their father just a few months ago and that it would mean the world to them. The helper said YES!!!!!! Upon my return from dinner I was informed of this situatuion. I then had to explain to the helper that I would love to be able to do that for them but that if I did the other children in the mall would be wondering why Santa did not do that for them. It is something like my bells yes I give some of those away but when I do no one else knows what is going on. We did come up with a reasonable conclusion to this scenario. Someone had come with packages and they were left at the front counter. When I saw mom and her boys show up I went to the front counter to explain to mom, by now the boys had their packages and I knew that I was supposed to tell them not to open them until Christmas, so as I was walking behind the counter the boys said Thank You Santa andnot many heard them say that. I did say do not open them until Christmas. I probably would have been willing to deliver them after I finished up at Plaza Bonita under these circumstances, but this worked out alright. Mom had joyful expression on her face as I explained to her and she said she understood. Then I had to ask he if she had seen the Polar Express, she said yes it was her favorite movie, in fact she had just purchased it that day. I asked her to wait just one moment. I went for my bells and gave her three very discretly and told her always make sure she and her boys could hear the bells ring and then thanked her.

Then there was Sydney, I remebered her from last year mom had tried many many times to get her photo with Santa. The problem was she was kicking and screaming the whole way everytime. Sydney showed up with her Christmas letter to Santa, short to the point I want a Dora House, now I am sure she was feeling guilty as well for she had a baggie with 3 freshly baked cookies in in to give to me she was even willing to give up her stuffed toy. Today she got a photo with no crying or screaming.

As we were closing up tonight one of Santa's helpers said I am going to have to go rent the movie you asked that lady about. She told me that after I went back to the chair the lady had big tears come up in her eyes, I did not see that but I did catch the kiss she blew at me. The helper said she needs to find out why that lady was crying.

So I really think we are all looking for something magical to believe in, or somehing to give us hope. If you read about Saint Nicholas and the legend that followed it is my opinion that those early believers were looking for the same thing. So when a person see's this in the form of a real person such as Santa maybe it just restores their belief in something greater than all of us.

Alright with 195 visits today we are up to 1033 for the season so far. That average is just 74 per day. It should not be long before we are doing 100 to 150 per day during the week, I will stick my neck out and say the last several days will be 250 to 300 per day minimum.
Well as I am doing the editing on this posting early this Sunday morning Mrs Claus has called me and I have lost my voice so I will be looking around this hotel room to see where I left it. Maybe someone slipped into my room last night and took it from me. Oh well it will make for an interesting day.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Angelina is Not Really an Angel

Wow, what a day at Plaza Bonita, The first store to open this morning "Black Friday" was The Disney Store it opened at 4:00 a.m. and then a variety of stores opened up until the entire mall was open by 8:00 a.m. So Santa started the day at 8 and went to 9. But I did get a leisurely lunch break as well as my relaxing supper break. It still makes for a long day.

One of the first visits I had this morning was from Angelina, I think that translates to little angel.
For those that have been reading all along she was the young lady who had come up behind Santa and popped him on the rear in order to get his attention to get a candy cane. Well I had asked mom to bring her by the Santa Set so I could get a photo of this rather brave young lady. Mom brought Angelina in this morning so I found out her name, and got a photo of her for my own collection. Then mom tells me she has been telling everyone that she swatted Santa's bootie, the nerve of this little girl to go out and brag about it. Now that I have the pertinent information on Angelina maybe I need to put out a Santa Alert so that others can beware, this little girl is armed and dangerous. It sure doesn't show in the photo that was taken this morning.

Then we have Valerie (about 4 years old) now she was really trying to win over Santa's heart. She sits in my lap then reaches up and gives Santa a kiss on the cheek, not once but at least 5 times before she left the area, It sure is a good thing Mrs. Claus isn't the jealous type.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful, a nice steady pace of people came to see Santa today without any long lines. The total visits for today was the highest yet we went to 138 for a total so far this year of 838 this number will probably start climbing faster now as we only have 29 days til Christmas

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Deer Was Saved

It was a nice reather relaxing day for Santa, so as I did have some time I decided to catch up on my laundry myself rather than use the "fluff & fold." That went so well here at the Holiday Inn Express, I put 2 loads in the washers went down to get myself some juice for taking my vitamins. When I walked into the breakfast bar area another white haired bearded gentleman stated that he thought one of his brothers was coming in for breakfast, we had a very nice chat he is interested in really becoming one of my brothers from different mothers. When our conversation was over the washing was done, so into the dryers I put in enough so they could run for an hour and went down for breakfast. Thirty minutes later I thought I would just check on it and to my surprise it was all dry. I liked that one hour and the multi tasking was complete.

Now the rest of the day was Santa's for going to the movies, started out with Dereailed gets 5 bells from Santa it was a very good intense mystery. Then I saw Walk the Line about Johnny Cash it gets 3 1/2 bells to long to cover such a short part of his life only up to about 1970. Now it is time for Santa's Thanksgiving feast.

So I we to a seafood buffet here that came highly recomended Todai thats the name of the restaurant. It sits right under 2 interstate highways. The food was excellent I had a little turkey, salmon, callamari, kimshi, lobster, shrimp,crab legs, stuffed crab, mussels, 3 different salads, and a few other items before I hit the fruit and dessert bar. I did go off my diet but I did not over do it. I was basically just doing sample of each. I was careful due to the fact that they have sushi there as well and I had to make sure everything I ate at least looked cooked. Todai gets a 5 bell rating.

Now back to the movies Chicken Little was not what I was expecting I thought it was a great childrens movie gets a 5 bell rating. Now on to Rent, it may have been a great broadway musical Santa had not had the opportunity to see that so I thought the movie would be alright. Just so everyone knows I really do enjoy all types of music. I sat there for about an hour and had to leave the content was nothing I was interested in and there sure was not enought dialogue for me, but I will give it 1 1/2 bells only because I did not stay through the whole thing and that may have been a personal deal. Overall my Thanksgiving day was good .

Now the reason for the title. Up at the North Pole no one is allowed to shoot the reindeer. However there is an open season on white tail deer, mule deer, and elk. Well Santa's current number one elf Shane, went hunting today with his Uncle Dan. Now just to make everything clear hear Shane has a lot of heart, is always eager to chip in to get things done and works real hard, probably too hard to please others. He got ready to go hunting, vest, binoculars, knife, and rifle. They got to the spot they were going hunting at and when he went to load his rifle. He forgot to take ammunition with him, so all those cute little Bambi's were safe at least for today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Today seemed rather quiet I think I might have had 3 children before lunch it improved after lunch. I am so grateful for the relaxed surroundings that I have access to for my breaks It is nice to be able to sit in a nice soft chair watch some news on TV occasionally, some one else from the administrative office joins me. Today was good I had lunch with 3 other people from Plaza Bonita. When I finished my lunch and relaxation, put on my coat, belt, and hat and started for the front door of the reception area. There I found three children I would guess about six years old. When they saw me I think their jaws hit the floor and their eyes got as big as saucers that was priceless. I am sure they did not think they would be seeing Santa in that office. I started in with the questions, are you being good, are you listening to mom all the time, are you eating all your veggies, are you brushing your teeth every day? After each of those questions the answers were in complete unison almost in harmony Yeeaaaah! It is the only answer that one that age would give anyway. I thought because of the way they answered they were triplets, wrong on my part twins and a cousin. One of those moments that makes putting on the Red Suit worth it all.

I have not figured out how or if people can log onto the Hyundai event from last weekend some have had problems doing so. If you are having problems getting it send me an e-mail with your address and I will be able to forward it to you that way.

This morning I received an e-mail from my son up at the North Pole, he told me he got a big kick of of seeing Santa in that car. Then he asked what I wanted for Christmas? He followed up with you know its not everyday that a person gets to ask Santa what he wants for Christmas. I do believe that he truly believes. It put a smile on my face and made me feel all warm inside. More on this elf in future postings. I am waiting for an event here.

I went into the Hallmark store this morning looking for a special book that I could write notes in so that I would not forget what I needed to put in this blog. The sweet ladies at Hallmark had found two choices for me and one of them I thought was perfect I went to the register with it and was told here Santa this one is on us. Just then I saw the perfect pen for writing my notes with it is about 14" long and about an inch in diameter. So I thought I would wait on that one. When I returned to the Santa set I had waited long enough it was a must have, so I talked Julie into going down to make the purchase for me. Sometimes it is quicker and easier if Santa doesn't go shopping. Well right after lunch I had put my first entries into the book, and the pen clipped right onto the cover nicely. When I returned from my dinner break the book was gone, and the giant red pen was still there. It would not have been an issue but I had forgot what I had written down this afternoon until just now.

When I returned to the Santa set after lunch another very proper and polite young man was waiting for me. He had insisted that his mom stop at Starbucks and purchase a chocolate chip cookie for Santa. He told me he had been trying to be good, and that he wanted a metal detector and bank for Christmas. Then he presented me with this cookie which I immediately offered to share with him so he ended up with about 3/4 of it, then he told me he was sure he was going to get coal in his stocking this year. So I am sure he was making an attempt to bribe Santa.

Well I need to get on the plane and head for New York City tonight so that all of you will be able to see me in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. ;) ;)

So I want to wish all of my blog readers a very Happy Thanksgiving, after you have eaten all the turkey and other goodies you can stand have an extra helping for me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Rather Unique Request for Santa

Santa gets asked to deliver a lot of things at Christmas, but this one was over the top for being unique. Brendan a very well behaved 7 year old came in with his mother for a visit with Santa this evening. He had asked for the typical types of things for a boy his age. Then he hit me with a big one that Santa just cannot deliver himself. He asked to have his pacemaker removed. Then mom told me that the doctors may be able to do that in the spring. After Brendan was through talking with Santa and received his CANDY CANE. I just had to ask mom for some more information, the short version is that Brendan's biological mother was a heavy duty drug user and Brendan was born pretty sick. His Mom adopted him when he was six months old and at 11 months he had to have a pacemaker put in. His mom said that he has gotten pretty healthy and is very active, and wants to play football. I think his adopted parents have got to be some pretty awesome people to take in a child with all the special medical needs and they were aware of the problems in advance. Brendan will probably be able to have his pacemaker removed in the spring, but personally this request needs to go to the big guy. So I am going to make a request to all of those that read this blog that pray to lift Brendan in their prayers that this young man will be able to get his wish, and come through it all being even more healthy.

Now on the lighter brighter side. When Santa arrived there was a scramble to locate the Candy Canes that Santa normally would hand out. Well they were able to find some small ones and they did not last long, so Santa was giving out other kinds of candy and holiday tattoos that will wash off. Then today the regular Candy Canes showed up. So now we will be set up for the big rush on Friday.

Santa found he could cross over ethnic boundaries pretty easy today. I had a big guy probably in his twenties come down who thought he was going to be able to hassle Santa a bit. He came back to me and said he did dot speak English so in Spanish I was able ask him Tehas portada bein? He replied Mucho Bein! Then I asked Que Querra para la Navidad. He said muchacha (ok maybe I have this all spelled wrong) but I did understand that he wanted a girlfriend. I just had to tell him he needed to be very very good and then go look for one himself. He then decided he want a photo.

Then I had two teenagers slip in the back door they thought they were going to be real cool and came through the rear entrance. I was able to invite them to sit with me. One looked at my beard and asked "Is that a your real beard?" I assured him it was. Then his buddy must have thought he could catch me up. He said he had seen a black Santa, I told him he was my brother with a different mother. The two young men liked my answer and left saying Santa is cool.

As everyone can see or has noticed there was nothing put in for Monday, it was a very slow uneventful day only 45 visits with Santa.

today's visits was 79 for a total so far of 645 on Santa's lap.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Quiet Sunday

Today was rather uneventful nothing outstanding really happened on the Santa set. It was a short day the only one like it on the schedule. Start at 11:00 a.m. quit at 7:00 p.m. I did have one person in security tell me this evening that they were really starting to believe in Santa. It was rather interesting when I took my break around 2:00 today I walked off the set and was able to get up the escalator and almost to the back hallway of the mall before anyone said anything about Santa. Everyone was paying so much attention to the Hyundai event they did not even want to say hi to Santa. It sure did feel different. I say it was quiet but I still had 76 visits today, it was slow compared to last Sunday when I had 120 visits.

I would like to mention that I am staying in a Holiday Inn Express and I have been getting first class treatment here. I am not sure that I am getting any smarter though as in the commercials. They are just doing a great job here. I am hoping that if I get to come back to Plaza Bonita I get to stay here. It has easy access to everything I need without a great deal of congestion.

I thought I would take advantage of an early quit time, and went over to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner this evening it was nice to sit down and have a good meal salad steamed veggies and a small cut of prime rib. The crew from Outback had come by the Santa set yesterday and did a group photo so when I walked in the door tonight they were all saying Hi Santa. One of the waitresses was just getting off work and her daughter was there so we had a nice visit and they are going to come by for photos tomorrow.

Well that is the boring update for now, I think this Santa is ready for a good full nights sleep Good nite all.

Well 76 visits brings the total to date at 621.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

California Drive In

It just seems like there is always something exciting going on at Westfields Plaza Bonita. This weekend they have Hyundai's California Drive In. There are several different models of Hyundais located around the mall, they have a test track set up in part of the parking lot and then they have a mock car with a green screen set up behind the seats. This is set up very near the Santa Set. And the few times I had today with no one waiting to see me I was able to participate in this adventure it is like a 60 second commercial and they have different scenes on the green screen that you get to react to. They then download it onto a website and you can see your scenes by putting in your e-mail address. I have not had the opportunity to check it all out yet and they said it would take a day or so to get them loaded up. For those that are interested the web site is now once you get there you can plug into the e-mail spot for the first one that I was able to do. This next one is a dummy e-mail address that one of the Hyundai representatives had put in for a drive that I went on with him it is it is a dummy address but I am sure the domain name is in use. I will post some more e-mail addresses tomorrow after I get it checked out. It was a real kick and the Hyundai people were great at promoting Santa in the mall as well as there product.

I believe the true Christmas spirit is starting to hit I had a young boy about 4 sitting on my lap and his sister who was probably about 6 or 7 Santa asked the usual question Have you been good
and got the same response that I get from about 99.999% of the children. For those that are not sure about what that response is, it is a definite Yes. Then I asked what they wanted for Christmas I cannot remember what the young man had asked for due to his sisters response which was "I just want all of the poor kids who are not getting anything to get something for Christmas."

Then I had these two gangsta dressed type young men probably 20 come up and one wanted to get a photo with Santa. He started out acting tough wouldn't sit on my knee, then he let me know that he was really being good he had joined the Navy so he could stay out of trouble. Then his buddy decided he wanted a pic and set on my knee, now they decided to take one together, they were going to send one to there moms. Then I was going for my dinner brake and these guys were doing the drive in deal and asked me to join them, so I did and it was even more of a kick.

After dinner I was talking to a young man who wanted some legos and then said he wanted to make sure his sister would get a new pink bike. I was standing at the front of the Santa set during this and his Mom just about fell over when he said it. I asked if he wanted to come back and visit and mom told me they have always taken their own photos of their children's visit with Santa as they really cannot afford the price of Cherry Hill Photos. She said that she had read the sign and was very disappointed with the new rule. To be real honest so was I it really doesn't bother me if a parent takes one or two photos of their own my preference is that they are candid and not ones that we are posing for or trying to get smiles from unhappy children. Some times Santa can tell when a family doesn't really have the money for extra item like Santa photos, so I made a decision to bend the rules a little their were very few people around and it was a slack period. The crew on the set tonight was pretty good, as I walked back to the chair with this young man I told mom to get her camera ready for a quick shot and asked the crew to just look the other direction for the moment. Mom got her picture and he got a bell.

This next paragraph is probably going to come across like I am boasting, I assure you that is not what I am trying to do, I am just trying to describe some of the events and the different things that are said to me. Many many times in a day I am told that I am a pretty Santa, I am not so sure I like the pretty connotation that is put on that I would much rather here good looking, handsome, even hunk. Ha Ha Ha. I also get a lot of you look so real just like Santa Claus, that statement gets a standard reply, "maybe there is a reason for that" and then I present that person with my North Pole Drivers License. It stops them right in there tracks. There are folks that come and sit on the benches around the Santa set most of the time because they are tired of walking or just waiting for someone. This evening I noticed an elderly gentleman sitting on one of those benches as I was talking to children out front of the set and several different ones were getting photos taken. I had decided that the first chance I had I would make a point to go talk to him. Well the opportunity arrived and I was getting ready to head his direction he was getting up and started to move, in my direction. He came up to me and said you are the real thing, you are genuine and you just love the children. Then he said the most wonderful thing I have ever heard said about me, He said you are Miracle on 34th St. I have had some say I looked like the Santa in that movie, but never have I heard it said the way this elderly gentleman had said it. It was just what I needed to hear to finish out the day. It will probably help me clear through for the next 35 days.

Now a lot of people tug on Santa's beard, I ask people if they know who pulls on Santa's beard the most and they reply with Mrs. Claus. Right now as far as I can remember she has never pulled on my beard. I have been question about my beard for the first time this year by a young one. But the ones who pull on it the most are the adult women, as they ask is that real? I find that really interesting that it is not the mischievous 11 year old. Makes me wonder if those girls aren't even more mischievous than the boys ever could be, they just wait until they grow up to let that part of them out.

today's sit count for today was 121 for a total to date of 545.

Nite All this Santa is getting in for now ready to sleep

Friday, November 18, 2005

Carne Asada BBQ day.

My day started out in a very poor way. I had noticed the last few nights coming home from Plaza Bonita, that the rental car I have been driving did not seem to shift into 3rd gear. I went out of my room this morning and I had a flat tire. So I called Avis and the said a guy would call me back to make arrangements to exchange cars. When the man called he said it would be 2 hours. Well Santa did not have that much time to wait, so he suggested I call the agency in National City and make arrangements for an exchange. I just knew I was going to be running around getting lost. Turned out they were not that far out of the way I just needed to air up a tire. With a gas convenience store next to the motel I was able to get enough air in to make the short trip. They started out giving me a Chevrolet Impala, thought that would be alright, until I went out to put my stuff in it. It had to many stains on the seats front and rear and just did not appear to be a clean interior. I went back into the office and let the young lady know that someone would have to document all the damage in the interior before I took that car. She then offered me a Pontiac Gran Prix with only 4000 miles on it. I said sure wouldn't you know it when the car came around it was snow white. So now Santa is cursing in style.

Santa was able to get to Plaza Bonita in plenty of time and made it to the WOW warmup. Today's standard was number 7. Create a comfortable environment where everyone's opinion is welcomed and respected. So Santa working on his Spanish butchered it I think what I said was something like this career una atmosfera bienvida respectad. Now what I should have said is this. Crear una atmosphera donde las opiniones sean bienvenidas y respetadas. No one needs to get excited about my spanish I did take it right off the standards card.

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful I had maybe 8 visits on the Santa set. Then came time for lunch. As it has been team appreciation week I was invited to participate in all of these events, like build your own ice cream sundae day where the different managers would build you a sundae to each individual request. Belgium waffles were on the schedule yesterday and today was Carne Asada BBQ. For some of my northern friends who are like Santa and have never had it, melt in your mouth thinly sliced steak marinated in special sauce and cooked on a grille. Wrap this is in a tortillia and add things like guacamole, beans, rice or what ever else you wish. Carlos and his crew did a wonderful job of preparing this feast. Now Santa has been trying to be very good with his dieting, but I had never had this before so I knew the dieting was going out the window today.

To go along with the BBQ it was a retirement party for Jim I believe he might have been in charge of engineering. Last year he told me that when I came back this year he would be able to make it snow on the Santa set. I am sure he would not have been able to pull that off but I thought he could sure cool it off on that end of the mall. A lot of employees who had worked at Plaza Bonita in the past came to wish Jim an enjoyable retirement. It appeared to me that once you have been a part of the Plaza Bonita Team you will always be a member of the family. They have told me on several occassions that I am a family.

Food and fellowship was great now Santa heads back to his chair. This needs to be prefaced by the new rule implemented by Cherry Hill Photo they are no longer allowing parents to take their own photos on the set, it seems that some have gotten carried away with this. Oh and now that I have mentioned them I am under contract with Cherry Hill Photo As I approach the set I have 2 young men all dressed up with their ties on and then I recognize mom, it was the mother who had brought her son in two days ago for Santa to scold. I get settled into my chair and the photographer is ready so I wave the boys in. Mom places them on my lap adjusts the ties and shirts and the boys are excited and happy to see Santa everything is ready. Mom now pulls her camera out of her bag and is ready to start taking her own photos, our photographer informed her of the rule about photos. I am sure she had waited for my return from lunch long enough to read the big sign that she had been standing in front of where these rules are posted, she was going to take her own pics and leave. This was very obvious to me when she opted for one 5 x 7 of her children from Cherry Hill. I felt like I had been redeemed, no longer the bad Santa.

We had a total of 68 visits to Santa's lap today for a first week total of 424

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bad Santa?????

Any of us with children have probably told our children at some point that they had better be good or Santa won't bring you anything for Christmas. After all Santa has a list and he is checking it twice to see who has been naughty or nice. Several years ago at the North Pole Santa was making his rounds at several events, well there was one little boy who was probably three or four at that time and this little toe head was just one of those mischiveous types and I had witnessed some of things he had been doing. So the first time I saw him that year I just told James he had to work on being better and listen to mom and dad more. Then Santa was at another event about a week later and James came up to him and I said that he had been improving but still needed a little more work. About three days befoore Christmas that year Santa and Mrs. Claus were delivering gifts from the sharing tree at the North Pole, and we had knocked on the wrong apartment door, and James was there with some other children now he ask me if he was on the nice list? Mrs. Claus happened to have the list of places we were making deliveries to so I had asked her for it and as I looked at it I told James he was real close to getting over to the nice list. What James did not know is that his mom had been letting me know how well he was doing and that he had just kept getting better each time we had talked to the point that after our last talk he had become almost angelic. So that was a situation that had worked out real well.

The next summer Mrs. Claus and Santa were able to get even closer to the source of information on James and his many other brothers and sisters as we had moved in next door to them. Santa was a little concerned about protecting his identity at that time, so right from the start any time I was out in the yard I would tell the children that I was the meanest man in town figuring that would throw them off course. Mrs. Claus however being such a nice lady would go out and visit with mom and the children and it wasn't long before the let her know that I could not be the meanest man in town because Mrs. Claus was far to nice to have married someone that mean. For several years we had a lot of fun with those children, their mother would make sure that we had at least one pertinent point of information about something that had happened during the year. Probably the best one was when James had gone to Church one Sunday with his family and part way into the service he realized he had his pants on backwards he stood up and promptly announced that fact to his mother and the rest of the congreagation of this problem. Moms response to him was " we can fix that but you do not have to say it so loud that Santa can here you clear up at the North Pole. That next Christmas season I made sure he knew that I had heard his statement.

So that should bring me to an event that occurred yesterday and completely backfired on Santa or was it Mom. A mother came marching right into the set with fire in hereyes and two boys following very hesitantly about 25 feet behind her so she was able to tell me the one boys name and that he had been misbehaving and wanted me to tell him he was not going to get anything for Christmas unless he straightened up. Well when he finally got up to me I was very gently trying to let him know that he needed to work on being better and listening to mom and dad doing as they ask. Santa would never tell a child that he would not be coming by there house on Christmas. Well this had completely backfired, as soon as I told him that he needed to try to be better he started crying. Santa is not the one to make a child cry so I was hugging him and trying to let him know I would be bringing him something, what Santa brings would be dependant on his behavior though. As I looked at his little brother though I could just tell that there were two sides to this situation so as the older brother had started to calm down I asked other one if he picked on his brother and I was right he fessed up with no problem so that part went well and the visit finished up on an o.k. note. The best part though was that dad had been standing there watching all of this and as he was leaving way behind the other three he looked at me and said he wasn't sure who he should be scolding mom or his son. Must have been something pretty bad going on just before she came in to see Santa!

Today right after lunch I went into the administration office at the mall to put some more water in the refrigerator and when I came around the corner into the reception area there was a mom with her son and daughter. So Santa acted a bit surprised and let the children know that he had been looking for them. I asked them if they had been good, and then mom gave me a so so signal, so Santa said I needed to check with my elves and took out my camera cell phone pretended to take there pics and called elf number 12 to ask him what he knew about these two children. After I hung up I went into the brushing your teeth and cleaning your room routine with them as well as listening to mom better, that one went off without a hitch Santa presented them with candy canes and left the three of them, as well as some of the Plaza Bonita Team with smiles on their faces.

Sometimes it is alright for Santa to ask if you have been naughty or nice and sometimes parents have just put so much fear into their children that it makes Santa the bad guy. This Santa is not one that wants to be the bad guy. I live for bringing out the Joy and Happiness Christmas as well as the spirit of giving.

The happy sad moment of the day we had eight young men come in for a photo with Santa. They are all in the military and were going to send the group picture to each of their mothers. Right after them was a grandmother, and mom with a young man about 6 years old and another one about a month old. The six year old is the uncle to the month old one. We get the two of them set up for the photo and grandma tells Santa this is for the young ones father who is over in Iraq. Santa feels pretty good to be able to be a part of these two photo groups. I am proud to be able to say that I for one do appreciate that we have troops that protect our freedoms and are willing to help others find the same freedoms.

On set visits with Santa today 62 six day total 356 .

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

North Pole Snow

WOW Upon my arrival at Westfields Plaza Bonita Mall, I was greeted with milk and cookies, as well as North Pole Snow. The Senior Concier "SC" Javier had gone on a trip to Alaska and stopped by my home at the North Pole. While he was there he picked up some snow and brought it back for his fellow team members. He wanted Santa to feel at home when he arrived so he kept some aside for me. I was not at all sure what I was going to do with it when he gave it to me but I was sure it would come in handy at some point if nothing else maybe just put some inside my suit to cool down with.

This morning I found a use for some of it a couple of my special friends came by the set to say Hi to Santa and tell me what they wanted for Christmas, after we got past the limousine full of money, and the other totally impossible request one of these young men said he wanted snow. About this time Santa's suit was starting to warm up, and I told the young man I would like to see some snow myself. Then the light bulb turned on! I asked this friend if he could wait for just a couple minutes, that I would be right back. Then Santa went on one of those quick trips, almost like the ones he does on Christmas Eve. Up to the office where the snow was being kept safe, with the help of Trisha we located it and back down I went to the Santa Set, where Santa presented his friend with some North Pole Snow, The look on his face was priceless as he said he wanted it to come from the sky so he sent the little bit that I had put in his hand into the air, and Santa walked under it. Then as he was leaving I sprinkled some over him as he walked under it.

Then this afternoon I had 3 ladies from Hawaii come by for photos, a mother with her 2 daughters. Malikalikimaka, Merry Christmas in Hawaiian, and I have probably really butchered my spelling on that one. I had to laugh when they told me that the Santa's over there are brown, and they wanted a photo with a white one.

The coat from my other suit showed up today, I was so happy about that I am almost ready to say come on to all those little ones with chocolate bars.

The visits picked up a little today we went to 49 so the total now for 5 days is 294

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Good Morning Plaza Bonita

Good Morning Plaza Bonita, I do enjoy starting my day like that. It was another slow day for the Santa Set.

For those readers I have that do not know what I am talking about when I say Santa Set. It is the place in the Mall where everyone can come to visit Santa. Most malls have them and they are all a little different. The one that this Santa hangs out in is like the inside of his home and something like a castle. I sit in a dark green chair that is big enough for myself and up to four more one on each knee one on either side and sometimes we get one. There are two Christmas trees one on the top that must go 20 feet or better above a tower, and another next to my chair. There are several windows set in the walls then across from my chair is a huge fireplace. We also have this huge grandfather type clock with the pendulum and time goes by real fast, around the outside it is decorated with some stuff that is supposed to look like snow and lots of christmas lights.

We could tell it was going to be slow so Santa and one of his helpers started walking the mall and handing out candy canes. In the middle of the mall they have a place for all the children. like an indoor playground. We had just come up on this area and I had a young man maybe 10 years old come up to me and as he was making his approach he was telling some other children look here is Santa so then I had what I think was three children standing there in front of me. All three had chocolate bars in there hands, those really soft milk chocolate type bars that look so delicious and creamy. I am standing there getting ready to hand to these Children a minature candy cane and they are holding on to this chocolate bar and what is going through my mind is these candy canes don't hold up against the chocolate and I am sure they would not need anymore sugar for awhile. But I proceed with the candy canes and they call over their little brother and tell him to give Santa a hug. All I can see is chocolate all over this red velvet suit and mostly white fur. ( I will let you know about the mostly white in a future post.) So I stop this young one by saying wait a minute, I was wanting to make sure we would be in a place where we could exchange hugs while someone else held the choclate bar and I could hold the hand that it had been in to control where chocolate would be going. Well that little guy was not happy about being stopped by Santa and started crying. Then as I am looking around I figure out who these Children belong too. The Assistant General Manager of the Mall. Bad move on my part. After talking to him I found out that this young man had a bad experience with Santa last year. Santa sure blew that one because they did not show up later for photos.

By now you should be able to tell it was another slow day. Not one visitor to see Santa before lunch. We did have a four of my special friends come by with there teachers from Trace South and we were able to take a group photo. Well the evening was different we had a few more visits. We had 2 teenage girls show up best friend types wanted a photo, they were able to get a nice photo with Santa, then I find out they are 18 an 19 year olds and the 18 year old had never had a photo taken with Santa that one was sad. Then I get one about 2 1/2 who come right on up sits in my lap and will not say a word. I was speaking to him in English and Spanish only to find that he does speak english just did not have anything to say. He smiled when he was asked if he wanted a candy cane and that was about all I could get.

Yeah it was so busy here is the official head count 36 visits back to Santa today. So the total headcount to date was 245

Monday, November 14, 2005

Eva starts my day out with a bang.

Well the first thing I did this morning was make a quick run to Wal-Mart needed some shoes for my feet so that I can make it through the next 41 days. Then headed to Plaza Bonita, did not quite make it on time for the warmup but I did get there for some of it. While I was standing there one of the Westfield team let me know that someone behind me wanted my attention. So I turned around and met Eva, a young lady that appeared to be devolpmentally disabled. Without any hesitation on her part she let me know that her Mom had passed away this year. I suggested that she give me a few minutes then come down to the Santa set, and that I had something special for her. When she came by we were slow so I asked her to take a photo with me, her biggest concern was being to heavy on Santa's leg. We were able to get a good picture of her and she was given one of my bells.

It was a slow day really slow. only had something like 14 visits on Santa's lap before my evening break. Finished out the evening though with 37 total visits for the day. Was able to get my first sleeping baby photo, my favorite pose that's where I get my nap in. Had a wonderful gentleman 90 years young stop by to talk to me, ok this is where I have to worry about going to the hospital to have ny arm reset. (from patting myself on the back) He said that I was by far the best Santa he had ever scene, no he was not senile he sure appearded to have all of his mental faculties. So I will buy it, he would have plenty of experience.

I was able to walk the mall a couple of times and my feet felt good today so maybe I have something descent for my feet. I still do not like the fake looking boot covers that I have to wear. It is not authentic, I will be working on that, Santa cannot have anything phony about him.

So now the running total of children on Santa's lap is up to 209 watch this number climb.

Keep coming back we are early in the season

Westfiield Works Wonders

This should be dated November 13, 2005. I thought it was a descent day 120 visits on Santa's lap. I have 2 Sundays that I don't start in the Chair til 11:00 am. normally this would be a 7:00 pm close. But Westfield Works Wonders was scheduled for this evening. Now the way I understand it is several organizations well tickets for this fund raising event, and the proceeds go to charities. In order to get in the mall after 7:00 you needed the ticket and were given a wrist band a special program chocolate bars. The merchants would give special discounts to those with the wristbands. There were 2 chocolate bars that had a special ticket in them worth $500.00, they had several bands a really tall angel, a really tall guy named the snow mizer, Willy Wonka, and Westy the kangaroo. They had a variety of musical groups there performing in different places around the mall.

Then there were some other VIP'S a council man and even Santa was considered a VIP. The councilman was introduced and he said a few things then the cheerleading squad from a local high school whose mascot is the cougars, did a special cheer for the councilman. I thought he must really be liked if those girls were doing that for him. Then Andy the General Manager for Plaza Bonita introduced me, Santa like I really needed an introduction. Everyone there knew who I was, what they didn't know was I was given a special assignment. I was to say now it's time to get the holiday spirit going and I needed the audience to help me by saying HO HO HO on the third one a confetti cannon was fired off. It sure took a lot of work on the part of Westfield employees in all the departments to get this big of an event going.

I know there were sure a lot of people in the Mall. After leaving the stage I was asked to be in some photos with the VIP's. We had no sooner got done with the Photos and I started handing out candy canes, and the funniest part of the day maybe even the entire season took place. Evidently I had missed giving a little girl maybe about 3 to 4 years old a candy cane and she was trying to get my attention whatever she had been doing wasn't working. The next thing I know is I am getting this big swat right on the behind. She had my attention immediately as I turned around to see what was going on I looked down and she is looking up at me with this expression on her face that was saying loud and clear hey mister I want one of those candy canes you are giving out and I have had it with you ignoring me. So she received her candy cane immediately. Lupita walked with me through the mall, handing out candy canes and working our way back to the Santa set. We did not have many people coming by for pictures with Santa just a few, more just wanted to visit with Santa.

The manager of the Picture People, a place that does regular portraits, came by a gave me a coupon for a free portrait by them. I amy have to do that so that I will have a nice one for my web page. When I left the mall a little after nine I felt like I was walking on stubs, seems my new used boots that I had fixed up for Santa boots sure don't like my feet or is it that my feet don't like the boots. I was ready to get home and call it a night. Lots more to come we are only at day 2 and still have 41 to go.

Opening day at the Santa Set.

The date here should be November 12th I have been trying to catch up, I felt lost without internet access for 2 days. I get back to my room after some long hours and I have made errors on here so now I will attempt to correct them and get caught up to date. It feels like I have a second home. I went to the warm up meeting this morning and had another one of those great receptions, from the staff at Plaza Bonita. Westfield has a set of 16 standards and I have been working on memorizing them so that I can be a real participant. One of the young ladies in the concierge had heard that I had them memorized and had decided that she would start checking me out on them. So I had to make sure that I had myself covered it was standard Number 16 at the first warm up. Which is Whenever possible, Westfield team members should escort shoppers to their destination rather than pointing out directions. So I was able to get that out for that first visit to the warm ups. Then because there are a lot of Spanish speaking people working here they are done in Spanish as well. So everyone thought I did that one well and I was applauded. Then I was asked the dreaded question from one of the Spanish speaking team members, he said ok now do it in Spanish. I said oh no that I sure could not handle that. But I am thinking that was an interesting challenge, and would help me with my Spanish as well. I may be making attempts at that in the future. The standards seem to be something that most businesses could use and benefit from. So then this young lady who had put the initial challenge out to me asked me to name all the reindeer, I told her that was her test and she missed one of the original eight. So she had to go back and study some more.

The standard for today was The Westfield vision is the principal belief of our company. It must be known , owned and energized by all. had to do a little stretching for this one but ai did make an attempt at it. I like the rah rah thing it keeps people pumped up. Later in the day I learned that Plaza Bonita Mall is ranked number one in customer service of all the other malls in the Westfield. That made me feel even better about working with such a fine group of people. I met Rhonda the new marketing director even though she wasn't there, she was supposed to be invisible preparing for the Westfield Works Wonders Event. An event set up to help charitible groups in the area. Another one of the nice things that Westfield does.

I was told that I can use the conference room in the office area to take my breaks in, that is a lot nicer than the caged set up last year an hard back chair pushed into a small table in a dingy corner of the back side long hallway, no real access to a fridge or microwave. This is so much more relaxing a comfortable chair big table clean rest room. a little kitchen area this is nice now I don't feel like I have to hide out in a cage. One of the young ladies in the concierge group even offered to go purchase some microwavable lean cuisine type dinners for me so I don't have to eat from the food court all the time.

Well the first day on the set was rather uneventful, I only had 52 on my lap. The first group was a a couple with 2 little boys they were adopting. It sure appeared to be memorable occasion
so I kept one for myself. I gave out my first 2 bells today a couple of little girls came for photos and they took them seperate but used the same red velvet coat. After the photos were done Grandma came up and let me know that their Grandpa had become an Angel this last summer and asked if I could say something to them about how their grandpa was still looking out for them. Well they came back over and I gave them both Bells and told them that when they heard that bell ring they could always remember their Grandpa. Then I had to take a short break, to recompose myself for the next photo. Then there was the young lady about 4 who came running up jumped in my lap put her arms around me and would not let go. Mom didn't want a photo to start with then decided it woulld be alright. This little sweetheart was crying her eyes out and I thought something was wrong until her grandmother informed me that she was just so excited to see Santa.

I found out today that the Westfield Mall that I am at PLAZA BONITA, is the number 1 mall in customer service out of all the Westfield Malls.

Well now I am falling asleep so I will ad more later.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Traveling from the North Pole to Plaza Bonita Mall National City, California

Well my fellow Americans I do believe that our skies are pretty safe. Santa left the North Pole having to do the entire security process he took of his Belt Buckle, shoes, emptied his pockets removed the laptop walked though the metal detector and set off all the bells and whistles. So TSA had to do the wand deal and a pat down. seems the metal tabs on his suspenders for making adjustments, the metal buttons for fastening the suspenders, and lastly the western style snaps Mrs Claus likes to use on Santa's shirts. Well it looks rather funny Santa getting the shake doown treatment by TSA. I made it through the ordeal in time to get my flight to Denver.
Now I must regress enough to let people know that as soon as I walked into the airport A little girl recognized me right off the bat right up the front. I walked in and she took a very quick look and said big as you please "Santa!!!!" I acknowledged her and we had several whispered conversations before boarding the plane...

It just doesn't pay to do things undercover in disguise. I weard Red double knee pants, Red Suspenders, Red socks black shoes, one of the shirts that Mrs Claus makes up for me out of
Christmas print material and we are up to 13 this year. Seems I get caught a lot but then if I were blue jeans and a T I get accused ofbeing Jerry Garcia, Oh well I prefer the Santa Personna.
On with the trip, got lucky the seat assiigment was messed up so I was able to sit in a seat where no one was sitting next to be. On some of those small planes it is difficult to fit a big guy next to another person, so it was like having 2 seats. Arrive in Denver had to be the gate that
was the absolute farthest away. I was hoping that they had those rental lockers so I could just lock up all my carry on stuff in the middle of the concourse. The flight to San Diego was at the other end of the concourse. When I got to the center I asked the nice people at information about where I was going to meet my family at, they gave me directions and I was able to carry all that stuff and take the train to the main terminal. They call it a train it is a subway! So I did not have to wait long and my sister Trena showed up at the fountain with my niece Trudy, her hisband Niel, and my Great Nephew Thomas. We spent about an hour visiting taking photos enjoying a latte and having people ask if the beard was real and wanting to pull on it. Trena, Trudy, and Thomas were all given permanent tickets to board the Polar Express. We said our byes and then it was back to security for me.
This I was afraid would be a wreck, all those nice people with TSA wanted me to go through their metal detectors, they just wanted to talk to Santa. Well we did it again and Santa had to do the whole thing again. This time they all wanted business cards so I gave out cards with my photo on it , that has this blog site address and email address on it. All of TSA were putting in their Christmas request, only to be told that after everything Santa had gone through with them today they would probably not be on the nice list. Took the subway and arrived at my gate just in time. Wow it happened again I was able to get an extra room seat again.
Alright made it to San Diego went to pick up the reserved Avis rental car that was suppossed to be a compact. Picture that Santa squeezing into a compact car!!! Ola I had found a coupon on the internet for a free upgrade and it worked I went all the way to a full size Nissan Altima. I was offered a suburban but passed due to the price of gas. Things are looking up I was able to find my way onto the freeway system and found my motel The Holiday Inn Express in Chula Vista. They have treated me real well the room is a vice size comfortable desk chair. Have been told they would have a special something in my room for me every nite. I found a Wal-Mart and picked up a case of bottled water and a few of the other items I thought I would like to have on hand, I don't normally mind going shopping but at this time of year it is difficult for Santa to go shopping without it causing a bit of a stir. So I wanted to get what I thought I would need early and be through shopping. I had problems getting my wireless service working at the motel, it took a couple days to get it straightened out, and now we a back.
Met with the crew from the photo company seems like I will have nice people to work with, some familiar from last year and quite a few new faces. As they were doing a training session I was able to put in my two cents worth. Looks like I will get more assistance from set members. One whole paragraph just about Santa on their duties and responsibilities sheet and the last line says. Do Not put Santa in a mad mood. I thought that one was funny. I was ready to call it a night it was already past 10.
Alright its Veterans Day, stopped by Plaza Bonita to meet with the mall people thought I would meet Rhonda the new Marketing Director, but she has the late shift. So I went to the warm up meeting and got a very nice reception from all that were there. I handed out buttons that said I Believe in Santa to all the Westfield people that were there and made sure the department heads had enough buttons for all in there departments. That went well, so now we are off to Hollywood. I will pick up my nephew Kent and his lady friend Bianca, thought we could go have lunch and then to Adelle's of Hollywood to get fitted for a new Santa Suit. I wanted to look at the material choices and a few other optional items so it had to be in person. The trip north took almost 3 hours a lot of traffic, then all of a sudden it just stops on the freeway. Made no sense to me, then I see a billboard type of fancy sign that says "This traffic Jam brought to you by..............then it turned into this changeable screen setup.
Well Kent and Bianca said they had just gotten up and had Cinnamon rolls fro breakfast, and were not very hungry so we went right to Adelle's. it was only about 7 miles from where they lived but by the time we got there it seemed like 700 miles. Adelle was so nice to me and another Santa had showed up to pick up his suit, so my young friends were a little amazed to see two Santa's in the same spot. Adelle showed me all the materials and I picked out the Cardinal red cotton velvet with lots of pockets. She will be sending that home for me sometime in early December. Then we were off to find someplace differnt to eat, it was suggested that we go to Hollywood & Highwood a place like a mall with a lot of different eateries. That whole Hollywood scene was just about as bizarre as it could ever get. It was not something I would be able to write about on this site, just some strange people. Now taking Kent and Bianca back to there place, about 7 miles lots of traffic too many people. We were able to get a gew pictures in and then I headed back to Chula Vista just knowing I would get lost trying to get to the freeway.
Made it back without getting lost. Just seemed like more traffic than I am used to seeing in an entire year. Well next post will be day one as soon as I have time. It was very interesting, from the first photo taken. so come back for the update.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Santa's Adventures: Ready Set Go

Santa's Adventures: Ready Set Go

Ready Set Go

Well only about 17 hours til takeoff. I have been making my list and checking it twice and then checking it again. There is a quite a bit to be done for Santa to leave home for 45 days. Mrs. Claus has been busy sewing shirts for me to wear while I am out and about not wearing the official suit, that the photo company provides for me. This year I will have 13 shirts so I will be able to go a little longer between wash days. Last Friday we shipped out 3 trunks to the motel I will be staying at. I have been tracking them and UPS came through it only took 5 days but they were on schedule an it all arrived there today. Called the motel and they showed up in good condition.

So I am now down to packing up my lap top and my carry on bag, just the last minute items. I am going to get this down to a real plan. I have made up packing list so that I will know what is where, that way I can use the same list for next year and so on. I have tried to put a little more planning into it this year. I checked all the receipts that I brought back with me from last year so that I would not forget anything, in order to save myself time running around trying to make purchases after hours.

I have my calender and address book set up on my lap top so that I can keep track of the things I need to take care of while I am gone. Santas' Adventures is even bookmarked so that I won't loose track of it either. My learn to speak spanish program is loaded on the laptop so I will be able to continue with that.

When I was in Jr. High School I had 3 years of beginning Spanish, due to a lot of moving around that my parents did. The last year I was a straight A student as I well should have been, I just wish I had paid closer attention or used it more often. My estimate is that 60 to 70% of the Children I saw last year did not speak English and I sure was not prepared for that. So I think this year will be better, I have worked on my pronounciation trying to improve on some things. ? Que Quierres para la Navidad?, what do you want for Christmas? Quieres muchos regalos? Do you want lots of presents?
Te has portado bien? Have you behaved yourself? Sonrie y di cheese!!! Smile and say cheese!!! Dame un Cinco! Give me five! That will get me through most of the visits. I just need to get a better understanding of some of the responses I get back. I had most of them fooled last year with that little bit. I remember one little girl about 3 years old, I had asked what she wanted for Christmas, and she came back speaking spanish to me so fast and went on for quite awhile just barely taking a breath. I do not have a clue what she was saying to me, I do know that she left there with a big smile on her face. I hope she got everything she sked for or else she is liable to come back this year with a whole differnt rant. Then Santa will be on the hot seat.

Tommorrow will be busy I leave the North Pole at 7:30 have a 2 hour layover in Denver. I have some family there so my lil' sis is coming to the airport with my niece and her husband and my great nephew who is only a few months old. That will be a pleasant bit of time off the airplane. Then off we go to San Diego, wait in line for a rental car, try to find the motel and get checked in. From there I will be going to Westfields Plaza Bonita Shoppintown, I will be meeting the crew that will be working on the set. Then I will meet the new marketing director for the mall, we have been in contact via e-mails and she has seemed rather nice so I am looking forward to that. I will probably take a stroll through the mall and see what is new, talk to some of the merchants and then go get some dinner. Then it will be time to crash.

Friday is supposed to be a day for me to get settled in and do some things for myself. I plan to drive up to Hollywood there is a tailor up there who specializes in Santa suits so I want to get sized up so that I can have a suit made up for my year round adventures. I have connected with a group called Santa-America and will need a suit, so that I can volunteer with them.
They are a real neat organization and I really like what they do throughout the year. I could try to explain but I really think it best if you just check out their website to get an accurate description of what they do. Here is there address please give them a look.

While I am in Hollywood I am going to try to have lunch with a nephew who is attending UCLA. His family lives in San Jose and a few years back he spent several months with us at the North Pole. So another nice thing that I get to do for me. Then Saturday we get to start in the Grand Chair at the mall.
Well I guess it is time to work on a little of my Spanish before Mrs. Claus gets home, we will have dinner and go to Church try to get to bed early so that we can get an early start going to the airport. I will ad more as our Adventure gets going as for now you have an itenerary.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Santa profile Posted by Picasa


The first comment I received on my blog gave me a great idea. Share this with all your friends, just not some of the younger ones who would not understand some of the daily things that Santa goes through. After all the whole idea about Santa is giving and sharing.
I had decided a couple years ago that I would just be Santa all year round, hopefully to keep that spirit going all the time not just during the Holiday Season. When I returned from my Mall adventure last year I was able to find some red pants so I purchased several pairs of them and then I found red shirts some button type and a lot of T-shirts. So now 99% of the time that is what I wear. Of course if I am going some place that requires a little nicer dress, I wear one of the many shirts that Mrs. Claus has made for me with a variety of Christmas patterns.
I have had several occassions in the last few weeks to put on the nicer shirts as I out and about. On more than one occasion I have had adults say to me, "isn't it kinda early for Santa." Then I have to explain to them that Santa really does live all year round. He doesn't die on Christmas day and then just reappear next year. I have some pretty neat adventures all year long.
The little ones give me a questioning look, and I just tell them I am out checking to see who is being naughty or nice. Then I can see their demeanor change instantly. I have found that you don't have to be young to believe in Santa. Just give yourself a few extra minutes and read the story about the Polar Express. Or if you prefer to watch it the DVD will be out on November 22nd. I have a quote from the book that I have changed a little bit so that I can use it for myself. "Always remember that the true spirit and magic of Christmas lies in your heart."
So I encourage all to share this blog page with others. I will be looking forward to seeing any of the comments you might have.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

First time out

Well I was just introduced to this blog idea and thought I would give it a try. I have been a Santa Claus since 1998. I have done it locally for a variety of events. I started out with the fake wig and beard, and cheap department store suit. Then each year something different changed with the appearance. Mrs. Claus made me a suit, I would let my beard grow out and shave it off on Christmas day. I started out just using a professional makeup white for my hair and beard, then it started taking too long and was difficult to wash out. So I then went to just having it bleached out white.

The first time I put on the suit, it was not what I had plannned. I was going to do photos for the people in the community with Santa. I had found a guy to be Santa, but needed to borrow the suit. I found one from the local VFW they would let me use it if I would provide a Santa for their Christmas party. The guy I had set up to be Santa for me had agreed to it. Then at the last minute changed his mind. Then I tried to find someone else to do it to no avail.

So I had to put on the Red Suit, on it went and then off I went to the VFW Christmas party. Something different happened to me that night and a metamorphisis took place. That was when I found out anybody can put on a Red Suit, but not everyone can be Santa.

I was asked to show up at several different places that year. I decided from that point that if I was going to play Santa I would have to be more realistic, the changes came slow, and finally we are at the point where I am Santa 24/7/365.
It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.

In 2003 people started telling me that I needed to go be Santa professionally in the big malls. I had to do some thinking about it and I went to an audition in Las Vegas, did not make it there so I checked with another agency and was not impressed with their operation. Then one evening at a high school basketball game a guy came up to me and asked if I had ever played Santa. I told him it was rather difficult to play something you are. He then took my phone number and his agent was in contact with me before you could say HO HO HO.

So Last year I worked my first time in a mall setting in southern California. I enjoyed it so much and the Plaza Bonita Mall must have liked me because I will be going back there again this year. This will be how I chronicle my adventures this year. So keep checking back for regular updates.