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Michael Rielly
Michael Rielly

Is Zat You Santa Claus?

Over the years, the Santa Claus community has experienced significant changes, leading many to view the portrayal of Santa Claus as more like a cosplay performance than a traditional holiday tradition. Although this evolution has brought about new opportunities for entertainment, creativity, and charitable work, it is not without its potential dangers to the tradition of Santa Claus.

One of the main dangers of the Santa Claus community's shift toward a cosplay-like atmosphere is the potential for losing sight of the original meaning and purpose of the tradition. Santa Claus has always been a beloved figure associated with generosity, kindness, and the spirit of giving. However, with the focus shifting toward elaborate costumes, performances, and competitions, it is possible that these fundamental aspects of the Santa Claus tradition may be overshadowed or lost entirely.

Furthermore, there is a risk of diluting the authenticity and credibility of the Santa Claus portrayal. While it is understandable that individuals want to personalize their portrayal of Santa Claus, the over-the-top costumes, excessive makeup, and unrealistic prosthetics can lead to a caricature rather than a genuine portrayal. This may cause confusion or even disillusionment for children who look up to Santa Claus as a magical and real figure.

Another danger of the cosplay-like atmosphere is the risk of commercialization. As with any popular trend or subculture, there is a danger of companies and marketers exploiting the Santa Claus community for financial gain. Merchandising and branding can take away from the charitable and generous nature of the tradition, and detract from the magic and wonder that Santa Claus represents.

Lastly, the cosplay-like atmosphere can also have a negative impact on the mental and emotional well-being of Santa Claus actors. The pressure to maintain an appearance, perform well, and be available for long hours during the holiday season can be overwhelming and stressful. There is a risk of burnout or disillusionment among Santa Claus actors, leading to a decline in the quality of portrayals and a lack of enthusiasm for the tradition.

While the Santa Claus community's evolution into a cosplay-like subculture has brought new opportunities for entertainment, creativity, and charitable work, there are also potential dangers to the tradition. Losing sight of the original meaning and purpose of the tradition, diluting the authenticity and credibility of the portrayal, commercialization, and burnout among actors are all risks that must be taken seriously. To maintain the magic and wonder of Santa Claus for future generations, it is important to strike a balance between tradition and innovation, creativity and authenticity, and entertainment and philanthropy.

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Black Hills Santa

Posted (edited)

Well, it's food for thought, for sure 🤔

Edited by Black Hills Santa
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Santa Ernie in Miami

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I associate the term “cosplay” to actually mean a commitment to detail and authenticity of reproducing a character vs simply wearing a costume. The amount of time cosplayers spend on their craft is beyond what I see with some Santas. I am not a cosplayer so I might be misunderstanding things but I feel some Santas can actually learn a thing or two from that community. I see some guys just put on a suit and call it a day and that is the subculture I would call out. This isn’t Halloween.

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Black Hills Santa

Posted

1 hour ago, Santa Ernie in Miami said:

I associate the term “cosplay” to actually mean a commitment to detail and authenticity of reproducing a character vs simply wearing a costume. The amount of time cosplayers spend on their craft is beyond what I see with some Santas. I am not a cosplayer so I might be misunderstanding things but I feel some Santas can actually learn a thing or two from that community. I see some guys just put on a suit and call it a day and that is the subculture I would call out. This isn’t Halloween.

I have cosplay friends and you are correct

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Michael Rielly

Posted

We got this comment on our FB page:

Quote

Cosplay does nothing to protect the legend and purity of Santa Claus. It takes him to a level of fantasy and modern times that will rob children of the true image of Santa. That needs to be protected.

 

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Sundblom Santa

Posted

19 hours ago, Michael Rielly said:

We got this comment on our FB page:

Quote

Cosplay does nothing to protect the legend and purity of Santa Claus. It takes him to a level of fantasy and modern times that will rob children of the true image of Santa. That needs to be protected.

This. While I understand some folks like it, cosplay and Santa Claus portrayal aren't even close to the same thing. Cosplay makes Santa Claus into little more than a superhero. Whatever happened to doing no harm to the Legend? Do those who "cosplay" as Santa Claus respect the Legend, the tradition, the history, and the Oath? I'm guessing not (although I could be wrong).

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SantaKurtKyre

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On 3/7/2023 at 9:11 AM, Santa Ernie in Miami said:

I associate the term “cosplay” to actually mean a commitment to detail and authenticity of reproducing a character vs simply wearing a costume. The amount of time cosplayers spend on their craft is beyond what I see with some Santas. I am not a cosplayer so I might be misunderstanding things but I feel some Santas can actually learn a thing or two from that community. I see some guys just put on a suit and call it a day and that is the subculture I would call out. This isn’t Halloween.

I am very new to being a Santa's Helper. Recently there was a discussion about cosplayers and Santa that generated a good amount of back and forth on the topic. I am a cosplayer (not often) and a Halloween enthusiast (putting it lightly), so I am being very careful with my portrayal. Last year was the last time I will have used the cheap suit that I bought, and I am committed to sewing my own suit and making it the best I can afford, which truthfully is not a great sum. I've been seeing some truly amazing looking portrayals on here and can only hope that my own brings honor to the craft.

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 scottishstnick

Posted

On 3/7/2023 at 9:11 AM, Santa Ernie in Miami said:

I associate the term “cosplay” to actually mean a commitment to detail and authenticity of reproducing a character vs simply wearing a costume. The amount of time cosplayers spend on their craft is beyond what I see with some Santas. I am not a cosplayer so I might be misunderstanding things but I feel some Santas can actually learn a thing or two from that community. I see some guys just put on a suit and call it a day and that is the subculture I would call out. This isn’t Halloween.

I do a bit of both and while being a Santa for Christmas comes first for me it's a year-round state of mind dressing up as North from Rise of the Guardians and cosplaying that version with my friend who dresses as Tooth is a huge character commitment. Same for when I represent Clan Claus at Scottish events. some may see going into character as like a clark kent superman thing to me being a Santa is a full-time commitment that you live every day in or out of costume. sorry for the rambling on, I just wanted to put my thoughts out as a mid 40's Santa...

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Cliff Cringle

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I don't follow or even claim to understand the cosplay idea, but I tend to think the difference is in the attitude. Cosplay spend time and money to recreate "the look" and that's it as far as I understand, but I could be wrong.

Santa's and Mrs Claus, on the other hand, try to recreate the "spirit" of Christmas. Some can afford $xxxxxxxx for a suit, beard, boots etc, some of us can't. But to us, appearance is not the most important aspect, it's the bringing joy to those who need it and maintaining the legend and meaning of Santa, that's our goal.

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Rob Thompson

Posted

5 hours ago, Cliff Cringle said:

I don't follow or even claim to understand the cosplay idea, but I tend to think the difference is in the attitude. Cosplay spend time and money to recreate "the look" and that's it as far as I understand, but I could be wrong.

Santa's and Mrs Claus, on the other hand, try to recreate the "spirit" of Christmas. Some can afford $xxxxxxxx for a suit, beard, boots etc, some of us can't. But to us, appearance is not the most important aspect, it's the bringing joy to those who need it and maintaining the legend and meaning of Santa, that's our goal.

Totally agree Cliff, Whilst its nice to have a lovely suit etc, as I always say, the children will see Santa Claus and bring the magic to them

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Rob Thompson

Posted

13 minutes ago, Rob Thompson said:

Totally agree Cliff, Whilst its nice to have a lovely suit etc, as I always say, the children will see Santa Claus and bring the magic to them

I should have also said, its not the quality of the suit, its the quality of the person inside the suit that makes the Santa Claus :)

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Cliff Cringle

Posted

6 hours ago, Rob Thompson said:

I should have also said, its not the quality of the suit, its the quality of the person inside the suit that makes the Santa Claus :)

Spot on.

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🎄 COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

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  • Our picks

    • Published by William B. Gilley in 1821, “The Children’s Friend. Number III. A New-Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve”, is believed to be the first book published in America to include lithographic illustrations. This book includes a poem about “Santeclaus” along with eight colored illustrations.

      However, what makes this book significant is the poem and illustrations are thought to be the earliest known visual representation of Santa Claus in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. The poem also marks Santa’s first appearance on Christmas Day rather than December 6, the feast day of St. Nicholas.

       

      The Children’s Friend. Number III.
      A New-Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve
      by William B. Gilley, 1821


      Old Santeclaus with much delight
       His reindeer drives this frosty night.
       O’er chimney tops, and tracks of snow,
       To bring his yearly gifts to you.

       The steady friend of virtuous youth,
       The friend of duty, and of truth,
       Each Christmas eve he joys to come
       Where love and peace have made their home”


       Through many houses he has been,
       And various beds and stockings seen,
       Some, white as snow, and neatly mended,
       Others, that seem’d for pigs intended.

       Where e’er I found good girls or boys,
       That hated quarrels, strife and noise,
       Left an apple, or a tart,
       Or wooden gun, or painted cart;

       To some I gave a pretty doll,
       To some a peg-top, or a ball;
       No crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets,
       To blow their eyes up, or their pockets.

       No drums to stun their Mother’s ear,
      Nor swords to make their sisters fear;
      But pretty books to store their mind
       With knowledge of each various kind.

       But where I found the children naughty,
       In manners rude, in temper haughty,
       Thankless to parents, liars, swearers,
       Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers,


       I left a long, black, birchen rod,
       Such as the dread command of God
       Directs a Parent’s hand to use
       When virtue’s path his sons refuse
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    • 10 Essentials to Being a Better Santa
      Here are some DOs and DON'Ts on being Santa

      Treat every child with respect.


      Never make fun of a child.


      Look into the child’s eyes when you speak to them.


      Speak softly. Children are sharing confidences with you.


      Acknowledge a child’s requests even if you don’t understand them.


      Never promise a toy request to avoid a child’s disappointment.


      Never promise a pet. Santas a toymaker and only animals produce pets.


      If the child can’t remember their wish list, assure them you know what they want.


      Never leave a child wondering if Santa heard their Christmas wishes.


      Every child worries about being on Santas “Naughty or Nice List”. Tell each child “You’re on the “Nice List.” It will bring happiness to everyone!   




      Santa Lou Knezevich is the creator of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program
      Contact Santa Lou at: LegendarySantasMentoringProg@gmail.com
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      • 8 replies
    • How do You Portray Santa?
      Portraying Santa is acting; it is a characterization of a mythical character.

      Most of us never think of ourselves as actors, but we are. Certain characteristics of Santa Claus have been handed down from one generation to another. The way we dress and conduct ourselves all follow an established pattern.

      Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable characters throughout the world. This came about from the advertising campaign of the Coke Cola Company and the creative painting genius, of Haddon Sundblom. Coke Cola was looking to increase winter sales of its soft drink and hired Sundblom to produce illustrations for prominent magazines. These illustrations appeared during the holiday season from the late 1930s into the early 1970s and set the standard for how Santa should look.

      This characterization of Santa with rosy cheeks, a white beard, handlebar mustache plus a red costume trimmed in white fur is the image most everyone has in their minds. Unconsciously people are going to judge you against that image. If your beard isn’t white or you have a soiled suit it will register with the onlooker.

      By the way, the majority of Sundblom's paintings depict Santa with a Brown Belt and Brown Boots. Not until his later illustrations did he change the color to Black for these items. Within the past few years many costume companies have offered the Coke Cola Suit and it has become very popular. You can tell it by the large buttons and absence of fur down the front of the jacket.

      No matter how you portray Santa, be it home visits, schools, churches, parades, corporate events, malls, hospitals we all make an entrance and an impression! The initial impression we make determines if our client will ask us to return.

      The 5 Second Rule

      I have a theory: When you enter the presence of your audience you have about 5 seconds to make people believe you are the real Santa.
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      • 18 replies
    • Not Everyone Can Be Santa!
      Yes, I said it and it is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do view many Facebook sites along with websites and posted photos. Frankly, many of these postings should have never been put on public display.
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      • 10 replies
    • Auld Lang Syne
      Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in.
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    • Is it time to start calling out Bad Santas?
      Is it time to start calling out Bad Santas?

      Do you think we should start calling out those in our community whose actions or behavior is unbecoming of Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus?
      • 94 replies
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