The Problem of Detraction
I believe it is extremely important for anyone portraying Santa Claus to understand to a certain degree all that that entails. You will be watched, children will learn, and hearts will be changed (it’s easier this time of year), but it’s not as simple as putting on a coat and hat.
When a man puts on the red suit, he must care for that suit. The suit mustn’t look like it was made for someone else. The pants should fit, the collar be done up, and the suit must not look like it was made of material found in the discount section of a fabric store. The mythical man known as Santa wouldn’t wear a “costume;” he is a real idea, and so his getup should be too.
A man in the suit must be aware enough to adjust the little things that may detract from the magic. This is of the upmost importance due to the fact that all the pieces of Santa’s getup can be pricey. While making do with what one has, a man in the suit must know his suit better than anyone watching in order to prevent detractions. These detractions are rooted in carelessness. Are the trousers tucked in to the boots? Are the gloves getting dirty and may need a quick scrub before the next appointment? If there’s a traditional beard involved, what needs to be done to make the presentation an attraction and not a detraction? Is his belt made of cheap materials? Or has the man invested in a leather one that will hold up and keep its place on the suit? Do the belt loops on the suit contribute to keeping the belt in place or do they ignore the problem and freely allow the belt to slide lower and lower until it’s out of sight? When was the last time this man polished his boots? Heaven forbid he’s wearing vinyl boot covers that wouldn’t fool the youngest of children! A man in the suit must be aware of these things in order for the magic to remain unhindered.
For those who wear the red suit or help the jolly man in any capacity, do not be the cause of tainting the idea of Santa Claus by being careless. Choose to care, choose to work at it, and choose to do research and develop your own ideas that will contribute to the attraction of the presentation you will create. Do not be mediocre at portraying this character, become better and better. Do not sell yourself short, for that decision will impact your audience more than it will you, and therefore; is not a decision to neglect.
I was one in the audience who always looked closely. I knew from the second the man entered the room if he was magical or not. I knew those horrible fake beards weren’t real (you know the kind I’m talking about). If his suit was more purple, his fur was stained pink, or it was obvious a square pillow was under his suit and not a belly-shaped mound, I knew this wasn’t the man. Now I cringe when I see men with boot covers, flannel suits, and those horrible beards thinking they’re doing the character justice. Who would think that Santa Claus, the man who can provide toys, who is always prepared, and loves everyone, couldn’t wear a suit but rather brought along a poor excuse of a Halloween costume? The children can see, the children will know, and we ourselves know we can do better.
The idea of Santa Claus is bigger than life. It’s a difficult task to portray such a monumental figure, but it’s not impossible. It will forever be an ongoing process that develops with time. Be aware of the potential detractions, there are many more than I’ve addressed here, and shy away from being a man in a red suit. Embrace and become THE MAN in the red suit.
Yours as always,