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It's Go Time!

Prepping for last Friday was a busy day. Weeks ago I drove the 2 hours to my photographer's studio for a promo shoot to advertise for the "Santa Mini's" she's offering. Dusting off the gear and beard reminded me of what I still needed to do for the season: there's a few pieces that need attention!

After a beautiful long weekend with my children, it was time to bust out some of the gear and start tinkering. First, I tried washing my suit with color catchers. The fur wasn't any more pink than it was before, but my velveteen suit still have a few little stains around where the buttons and belt go. Anyone have a solution to getting those to wash out (they're a bit black)?

Work wanted me to appear at a networking event and promote our holiday video campaign services (I'd made a video for them). We'd scheduled it for a Friday morning, but we moved it up since Gwyn had taken off work for Friday to help with a doctor's appointment for my youngest that ended up being cancelled. So what to do?

Gwyn moved up her premiere date as Mrs. Claus and as soon as the children were asleep we busted out the sewing machine and my trunk filled with Santa fabric I've been slowly collecting. We had enough green velveteen to make a skirt, and a quick trip to Spirit Halloween provided a corset.

I washed my suit again hoping it'd clear up to no avail (boo!). The morning after I took the children to school and the youngest, who'd come down with pink eye on Friday, off with his mother, I drove the 45 minutes back home to glue on the beard I'd styled that week and suit up. The drive to the event in downtown Houston was very long, and we only stayed about twenty minutes having talked to people and had them scan a QR code for the company I work for.

Right before exiting the event building

Walking to the building, the buckle strap on one of my Tim Allen inspired boots came loose (yikes!). Nothing could be done in the moment so made our appearance, and just before climbing back into the car the entire strap fell off. Don't worry, the superglue helped piece things together and I gave both sets of boots a good polish.

But having the gear out has been fun. I've slowly been tidying up the bits and pieces (and there's much still to do before I'm fully ready for Christmas). I decided to finally tackle a Billy Brown Belt Buckle and remove the enamel and aging paint job I ordered it to come with (I changed my mind). I also punched some holes into a belt because I lost about 50 pounds in 2022 which has gotten me closer to the size I was when I started portraying Santa in 2016, if not better shape. After a few days of spraying paint remover, letting it sit, and scrubbing the buckle, here's the result. You can see the dark brown color the front would have been by comparing the clean front with the aged back.

As I was scrubbing the buckle clean this morning and picking the little bits of enamel off, I thought how beautiful this buckle will be once polished and perhaps sealed again. I left it to soak in the sink (is that even alright to do to bronze?) and headed to the gym a few minutes later at 5:15am.

These past few weeks I've been battling fatigue. When I entertained two children for the promo shoot at my photographer's, I was also sweating buckets even though the AC was set quite low. I realized then I needed to get into a better shape. I've no plan on getting "doughy" again for a long while (even though the first thing my photographer said to me was, "so... when are you going to gain some weight!?!"). Being tired has been very... tiresome.

I'm doing a lot for work and a lot at home. The Mrs. and I both work and look after the children when we have them, and some days require more effort and energy than others. I do not currently have a room where I can film Santa videos as I did two-three years ago. Everything is put up, used, and put away after any video or photo is made. I want to make more content for The Santa Claus Workshop, expecially for (the "long awaited") Season 03, and I'm happily getting there.

To battle this fatique, I've taken it upon myself to become more healthy, to walk more, to live a healthier lifestyle, etc. All these things will help me when it's Christmas time (and the other months I spend waiting for Christmas to come). This morning, I sat down at a bench and lifted a 35 pound weight and took turns setting it on one knee and then the other, as if I was lifting a child and setting them down to ask them "what would YOU like for Christmas?" Being conscious of one's limitations helps establish boundaries in performance expectations and scheduling.

Tomorrow evening I and those enrolled in the final 2023 run of the Santa Claus Initiative course will discuss more about the why behind performing for children and spreading joy as Santa Claus. I'm so grateful for those who've been able to make it to this five week virtual course.

Anyways, my body aches, I've got some pewter mugs to consider what to do with as I'm not sure if I can drink from them at the moment, and I spent most of Sunday making a pattern and cutting out the pieces of fabric for the my eldest's new Santa suit (his brother gets his old suit I made two years ago). Crouching over the floor while Mrs. Santa Claus with Angela Lansbury played was quite enjoyable, but hasn't helped the fatique.

I'm not the best seamstress, but would an episode tutorial about how to make a basic Santa suit from a McCall's pattern be useful? Anything YOU'D like to learn about in Season 03? I'm always taking requests!

Yours as always,

Santa Stuart

PS Enjoy this TikTok from the Mrs.

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