The past month has been unlike any other time in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the “blues” before. I’ve been tired before. I’ve spent what felt like weeks getting over a man-cold. I’ve slept the long night after an extensive, arduous, physically demanding project. I’ve even experienced major depression.
But the Santa Blues… what a ride!
On Christmas Eve, I wrapped up my PGH Santa work at about 4:30pm. I took a shower, brushed my teeth and my beard, and came down to reintroduce myself to my family. By 6:00pm I had fallen asleep on the couch in the midst of all the Christmas fun.
I had just experienced a month that compared to the grand opening of a big box store, the initial phases of a small business start-up, and tech week of a musical, all rolled into one. I was exhausted! And I took that long winter’s nap!
The weeks immediately following Christmas were weird. I really enjoyed hanging out with my family, wrapping up the “business” of the holiday, and just relaxing. My feet were up more than they were down! There were season recap conference calls with my fellow brothers and sisters in red. There was a bunch of self-reflexion, analysis, and correction-of-error processing. There were a few very enjoyable “Thank You Visits”. And there was alot of sleeping.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all hibernation-I was quite busy-I still had my business to run (I had a good pile of projects to attack from while I was “in the North Pole”, and I had to prove to my business partner that I was still in it to win it!) But my Santa persona was just chilling…
To best describe the emotional sensation of “the blues” I turn to a timely analogy: It has snowed quite a bit the past few weeks. I love the snow. Of course…
When it first snows the world is changed. It is softer, more beautiful, lighter, and the edges have all been removed. I love this more than anything! It’s like Christmas! Then, once we humans get involved and break the smooth plane of purity, we leave footprints, we kick up dust and dirt, we lay down salt, and our dogs paint the world yellow. The roads are wet and dirty, the windows and the walls reveal their true, salty, selves, the branches slough off their wintry sweaters, and the cars are disastrous. After I shovel my driveway, I am left with an impressive, yet ugly, wall of snow, ice, slush, and dirt. I liken this wall and the world the day after the snow to depression–something I love, transformed into sludge. I remember the peace and the joy, but I am faced with something else.
Then, as happened last night, it snows again. And the world softens once more. This snow is a light, almost mist. It glitters in the morning sun. The world is not only edgeless, it is like glass. I know what lies underneath, and I know that it is fleeting, but it doesn’t matter. I just want to behold it. I want to be in it. I want to save and treasure it. I don’t know if that helps to understand the Santa Blues. It’s not depression. It’s not joy. It’s a bittersweet, melancholic, ambivolence that carries an almost pleasing sense of peace and sadness.
One of the people I hold in very high esteem said something to this effect about the post-Christmas blues: “I don’t really get them because I really don’t have the time to. The day the season is over, I’m already thinking about what I can do to be better, to perfect my craft, and to have an even better season next year.” (Ed Taylor)
So I took his advice, and I began to think about and work on this upcoming season. I ordered an update to the wardrobe, I updated some things on my website, I reviewed a bunch of my visits, and I reorganized my customer database. And it felt good. But then I found the cure!
One of the projects I wanted to accomplish was to update my Testimonials page. I had solicited feedback all year. And I knew that I had received a lot. And I knew that a lot of it was positive. And the project allowed me to read every single one and post some of them to my Testimonials page. And as I did, it was as if 24 inches of fresh powder poured from the heavens!
Here are some of my favorites (I wish I could put them all here):
“He is amazing.
As jolly as the real thing.”
(disclaimer–this is my wife, and it will always be my favorite review)
“I can not quite find the words to say how perfect his visit was this evening. His entrance, his transitions, the belly laughs, the sincerity… all of it was just lovely. I cry easily these days but these tears tonight were joyful, grateful ones! Thank you for the beautiful prayer we said together- we will treasure this evening forever!“
“A+ in all areas!“
“You look and play the part better than any Santa we’ve met in the past! Amazing energy and upbeat attitude! The experience was amazing, all the way through! The engagement between the two of you was just heartwarming, and you didn’t miss a beat! Thanks for including our pets and checking everything off of the application list! Excellent attention to detail when Addy had questions! It felt like you were really Santa and you truly knew all about her! You’re the talk of the evening around our house and we WILL be doing this again next year!! Thank you so much!”
“My children were so excited and couldn’t believe he FaceTimed them. As my daughter said it wasn’t just a call, she got to see him. He did a great job telling them he was proud of them and that meant so much. He has brought them so much joy.”
“PGH Santa was so accommodating with fitting my classroom in before Christmas. He was very prompt in responding back to emails. Everything about this experience was top notch! He really related to the students and how he interacted with them was AMAZING! His message at the end brought happy tears to a few of my students. The smiles and pure excitement they had today was the best thing ever!”
-Kendra H (3rd grade teacher)
That was absolutely epic.
You brought the magic!
You should have your own KPBS kids show!
Singing Rudolph together was magical!
My son came in thinking you were not the real Santa and left jumping for joy convinced!
And how you talked about knowing me and watching me grow up and how I love them hit me right in my heart.
Thank you. You have a true gift my friend.
Thank you to quarantine that we had the pleasure to meet you and spend this time together.
“Pgh Santa did a parade in our neighborhood. The kids absolutely loved it. You could hear every kid screaming with joy to see him! He was amazing to work with and even with the blizzard and road conditions he still came! I would recommend him to everyone!
Thank you Santa for bringing joy at a time that has been so chaotic!”
“AMAZING. SO AMAZING. I have no other words. Angel on earth. So sweet. Made my baby’s day. I cried in the background. He talked about it for days. I wish we could call him once a week. He’s truly that amazing.”
“Beyond my expectations!! So very realistic and interactive!! Felt magical and got my shy 2 year old to open up. I will definitely be carrying this tradition on next year! Thank you PGH Santa!!”
“I would choose this personalized visit over an in person visit. Pgh Santa is worth every Penny. Our little boy was absolutely delighted and full of joy to hear that Santa was proud of him. you cannot get a more authentic, kind, or jolly Santa anywhere else!
“Pgh Santa created the most magical little night for our street. We watched our children smile & laugh & ask questions & I swear I saw the twinkle in their eyes that I had forgotten to look for this year. His kind demeanor, quick wit & belly laughs truly brought this Christmas season to life for us. Highly recommend. “
“Our visit was absolutely perfect and magical!”
I was overwhelmed, and humbly gratified, by the wonderful feedback. Reliving the moments shared with those incredible children by reading the observations of their parents and loved ones was an absolute joy. It filled me with peace, excitement, and confidence.
And the Santa Blues were gone!
Of course, reliving it is not actually portraying the big guy, and actually looking into their eyes, and actually participating in the give and take of sweet, innocent, merriness… but it is enough…