On this day last year, I posted the numbers for my first season as Santa Claus. It was a very eye-opening post. I cherished the objective summation of the work I had done. It paved the way to a very subjective analysis of the work I had done. And my analysis was that it was good work. That post can be found here, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it, as it will inform a better understanding of this post.
The sequel is never as good as the original. There are exceptions, and there are filmmakers always trying to make more exceptions! And I wanted my second season to be “better” than the first (even though I felt like the first season was perfect)… I knew that the final judgement would be elusive and subjective. But I wanted a measuring stick none-the-less, so I turned to the metrics I used back then.
Just an FYI, I want to share a few thoughts on the overall differences between my two seasons. First of all, industry-wide there was a huge downturn in virtual visits. To the tune of 75-80% decreases. I also saw a formidable decrease year to year in virtual visits. The reasons for that are probably numerous, but the main one, if I had to guess, would be Zoom-fatigue. And it was also interesting to note that my repeat business was nowhere near what I anticipated. I hope that this is not a trend!
Total souls touched. Again, I wanted this number to be both the first and the highest of all my metrics. The calculation of this metric came by enumerating my various types of visits, and estimating the amount of people who participated in or observed the various visits. Here are three examples:
1. A home visit with two children and two adults = 4 souls. If Grandma and Grandpa were on a FaceTime during the visit, count 6 souls.
2. A virtual visit with one child and one parent on the screen = 2 souls. But the other parent is holding the device and witnessing off camera = 3 souls.
3. A parade through a neighborhood in a driving snowstorm that left me frozen for at least 24 hours = 50 families came outdoors, another 30 stayed indoors watching through the windows (at an average of 4 people per family) = 320 souls.
(***It is important to note that this year I performed as Santa Claus in two different productions of Elf, the Musical. If you have followed my blog for awhile you will know that this musical is how I got hooked on being a pro Santa so much earlier than originally planned. That story can be found here. And I was delighted to reprise the role! And in so doing, I had the chance to reach many more people as Santa. So I will be including those numbers in my calculation for this year when it comes to the “total souls” figure. Accuracy would be near impossible because one of the shows was live-streamed, but I am going to estimate 140 people per performance, 40 cast/crew members, and 8 performances for the live production, and just factor in the 60 plus cast/crew members for the streamed production)
Souls Touched: LAST YEAR: 2,130 THIS YEAR: 2,970
I could probably stop there. And call YEAR TWO a win. Because the goal is to reach souls. And, to boot, this year I found an incredible amount of joy in visiting with the elderly–something that Covid made next-to-impossible last year.
Children visited: LAST YEAR 422 THIS YEAR 396 Again, a very important metric. Some in person. Some virtual. All were face-to-face. This number does not include the shows and some of the larger parties. These were the visits where I looked into the children’s eyes…
Miles driven: LAST YEAR 250 THIS YEAR 235 I call this one a win!
Total visits: LY 268 TY 126 53% down
PGH Santa visits: LY 232 TY 102 56% down
JingleRing/Zuhoo visits: LY 36 TY 23 36% down
Virtual visits: LY 233 TY 98 58% down
Physical visits: LY 29 TY 28 3% down
Multi-Family visits: LY 7 TY 11
Home visits: LY 27 TY 23
Neighborhood visits: LY 5 TY 2
Outdoor visits: LY 13 TY 2
Firepit visits: LY 9 TY 0
Pre-recorded: LY 6 TY 5
Just like last year: multiple prayers said, quite a bit of work missed, hours of sleep missed, and time with family missed.
These are interesting figures:
Emails sent: LY 1,329 TY 454 66% down (this year I used booking software! Big win!)
Positive Reviews: LY 81 TY 38
Negative Reviews: LY 1 TY 0 (so far!)
Visit recordings produced: LY 79 TY 35
Total hours spent: LY over 300 TY 184 including tech week 39% down (142 in December)
Here are a couple additional metrics:
Returning customers: 70 (70% of my total visits, but only 31% of last year’s customers)
Virtual Visits converting to Physical Visit: 2
Physical Visits converting to Virtual Visit: 1
Again, I will not share much about financials. Only to say that I spent over 25% of my net income last year on a new costume (which I love!). I put a little bit into advertising on FB and Google. Hair whitening, beard care, and subscriptions to PayPal, Calendly, Dropbox, and a couple Brothers in Red fraternities rounded out my expenses. I am considering attending a Santa School sometime over the next few years.
For what it’s worth, (and the money is nice, but it’s certainly not about that!) the season was financially successful.
And then, as always, there’s the ultimate metric–at least for me, personally. Six kids and one wife who were ultimately supportive, fantastically patient, and amazingly long-suffering. Holding them close and spending so much time with them this weekend was pure joy!
So, was it a success? I certainly think so…
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