At the end of 2020 and 2021, I conducted extremely humbling exercises by running numbers on my seasons as Santa Claus. To quote myself, “I cherished the objective summation of the work I had done. It paved the way to a very subjective analysis of the work. And my analysis was that it was good work. ” I felt that each time I ran those numbers, and posted about some of my findings. Those posts can be found here and here, respectively.
I looked forward to this exercise for this, my third, and (by far) my busiest season yet. I wanted to validate the sacrifice of time away from family and work, and the general fatigue, by the numbers produced. I was hoping to compare this season to the past two seasons, but as I began the analysis, I found too many dissimilar factors leading to the actual data being polled.
Example: Total Number of Visits
In 2020, I counted all physical and virtual visits conducted. It was quite simple, most of them occurred in a home, with a family, or virtually. In 2021 I added a pool party, a parade, a couple house parties, a corporate party, and a stage show, and those additions seemed absolutely huge to me. I had no idea…
In 2022 I added a Christmas Tree Lighting in downtown Pittsburgh, 15 full-blown house parties, 23 corporate parties, and 58 photo sessions.
I want to discuss a few of these most recent additions:
Light up Night was an absolute honor. I loved taking the stage with the mayor to light the City of Pittsburgh Christmas Tree and kick off the Light up Night Celebration! Following the light up, I had the chance to spend time with those in attendance and spread joy and love the way it needs to be done–wholesale!!
Most of the corporate events involved doing something with the whole group, and then making time for each family, either in a photo-type situation, or a special visit scenario. In these settings, I visited with hundreds of children within a matter of an hour or two. Oftentimes, I would imagine what it would be like to be in a mall setting. What a rewarding opportunity!
The house parties were similar, just more cozy! These were raucous–because friendship and family were usually at the heart of these–and they lent themselves to a spirit of chaos and frivolity! But within an hour’s time, I had the chance to look into so many children’s eyes it was dizzying!
And I never thought I would want to work with a photographer, but I am so glad that I did! I was contacted by Shari Brownlee and Rebecca Lukens, two very different, very gifted photographers, who showed me what was possible during photo sessions. These special moments (that are neatly captured by these talented artists) are filled with magic, wonder, and the joy that comes from childhood belief. I’m excited that, in 2023, I have already set up work with both of them, and yet another studio as well!
Each of these additions brought an amazing amount of gratification, an exhausting need to make each encounter special, and an unyielding boost to certain numbers! And it almost doesn’t make sense to compare the years–at least not the way I did in the past.
It sufficeth me to sum it up from an objective standpoint as such: every metric I used to analyze my season increased. Including the ones that I would prefer to decrease, such as hours put in, and miles driven. And most of those increased exponentially. An example, my “souls touched” metric was over 10 times greater than last year! And financials did fine too. So, without sharing much detail, by the numbers, my season was a resounding success.
But there’s the most important metric, and I must, in the end, gauge success based on the seven most important figures: my wife and six children. And it’s only fair to say that the dust is still settling on this one. You see, my family caught a pretty nasty stomach bug, to which each member succumbed. We’ve been essentially down and out (as a whole) for about a week. But before Montezuma exacted whatever revenge he felt Santa deserved, we enjoyed a delightful Christmas Eve with all the traditions, food, love, peace, and laughter we have come to hope for. It was perfect.
And effectively placed the quality seal on the season.