Christmas In July

 Posted by at 1:16 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 272017

My folks never had a lot of money, but even when I was a kid it always impressed me that no matter how little we had, anytime a friend, or a neighbor, or a relative, or even a total stranger needed something, my parents were always right there for them. That’s just the kind of people they were. From the time I was a youngster, I was always taught that rich or poor, we all have an obligation to give something back to the world. It didn’t necessarily have to be monetary, there are a lot of ways to give, but we all should do what we can, whenever we can. I’ve tried to carry that lesson through my life, good times and bad.

One of the things I enjoyed doing back in my small town newspaper publisher days was playing Santa Claus. After all, I’m built for the job, right? Somewhere I came across a cheap Santa costume, complete with a big bushy white beard, and every year I would get the local businesses to donate toys and clothing, and have a couple of the ladies who worked for me play the role of elves. We would go to the women’s shelter, which I was a member of the board of, and try to bring some joy to the lives of the women and the kids there. We would also visit a few homes of people who were in need and try to bring them some Christmas cheer. I always thought we had more fun than the kids did on those visits.

So when my friend Gordon Bailey told me about the Santa Claus school he teaches around the country, I thought it was very interesting. Gordon, now in his 60s, first played Santa Claus when he was in the second grade, and he’s been hooked ever since. As it turns out, quite a few fulltime RVers have joined the Santa community and use it both as a way to give something back to the world and as a seasonal job to supplement their income. In some cases they are allowed to park their RVs on the property they are working, hooked up to water and shore power, with a honey wagon draining their tanks every week.

Recently Gordon sent me the three textbooks he uses for the Santa Claus school, and I’ve been looking through them and find them fascinating. The first book, Santa And The Business Of Being Santa, focuses on the business end of things, covering things like what separates a hobbyist from a professional Santa, being a performer and a Santa, negotiating contracts, pricing your services, ethics, taxes, and a lot more. The second book in the series, The Nuts And Bolts Of Being Santa, talks about things like Santa schools, companies that hire Santas, costumes, beards and wigs, and storytelling. Book 3, Santa And The Performing Santa, is filled with great information including the lyrics to Christmas songs, magic tricks, props, Santa’s elves, and a lot more. I don’t have my Santa suit anymore, and I doubt I will ever get around to climbing back into one, but I found the three book series fascinating. There’s a lot more to being the jolly old man from the north than I ever imagined!

And I can see where this would be the perfect gig for RVers wanting to make a few bucks over the holidays. And even if you didn’t need to make money at it, it’s a great way to bring some joy into people’s lives. One could visit preschools, children’s hospitals, senior citizen centers, rest homes, veterans hospitals, you name it. I can’t think of anywhere that Santa Claus is not welcome. Can you?

If you think performing as Santa is something you might want to do, or if you are just interested in learning more about it, like I was, all three of the books are available from Amazon. But if you contact Gordon directly at his website at he will give you free shipping and a 20% discount off the full set until the end of August. That’s a savings of $30 off the set. And Gordon will be happy to talk to about his Santa school, as well, if you are interested.

Speaking of giving something back, it’s Thursday, which means it’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day –They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Christmas In July”

  1. Nick, Gordon Bailey is a good friend,I agree the 3 book set is awesome. You may remember that my wife Judy and I have been fulltimers for over 15 years for the last 10 I have been a Santa. The Traveling Santa is my page on FB and is my website. The last several years we have been in Sacramento for the season. BTW I have several clients there who I visit every years.Thanks for posting this and featuring Gordon. He is truly the personification of Santa.

  2. There’s a Santa in Minneapolis/St Paul that goes to the Minnesota State Fair every August wearing cargo shorts and suspenders. The kids all recognize him. He hands out tiny candy canes and post cards they can send him with their wish lists. I think the post card idea is inspired!

  3. Thanks for the intro to Gordon. I will be going to his website next. Hubby, Ron has been Santa for quite a few years. Last year (20016) the boys at the Methodist Boys Ranch in Waco, TX got their first visit from Santa. He is already looking forward to going back.

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