- Ed Taylor is widely known as Santa Ed and That Santa Guy. He has been a Santa Claus portrayal artist since 2003, and is the founder of The-Santa-Claus-Conservatory.com. He’s ‘been’ Santa for 17 years.
- This article was adapted from a talk Santa Ed gave to a group of businesspeople in December 2019.
- During his time as Santa, he’s learned that adults need Santa just as much kids — maybe even more so. To him, the Christmas spirit is about love and giving, transcending religion and politics.
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During my last 17 years “as Santa,” I have learned a lot. A lot about Santa Claus, a lot about people, both young and old, and a lot about myself … and, most importantly, I have seen how the “Christmas spirit” actually transforms lives and makes the world a much better place.
In 2003, the Christmas spirit transformed my life.
It was a call from my good friend Gordon that set me on a path that I never, ever would have imagined. He had caught a cold and was unable to be Santa Claus at a local fundraiser he had volunteered for — his call turned me into a reluctant replacement volunteer Santa Claus.
In a matter of minutes in that red suit and big chair, I was in love with “being” Santa.
A friend later said, “The Christmas spirit you experienced that day awoke your Santa gene.” That seems right to me.
Here’s what I discovered in those first few minutes: People love Santa Claus … and I thoroughly enjoyed reflecting that love back.
I also learned very quickly that I had, at best, a very shallow understanding of many things pertaining to Santa Claus, the North Pole, and the Christmas spirit. I thought these things were for children. It turns out Christmas spirit, Santa Claus, and the North Pole are for adults at least as much — and perhaps even more — than they are for children.
Parents and grandparents are a huge part of the ‘magic’ of Christmas
It’s their goodness that allows my reindeer and me to defy the known laws of physics and appear simultaneously in millions of households worldwide. The real magic is people worldwide expressing their love for friends, family, and random strangers.
Of course we want all children to have wonderful experiences with Santa and Mrs. Claus. We Clauses cherish planting and nurturing the seeds of goodness in youngsters. We love igniting their imaginations, acknowledging their accomplishments, and encouraging good behavior.
Photos and videos capturing the Clauses with children are amazing … but I do wish there were cameras capturing the reactions of the adults, the parents, and grandparents as they watch. Many times I have seen tears of joy running down the cheeks of parents as their child has an experience with Santa or Mrs. Claus.
I’ve learned that the Christmas Spirit transcends politics and religions — I’ve visited with thousands of non-Christians who love Santa Claus and Santa, of course, loves everyone.
The Christmas spirit starts at home with family and friends. I encourage children to become a “Santa’s Helper.” I explain that they can do that by giving toys they are tired of, or have outgrown, to other children or donate them to a charity that will make sure these toys find a good next home.
Charitable giving is a wonderful indicator of the Christmas spirit in action. Over the years, I’ve learned some subtle — and perhaps even more significant — reasons for the popularity and longevity of Santa Claus. When people give gifts in the name of Santa Claus or anonymously, they are allowing the recipient of gifts to escape the “law of reciprocity.”
Recipients of gifts from Santa often feel the desire to”‘pay it forward,” but they’re relieved from the burden of paying it back.
And then there’s the North Pole …
I was missing the point completely. This was a real eye opener for me. I thought the North Pole was just a place with an imaginary village and workshop — I came to find out that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Let’s say you wanted to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at their workshop. You would pull out your handy compass, or more likely your compass app (yes, they have an app for that), and you would see that the compass needle points to the True North.
Spiritually speaking, True North is a metaphor for finding our fixed point in a spinning world. It’s the internal compass derived from our most deeply held beliefs, values, and principles. While True North may be unique to each of us, the North Pole completely connects all of us.
This season, Christmastime is a reminder of our connections. It’s a time when the Santa and Mrs. Claus awakens in each of us — we embody the spirit of generosity and put our love into action.
We are all Santa’s helpers.
As one of the thousands of Claus portrayal artists, it is a unique privilege to serve as a reminder of humanity’s many good traits and values. I’m honored to serve as a shield so you can give and express your love freely, in the name of Santa Claus, and spare the recipients of your gracious giving from the law of reciprocity.
I wish you a very merry Christmas.