12 Days of Christmas Action Cards

Hello my fellow Christmas Performers! CPW and Toys for Santa (Fabled Santa, Stephen Arnold) have a Christmas Present for you. Especially if you perform for groups, community, corporate, or big multi-family gigs.

Santa True’s “12 (silly) Days of Christmas Action Cards” are now available at the Toys For Santa website.

  • Master Storyteller, Santa True of Christmas Performer Workshops, created this concept, and it was drawn by artist Gillian Cameron.
  • This set of thirteen doubled-sided (26 faces), 5-mil laminated 11×17″ cards uses custom commissioned artwork, clever sounds to shout out

Santa True’s “12 (silly) Days of Christmas Action Cards”

If you’ve seen me demonstrate these in class they are a Ton of Fun and great for groups.
My first set cost me $140 to print and laminate and I could only get the rights for that one set. So I commissioned artwork that I have the rights to, and Stephen found a great printer who could make them affordably.

It’s an amazing deal ($75 plus shipping), and our way of saying Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

We have a video (courtesy of the very fun folks at NorPac, where you can see me teaching how to use them). Thanks again to all CPW and Toys For Santa! Enjoy!

Order These Cards for Yourself

The Art of the Incoming Call: (Part 3 of 3) Accessorizing and Tuning Your Phone Pitch for Success

(This series of articles are geared towards performers who book multiple gigs during a season.)

Accessorizing and Tuning Your Phone Pitch for Success

There are many aspects to our role as Christmas Performers. We are performers, entrepreneurs, researchers, and salespeople. Using and developing phone skills is a form of performing. No matter what’s going on in your life at the time of the call, you want be excellent on the phone, in that moment.

The best salespeople are knowledgeable about helping their clients succeed and developing long-term relationships.

  1. They are great listeners. They work to understand the vision of their clients.
  2. They are diplomatic but still honest and straight up with their clients.
  3. From beginning to end, they work to stay ahead of issues and problems. They build trust.

In our previous discussion, we addressed doing your homework—getting all the specific information in place before taking calls—and roleplaying calls with a helper in order determine what you need on your contact sheet and in your phone script. What’s next?

Improving Challenging Calls

Some of the roleplaying scenarios focused on challenging phone clients. When you work with a caller who is grinding you about money or the dates on your calendar, you can use the following three tips to improve the call.

  1. Try a redirect. Try to get them in an emotive frame of mind. Example: “Sue, just putting the money aside for a second, it sounds like you’ve run this event before. I’m sure it’s a lot of work. Do you do it because you love Christmas?” Often, folks need to be re-attached to the real reasons they want something.
  2. Have a values story. It raises the “what if” scenario. Example: “Absolutely, Mike. I belong to several Santa organizations. And I have a yearly background check, carry performing insurance. Plus I train all year round. I’ve had some clients who will now only book me, after dealing with some scary low-end Santas they found on Craigslist. And the fact that we are talking means you are looking for a pro and that you care, and that’s a wonderful thing.”
  3. The De-Rail. Things are going south on the call. They don’t realize that, in fact, you are offering them a good deal and most of the good performers are already booked. Example: “I totally understand, Cynthia. It can be hard to find a good Santa at this time of year, most of the pros have clients that rebook in January. Please call around. And, if you want, you can send me your budget and specifics and I can pass it on to some other performers I know. If you don’t find what you are looking for and need to call me back, no problem. However, I’ve been getting a lot of calls, and without a retainer, I won’t be able to hold that time for you. I hope you find an amazing Santa and have a wonderful Christmas event! Oh, and if you check my website, I have a helpful list you can copy to help your event go better. Thanks!”

Handy True Tip: Build your Jolly Zone/Work area. Have some Xmas pictures up that mean something to you. Have that cup of peppermint tea, maybe some pine scent, and some Xmas music playing in the background. Your goal is to sound warm, friendly, and professional, every time you speak to a client. Getting into the right head space will help!

Accessories for Your Calls

If you are free-range Christmas Performer, there’s two things that are critical for you to receive any calls in the first place. These are more important than any Santa bling you could wear.

Thing #1: Marketing

No marketing, no calls. You have to have some public facing marketing to get gigs. Let’s go through the basics. Each of the following should have phone numbers, email, and a website where they can find you and contact your business. All of it hangs on a common element: You need great photos on all the following.

  • Business Cards, Flyers, and Handouts. There are endless opportunities when you need to hand someone a physical card in order to reach you later. Your business card for adults needs a great photo. Include your full Performing Name (not just Santa), phone number, general address (such as city or region), website, and email. All information should be clear, legible, and not printed in a red cutesy font. Legibility is more important.
  • Website: Your website should have great candid photos, plus specifics about your Christmas character and endorsements. Consider posting a public schedule. You can include handy tips for a successful event. A great website can be very handy for a booking call. Direct potential clients to look at specific links or sections such as your costumes or reference PDFs. What makes you unique?
  • Services, Agencies, and Agents: Services like GigMasters, GigSalad, Craigslist, Thumbtack, and agents or agencies (such as Nationwide Santas, etc.) all help promote your services. It’s also not uncommon to have clients contact more than one service to make many enquiries at the same time. The same event could reach you by a variety of leads. A bit of advice: Never do an end-run around an Agent, it’s bad mojo. If they bring you the client first, then honor that. If the client comes to you directly in the future, try your best to be above board. If it comes down to money versus honor, go with honor.
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other sites, if well played, can send clients to you.
  • Networking and Word of Mouth. All the Santa organizations have websites, lists, and places for referrals. Likewise, you should know every Christmas related performer in the area that you service, and an up-to-date way to call them. We have an unfortunate tendency in the Santa community of turning Colleagues into Competitors. It should be the other way around: We want to do what we can to help each other, cover gigs, and support our community. Your reputation as someone who does quality work, reliably, is the best marketing you can have.

Handy True Tip: Starbucks have solo bathrooms and less kids. Order a sugar-free eggnog latte, hand out a candy cane or two, and announce that you are “going to go adjust your mustache.” You finish and can do Selfies/Elfies with customers, then collect your eggnog and you’re gone.

Thing #2: Know Your Side of the Equation

Let’s face it: Booking a gig for 7 PM on a Saturday night, in the middle of December, is a no brainer. Where we separate the singing mice from the Jolly men and women is getting our schedules filled on the off-peak times—weekdays and mornings. This is not a problem for the mall workers. But for the Special Events/Free-range Performers, we want to stay booked in a sane way.

  • Always ask your client if they have some flexibility for their event time. Traffic is sure to make fools of us all. You can also offer discounts for off-peak time.
  • Remember to clarify that your booking is for “A Visit,” rather than a specific time duration. Example: “Mary, I want you to have the best visit, and I’ve been doing this a while. So once I feel it’s time to go, I will. Once Santa over-stays his welcome, the magic fades, and he starts turning to a boring old guy. This quote is based on a visit of approximately 30 minutes, give or take.”
  • Pin in a Map: Every gig you book puts a pin in a map. That, plus travel time, will directly affect the rest of the gigs you can book that day. It’s a challenge to calculate everything. You may need to figure in time for gasoline and restroom breaks. If you are working with someone else, make certain that both of you are on the same page (and same map!).
  • When you do your pre-check follow-up call, especially if you need to collect money, you can mention tips. Example: “Sharon, I am really excited to see you tomorrow. Don’t forget, we might want to have your puppies in another room at first. And you’ll want to put the balance owed in a Christmas Card that you can hand to Santa when he shows up, along with any tips. It helps to have the card ready by the front door before Santa arrives. You’ll get a text when I am near. I will load up the presents (which you’ll have ready in the bag with a ribbon on it by the back gate). Five minutes later, you will hear my bells and I will ring the doorbell.”

We hope this series of articles has been helpful, and please let us know what you think, and offer ideas and suggestions. This helpful article (and others) are on the CPW website for your perusal! http://christmasperformerworkshops.com/articles/

Be prepared: Have a well-designed Contract ready in your inspirational work space

Performing is the Secret Sauce

Our field is always changing. Malls come and go, gigs come and go. These things you can’t control. One thing that you CAN control, however, is the skill and creativity that you bring to your performance. That’s what CPW is all about, helping you become a better performer. In our workshops, we don’t teach about contracts or bleaching. You study topics such as vocals, physicality, storytelling, improvisation, mime, character work, and creating your back story. You learn specific content to help you be the most awesome and unique character you can be.

And when you are a great performer, better pay and better gigs come your way. We also share tips on how to improve knowledge sharing in your local peer group, plus developing resources in and out of our Christmas community.

Book a CPW workshop for your group today

Invest in your community and in yourself. Thanks for letting us share our info with you.

Santa True, Cat Ellen (“Mrs. Santa True”), and all our friends at Christmas Performer Workshops (CPW)


CPW Newsletters

Would you like occasional tips and resources to improve your season? We plan to share a free template for phone scripts and new-contact information to our newsletter subscribers.

The Art of the Incoming Call: (Part 1 of 3) Homework Makes a Difference

(This series of articles are geared towards performers who book multiple gigs during a season.)

Homework Makes a Difference

Booking your next gig and getting all the information you need is one of the most important skills you can develop as a performer. Consider that you are often talking to a complete stranger. You want to sell them on yourself, establish their vision, and then make it your own. In the process, you want to facilitate a smooth running event and make it even more magical, if you can. And while much of this can be done over email, at some point you’ll need to be on the phone.

The entire booking song and dance is another performance. The more fun and graceful you make the experience, the more your client will look forward to booking your next engagement!

When the phone rings, there are five critical milestones to accomplish.

  • Set the tone and categorize the call
  • Engage the client and understand their vision
  • Identify all the details to make the gig go smoothly
  • Create a respectful and professional working relationship, agreeing on details
  • Help them feel excited while confirming pay and event requirements

To perform at our best on the phone, we need to have done our homework before the phone rings. How will you give them the impression that you are rock solid performer? By walking them through the phone call milestones confidently and quickly, you help them identify their needs and you leave them excited about your abilities to provide the best experience.

Our homework includes preparing all the details and checklists in advance so that the phone call is not burdened by delays as you flip through paper and look for files on a computer.

Your Personal Specifics

Before the phone ever rings, you need to fully understand your own goals and abilities.

  • Who is your target market?
  • What kind of events can you commit to?
  • What activities do you want to do at events?
  • How long is a typical event for you?
  • What is your typical rate for an event?
  • What modifiers affect your rate such as length of event, distance you can travel, time of day, day of the week, or number of people in the audience?
  • What is your current calendar this year? Which days are already booked? Which days are not confirmed but might have possible events?
  • What assistance does your client need to confirm for you such as designated parking, escorts, air-conditioning, or crowd control?
  • What type of environment do you need for an event including an off-stage dressing room, bathroom access, or meal breaks?
  • Do you have any ad-on options like bringing a Santa Chair, employing some Elves, bringing candy canes for hand-out gifts, or other give away items?

Your Personal Preparation

After you’ve made a thorough list of all the goals and abilities you can offer, you still need to do some additional preparation.

  • Your Website: This can be an excellent resource while you are on the phone. You can help them find details and answers as you talk. They can see photos of your various outfits and looks, plus any specialty options you can offer. Videos and photos demonstrate your singing, magic, puppetry, storytelling to large and small groups, or the set pieces you have available such as benches or Santa chairs. You can include a page of helpful tips on how to host a great home visit or how to set up a public event with Santa or Mrs. Claus.
  • Your Calendar: During a phone call, you must have a reliable calendar you can consult. You might have some calendar listings on your website. Consider which details are appropriate to a public website. Some events are private, some are open to the public, and some clients will not want their names mentioned. However, if you have public events, you may want to promote these so that people can come see you. Make any list or calendar large enough to see appropriate details because scheduling conflicts are terrible. Be extra careful that any online calendar is in sync with any paper calendar. If you accept an appointment by email or over the phone, log it properly on every calendar immediately. Get in the habit of checking your calendar daily. Make notes in your private calendars about potential appointments until the contract is signed or the event is confirmed. When an event is confirmed, add notes to your private calendar to do a check-in usually about a week in advance to remind them any details (like your balance due), a final check-in on the day of the event (as needed or to confirm changes), and for your own post-event follow-up (thank you acknowledgements, request for feedback, requests for photos, solicit a review that you can use, any referrals, and any repeat bookings to pencil into the calendar).
  • Your Map: Repeat these sacred words, “I shall never book an event without confirming the ACTUAL location on a map and compare it to all my other events, time of day, time of week, traffic, and travel times. And if two addresses show up on the map, I shall confirm BEFORE we sign this contract. And Google Maps (and possibly the Waze app) shall be my resources. Amen.” In all seriousness, you can get off the phone and double-check details then call them back. A rushed confirmation can lead to scheduling conflicts and trouble with traffic or commuting between events. Know your absolute hard-stops, such as any rush-hour traffic or known construction that will hamper your professional punctuality. Pay attention to seasonal weather that can seriously affect your schedules.
  • Your Contact Sheet: This is your script and checklist as you handle your incoming calls. It includes all important questions you need to ask and all the specifics you need to provide. Keep your Contact Sheets easy to access. Use this contact sheet to place calls to your client, confirm the specifics of your quoted rates and event details, and for follow-up after the events.
  • Your Contract: After a successful phone call, you will send your contract to your new client. When the contract is returned (by standard mail or scanned and sent by email) and your retainer, deposit, or fee is paid, keep a copy of the printed contract with your contact sheet. You could have several templates to use for different contracts: Short contracts for home visits and small events, Long contracts for repeating events, special events, or major gigs.

Wow, that’s a lot of work. But it pays off.

You might be thinking, “Where’s all the performing information? How will I impress these potential clients on the phone?” The actual phone call is the payoff opportunity only after you’ve done a ton of preparation, behind the scenes, before the gig, and definitely before the phone rings. Once the details are nailed down, then the phone performance will be that much easier!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of 3: “Role-playing for fun and profit!”

Always double-check your calendar(s)!

* * * * *

Planning for 2019

The season is right around the corner and already our schedules are filling up. We are now lining up our schedule for next year, February to August 2019.

CPW offers a unique model for hosting and booking our workshops. We work closely with local organizations who help host the training. Your host group handles the money, books the venue, arranges for the equipment in the classroom, and promotes the event. CPW asks for a minimum of 20 students (50 students max). The $200 tuition from 20-minimum students pays for travel and lodging of the instructor. Here’s the best part: Bring in up to 30 additional students, and the additional tuition money goes to your hosting organization!

That means your organization can get up to $6,000 dollars to use however you see fit. Some groups use the additional tuition to pay for the venue, to reduce the student tuition cost, to offer scholarships, or offer discounts for couples. One group lowered their tuition down to only $120 per student and included free meals.

There is no other Christmas school out there that uses this model. And all our workshops are customized for your group.

We are happy to report that many of our 2018 groups plan to bring us back for the Advanced Workshops in 2019! (The Advanced Workshop focuses on Storytelling, Character Work, and Back Story, through hands-on participation.) Please contact us today!

Santa True, Cat Ellen (“Mrs. Santa True”), and all our friends at Christmas Performer Workshops (CPW)


I Didn’t Go to Santa School and I Turned Out Just Fine

The Pros and Cons of Christmas Performer Training

By Santa True (Robert Seutter)

While it may seem that there will certainly be some bias in writing this article (because everyone knows that I have launched a Training School for Christmas Performers), there is still strong merit in tackling these tough topics that are often discussed in our communities. Many people evaluate the pros and cons of attending workshops and classes that are designed for Christmas performers, often also known as “Santa Schools.” I will do my best to discuss these issues in as unbiased a manner as I can, although remember that “your mileage may vary.” I’ll be using “Santa” as short hand for all Christmas Performers—Mrs. Claus, Elves, and all other characters.

Two Points of View

On the face of it, there seem to be two primary points of view for the topic of Santa schools and workshops.


“I don’t attend Santa schools. You either have it naturally or you don’t. Just be yourself and learn from experience. The kids will love you because you are natural and spontaneous. I’m a REAL Santa because I have Christmas Spirit. It’s about what’s inside you and you don’t really need a school, because experience will teach you. Also, I don’t need someone to teach me how to say, ‘Ho-Ho-Ho,’ or how to read ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ The schools are for people who have free time, extra money, and want to hang out with other Santas. I get plenty of good gigs and people love me.”


“I take my craft seriously, and I want to get as much training as possible. I have even taken the same course, more than once. The potential for making mistakes is pretty high. I want to excel in my craft and get really good gigs. There is so much to learn and, honestly, I can’t see how anyone who wants to do well in this craft would NOT want to get some training, especially if they want to be called a Professional.”

Evaluating These Two Positions

The truth is rarely black and white (or red and green, in our case). There are some valid points to BOTH perspectives. However, as a community and profession, we need to look at some history and factors to get clarity.

Let’s talk history. People have been dressing up as Christmas characters for hundreds of years. If we just look at the tradition linking Santa Claus with retail sales in the U.S. (forgetting about home visits, parades, or theater), that tracks back to 1890 with James Edgar. That’s around 128 years of people suiting up for gigs. And we can be pretty sure that the vast majority of all those Santas probably had little or no schooling. Most of the time, they were lucky to have mentors to help them in their craft. Essentially, we have an art form that is unlike many others in that you CAN step into the role and, with some luck, do okay just navigating by the seat of your fuzzy pants!

What that also means is that more than half our ranks are self-trained. Most of the performers who are in the Santa Claus Hall of Fame and who are teaching learned by the seat of their pants (or had prior experience from other art-forms, like clowning, etc.). They self-taught themselves. And as a group, they have left us an amazing legacy and tradition. Yay Team!

However, our art form is evolving and, as it does, the need for more knowledge and standards grew. It is still growing and maturing. Now we have schools, conferences, and conventions, and many other workshop opportunities.

The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School started back in 1937. That’s 81 years of classes! Tim Connaghan’s School 4 Santa’s (aka, International University of Santa Claus) has been going for 16 years and has over 4,000 graduates. That is a lot of students, plus LOTS of time and money invested.

That may seem like a lot, but let’s put that in perspective.

Let’s say there are 10,000 working Santa performers doing some sort of paid or donated gigs across America, every year. When compared to the US Population of 325 million people, that’s a drop in the bucket! (Just one Santa per 32K+ people!)

Let’s estimate that all the Schools combined (whether fixed, roving, online, conferences, or conventions) train 4,000 people a year. Many of those participants are attending more than one training a year, and others may take just one course and never take another one. This could easily leave an estimated 5,000+ people nation-wide who have never taken a professional Christmas performer training course of any type.

Now consider that your average performing career as Santa spans roughly 700 days, give or take. And your ability to practice your craft in front of your chosen audience out of season is iffy, at best. When the Season starts, you are ON. There is an old saying in Hollywood: “You are only as good as your last gig.” All of us want to maximize our ability to make Christmas Magic and increase the quality and earning potential of our gigs. How do we do that?

Let’s Get Rid of Some Assumptions (right off the top)

  • “I am not an Actor: I am a Real Santa, motivated by Christmas Spirit.”
    The truth is that yes, motivation does matter. Being genuine and sincere can really help a performance. BUT, a professional performer who does not believe in Santa or the “ideals of Christmas” can still do a great job, and the audience will be none the wiser. (For example, Tim Allen was pretty done with playing Santa by movie two.) And having Christmas Spirit does not guarantee having actual performing chops (projection, etc.)
  • “I am a Trained Performer, and I have invested a ton of time and money into my craft.”
    This will likely make you a better performer. But without any peer review or feedback, you really don’t know.
  • “Because I took school X, I am going to be better than performer Y, because KNOWLEDGE.”
    Odds are better, yes. But sometimes folks come into our art-form with skills from previous lives, and some have natural talent or looks that carry the day.

The upshot is that neither the “pro schooling” nor “no schooling” camps have a lock on the truth. Having Christmas Spirit, experience, or a ton of training does NOT a guarantee that you will be a fantastic Christmas Performer. And there are host of other factors that are involved, such as resources, mentors, and more.

At the end of it all, the most important thing is your personal motivation and willingness to hone your craft.

So Why Invest in Training?

If it’s possible to be an awesome Christmas performer without the schools, why take the time and spend the money? Here are five really great reasons to get trained and to keep training.

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know.
    And what you don’t know can, and will, hurt you. Part of most training schools includes “Best Practices,” that insider knowledge of what NOT to do. Why do you want to make certain that both of your white gloves are seen in every photo? What do you need to watch out for in contracts, or hair bleaching, or getting your suit cleaned, or insurance, or back ground checks? What seems like a simple mistake could cost you a lot of time, money, or jobs.
  2. Increased Capability.
    Most of the schools offer training on a variety of gigs. While it is possible you can resource this information yourself, there is a pretty good chance it’s going to take you a while. Let’s say you have done ALL of the following: Home visits, mall gigs, parades, tree lightings, hospital visits, commercials, corporate gigs, strolling, and photo modeling. Would you have insights to share? Some tips to help someone who has not done those gigs? Schooling gives you additional resources so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. When a different type of gig comes your way, you are prepared and ready for the opportunity.
  3. It saves you time.
    Time is the one commodity we cannot buy more of. Let’s look at two lists—one from a business-based school and one from a performance-based school. It could take you DECADES to accumulate all the knowledge being taught in these schools by yourself.
  • Sample Topics in the Business-based schooling: The origins of Santa, the basics of Santa, Santa goes to Work, Seating and Photo Set ups, Posing for Photos, Training your Helpers, Talking with Children, Dealing with Non-believers, Honing your Image (grooming, bleaching, styling, different types of wardrobe, props, gloves, dressing), Working for a mall or photo company, Working for agencies or private parties, How to set up your Santa business, marketing, care and maintenance, Performing and entertaining, Other services (chairs, reindeer, etc.) Business cards, contracts, checklists, and multiple handouts for customers (how to have a good home visit, etc.)
  • Sample Topics in the Performance-based schooling: Call and Response, Philosophy and Objectives, the Future of the Field, Current Issues, Unique Xmas Performer problems, Vocals, Public speaking, Singing, Storytelling, Story-Reading, Physicality and Movement, Character Work, Back Story, Character Creation, Improv Concepts and Practice, Breathing exercises, Understanding Space and Movement, Stage Movement, Character Movement, Blocking Exercises, Dual Performing, Breaking Down a Scene, Key Gestures and Phrases, Entrances and Exits, Building Expressive-ness, Marathon Performing, Supporting Women, Your Storytelling Tool box, Xmas History
  1. Networking and developing Peer relationships.
    When you go to the schools or workshops, you meet other performers. Often times, you meet folks you did not know who were actually in your area! Meeting and supporting your fellow performers can pay huge dividends. The conversations and relationships you develop can be a great resource and establish your support network for when things go sideways.
  2. Industry Knowledge.
    Most of us don’t have the time to follow everything that is going on in the Christmas Performer field. And we all know that things can change very quickly. Mergers happen, bad actors show up, there are new trends always developing. We live in the age of social media. The 40+ professional Christmas instructors out there today have to be plugged in so they can give up-to-date information to their attendees. Since they see a lot of people in the industry, they may be aware of sea-changes that many individuals are not yet noticing. Likewise, they might have tips on where to find good gigs and also give advice on the latest problems and which gigs to avoid.

Some Objections to Training and Responses to Them

What are some of the reasons NOT to attend a Santa school?

  1. That’s valuable time and money that can be used elsewhere.
    Yes, but a couple of tips learned in a school or workshop could save you a lot of money. Since most schools are in the $300 or so range for a weekend of workshops, the math is on the side of the school. If you make more money after you do the school, then the course paid for itself. Investing in yourself is always the best investment you can make. The simple truth is that no matter how expensive the suit is, the magic comes from the performer inside.
  2. My particular gig is very stable, and I am unlikely to need to change.
    Most of us are older folks. We already know that things in life can change on a dime. When we have a bigger bag of tricks, that advantage means you have more gig options—a very wise precaution.
  3. I have no idea if School XYZ is any good, and I’ve been doing just fine so far.
    One rule of thumb: Ask folks who have attended that school or taken that workshop whether they would take the class again. If they would return, that’s a great endorsement. And then ask yourself what you are looking for. Every school has its own strong points. What do you want to develop?
  4. I have my own particular way of doing things, and I want to protect my gig and content.
    While it is true that there are some people who are less than respectful of boundaries and creative content, there are a great many folks who are wonderfully generous with their time and resources. If you talk to most Christmas Performers, you will probably hear that excellence has a way of rising to the top.
  5. I’ve met some of the other Christmas Performers, and they are not my cup of tea.
    We are a zany bunch (ahem). There are some folks who get their personal validation from being Santa 24/7. There are also some old Grumpa-Grumps. However, taking the time to truly meet and get to know some of fellow performers has been tremendously rewarding to me personally. I have made some great friendships. I think you might find the same.

Thanks again and please share this article and link!

May your season be amazing and full of wonders — Santa True, Ms. Cat (“Mrs. Santa True”), and all the folks at CPW.


You Put the Heart in the Christmas Art

So far this year, we’ve had two totally fun and fantastic workshops: Performing Fundamentals (with the fine folks in OKC) and Advanced Character and Storytelling (with great folks of NorPac in WA). We had rave reviews at both. Please ask them!

Upcoming still in 2018

  • Phoenix AZ, Arizona Santas: Performing Skills Workshop, July 20-22, 2018
  • Tarpon Springs FL, PalmTree Santas: Performing Skills Workshop, August 4-5, 2018

Sadly, we had to cancel the Jacksonville FL event July 28-29, 2018.

We are already reserving dates for events in 2019, and would really love to have CPW visit your area. Your group can come out ahead economically by booking CPW to train your members! We offer a Performing Fundamentals Workshop, AND an Advanced Workshop focusing on Storytelling, Character Work and Back-story!

Don’t forget to check out our site for additional Articles.

On behalf of CPW, True, Cat, and all our friends, thank you very much.

It is our belief that the future of our Art as Christmas Performers depends on investing in ourselves and in each other as Performers and Entertainers: Putting the Heart in the Christmas Art. CPW is about helping you make the magic happen! Contact Santa@SantaTrue.com today!

Amazing set behind me created by Bob Bulick

Planning for 2018 Season

As you know, Christmas Performer seasons are cyclical, some shorter or longer. This 2018 season is a doozy (and 2019 will be very short). This season has Thanksgiving on Thursday the 22nd of November.


  • 1 – November Sat. 24th, Sun. 25th
  • 2 – December Sat. 1st, Sun. 2nd
  • 3 – December Sat. 8th, Sun. 9th
  • 4 – December Sat. 15th, Sun. 16th
  • 5 – December Sat. 22nd, Sun. 23rd

Five Weekends! Christmas Eve is on Mon. 24th. We are looking at a 33-day Season at a minimum.

What does this mean?

For people who focus on Performing, this can mean Home visits, Corporate parties, Tree Lightings, and so much more. This is the season TO BRING IT.

You will need lots of content. You will need to shine consistently. You will want your strong open to lead to a fantastic finish. Now is the time to invest in Performance Training.

Christmas Performer Workshops is the ONLY school that SPECIALIZES in helping you create content, in perfecting your performance chops, and in training for marathon performing. If you belong to a group of Christmas Performers who have already taken basic training programs, isn’t it the time to raise it to the next level?

Book a CPW Workshop for your group now and make more Magic! (And get better gigs and pay.)

Contact CPW today. For the price of an affordable workshop, you can improve your entire season!

Workshop Feedback and Input

Greetings folks, and a quick question or three.

  1. This last season, was there anything Performance related that you wish you had worked more on? (Vocals, Storytelling, etc.?)
  2. Was there anything performance related that surprised you that CPW has not addressed specifically enough? No specifics on Hula hoop?
  3. There are a LOT of schools out there. CPW starts where they leave off. If you were going to describe what we teach to a Santa who has never been, what would you say?

Any feedback is much appreciated. And you can always PM us if you have questions we can help with.

Feel free to share our FB page and our website. Please drop me a line at santa@santatrue.com

(photo by Clare Foster)

(Elf by Fairy Princess Lolly aka Ammie Hague)

Taking Your Performing Inventory

As our 2017 season comes to an end, it’s time to take stock of our accomplishments, and challenges as Christmas Performers.

The big question, of course, is did you have fun? Was it rewarding emotionally and spiritually? If you do this as a business, was it rewarding financially? At CPW (Christmas Performer Workshops), our focus is on the Performance side, which of course, touches on all of the above. Delivering great performances can help your heart, soul, clients, and pocket book.

NOW is the time to take a performing inventory of your gigs this season. If you work as a Mall Santa, you can think of the various events during your run as the differences between seeing VIPs, pets, special needs children, or the pacing of your work, either fast or slow.

As you look back over your various gigs this season you can ask a variety of questions.

  • Was this a new gig or a returning client?
  • Did you make any notes about specific sites or events where you had issues or would make adjustments to the event schedule?
  • Try rating your events on a scale of one through four:
    1. Not interested in returning.
    2. While I would return, adjustments should be made.
    3. This is a good gig, and I’d like to try something additional next year.
    4. Best gig and highest priority for next year’s schedule.
  • What trends did you spot in your audiences? Were the children younger than ever? Were there more teens this time? Were there more adults?
  • How much time were you given to perform at an event? How well did you hold the audience?
  • Did you run short of content for an event, or did you feel rushed?
  • What new things did you try? Did you tell a new story, sing a new song, or use new props? Was that successful?
  • Did you retire anything from your performances this year? What that a good choice? Did you bring anything older back?
  • Did you work with any other performers? How did that go?
  • What was strong, what needs help? (Voice, Physicality, Storytelling, Improv, Content, etc.)

Performing is like an iceberg. All the preparation, planning, and after evaluation supports the iceberg from under the water, leading up to the tip that is seen on stage.

As you work on your calendar for 2018, identify your goals and schedule time to work on these goals. Next season always comes around sooner than expected. Consider investing time and money into training so that you develop the person inside the wonderful costume. Then you can bring more magic and shine even brighter next year!

I would like to ask a favor from all those folks who took my classes or read my “Performing Tips” articles. What did we share that helped you this season? What did you want more of? Any field tested feedback from the real world, is much appreciated!


For 2018 at CPW, we have five slots left for customized, Performing Weekend Workshops between January and August.

We had rave reviews from the weekend workshops in 2017 and would like to give your local group the opportunity to benefit from additional Performance Focused training. Please contact us as soon as possible to reserve your weekend in 2018.

Santa True and “Mrs Santa True” (Cat) will both be teaching at ISC Denver and at the FORBS Reunion in Southern California this January. We hope to see you there! You can also check out older helpful articles at http://christmasperformerworkshops.com/articles/
and Santa True can be contacted at Santa@SantaTrue.com

(Photos Courtesy of Clare Foster, and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows)

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