You are in for a treat! Patty is talking to her brother Jim Manning who many know as Santa. He also dishes about what it’s like to be in a family with Patty. You’ll love hearing the “spatula” story!
This is also an episode about following your heart and doing what you love. Jim has been doing that in different ways since just after college. He didn’t have a conventional career plan, so he found himself doing different jobs and traveling the world.
That’s when he realized that he could make kids laugh and that led to a real connection with children. Enter Santa. Jim discovered that being Santa is a calling. You’ll love the stories he shares about how children relate to him, and how honored he feels to be able to be there for them.
Like the rest of us, Jim has figured out a new way to connect with kids this holiday season. His devotion to making children (and their parents and grandparents) happy and excited for their annual visit with Santa is incredible.
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00:04: Welcome to the Space For Magic podcast, where people who are led by their hearts come to learn the secrets to receiving all the gifts the Universe has for us. I’m your host, Patty Lennon. I’m an ex-Type A corporate banker turned intuitive coach. Using a blend of common sense, brain science, and just a dash of magic, I’m here to help you create abundance in every area of your life and business. Welcome. Hey everyone, welcome to the Space For Magic podcast. Patty your host here with a very special guest, someone that you’ve heard about in the past, a bunch of different times, and someone that I think has some insight you’re really going to be interested in. So my guest today is my brother Jim Manning, who is also… And before I say what he does, I’m just gonna say, Hey, parents, this is probably not an episode that you’re gonna wanna listen to with your kids, I know I’m usually really good with putting out appropriate content that the whole family can listen to, but this is one where if there are kids listening or they’re in the room, just stop the podcast, listen to it when you can listen to it privately.
01:27: My brother is, among other things, a professional Santa, and probably the one person in the world that I can tell you honestly embodies the magic of Santa year-round. He is here to share insights on what Santa would have to say about the time we’re in, as well as insights on what it’s like to be in a family with me. So with that welcome, Jim.
01:54: Thank you so much, Patty. I’m very glad to be here.
01:58: This is a crazy, crazy time for you, right?
02:02: Yeah, we are less than six weeks away from Christmas and it fits… No shock. It’s gonna be a very different Santa Claus season in this year.
02:11: So before we jump into the insight to have… ’cause you always have these amazing stories during this time of year that I… They’d always bring tears to my eyes, and I wanna share some of those with you. That’s the person that’s listening. But before we get into that, I wanna talk a little bit about what it’s like to be in family relationship with me, because I think there’s this… I try and do a good job of admitting my flaws, but I think we all have our blind spots, and I think you have a lot of insight into what I’m really like.
02:49: I know a thing or two. It’s only been 44 years of being Patty’s brother.
02:55: Yeah, so I told a story in our private Facebook group that people just found so fascinating, and it was about the Spatula Award in our family, so I am not gonna tell the story the way I told it, I’m gonna let you tell the story, and so… Obviously, you guys all know listening that our father passed away last year, and so the path load came out of a day… Jim was it the day after he passed away. I can’t remember when you guys came down…
03:32: Yeah, ’cause he passed away in the morning, we came down that evening, and then the next day we were in the condo clearing it out.
03:39: Okay, so you listening, if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ve heard my version of what this journey has looked like… Now, Jim, Why don’t you tell how the spatula award came to be.
03:50: So what’s interesting, whenever I think of the spatula, I think of, as Patty has mentioned, both of our parents have passed, and it’s interesting, the things in our family that means the objects that means some things to others that don’t necessarily mean something to me. And the spatula growing up, my mom was a great cook and she would make French toast on Saturday mornings, and she had this spatula and it was modeled and it was kind of orange-ish red, but it was… I knew when I saw the spatula, like we were gonna have french toast that morning, and of course, my mom made the most amazing french toast, fast forward, we are at the condo, we just lost our dad… It was a very difficult time. We’d lost her mom eight years ago, and you’d think Okay, I’m prepared for this. We’ve already lost one parent, but you lose your dad and it’s a completely different experience. So Patty is a little tougher than I am. Let’s just say I am… If it came to who’s the more sensitive one, I went in the landslide, and that was hard because there was a lot of stuff that had to be done, we had to clear out anything from just like the refrigerator, to getting old furniture and things out to the curb and then there was just tons of stuff and in hindsight, Patty can see all that needed to be done, and I couldn’t…
05:18: I was in the midst of the grief, and all I could see was memories of memories of my childhood and my life with my father with my parents. I forget what I was exactly assigned to, but I found the spatula and it was a source of joy…
05:36: I’m gonna interrupt you, I’m gonna tell you what you were assigned to… Here we go, ’cause this’ll give everyone insight to how I actually talk to you. So we were there, it was me and Jim and his wife, Sonya, and a cousin to our cousin, really sibling, so Amory and Tony, and really… What we were trying to do is get out everything that would go bad or get underneath any bills that might need to get paid, so you, Jim were assigned to the dry goods section to get all the dry goods into bag, so we could bring them to the food kitchen. Okay, go on to…
06:20: Somewhere along the journey to the dry goods, I found the spatula, and the story gets told a lot in the family.
06:30: Okay I gotta interrupt again, the spatula, everyone, the spatula was in the kitchen, the closet where the dry goods were, were in the entryway. So you hit the entryway first, you would have to go into the kitchen to find this spatula, Jim was assigned to an area that he hits before he gets to the kitchen, so he found his way to this spatula, but you understand it wasn’t in the path of where he was assigned to be. Go ahead. Well.
07:04: We’ll probably end up talking about this, I have ADHD in my mind, I was like, Oh, there might be dry goods in the kitchen that I’ve gotta get to, or just doing a general survey of the scene, organizing and focusing is not my strong strong point by any stretch. So yeah, I’m sure I glanced at the dry goods but made my way to the spatula and I had the spatula in my hand, and I remember just kinda walking around and it’s not a big condo, it was like the little living room, the dining room. Everybody’s working seriously. I don’t remember not working, all I remember is having the spatula in my hand and just trying to take in everything, and then comes the general Patty Lennon ’cause folks, there are marching orders. There’s assignments, we’ve all got an area, it’s almost like zone defense and basketball, and I was in the bleacher somewhere.
08:04: Yeah, as you’re telling the story, I realized if they were giving out, if they were gonna take all the executive functioning and divide it out between the siblings, clearly there was a disproportionate amount given to me that made me a little over the top, so… Yeah.
08:22: Yeah, she’s… Patty is an amazing, wonderful woman, she’s also a little bit terrifying at times, and years ago, when my nephew was less than two years old, we were spinning him around in Tony, Amory, and Tony’s living room, I don’t know what we did, but it definitely got a Patty all riled up and I was like, Wow, this is terrifying. I’m looking for somewhere to hide, somewhere to cover, or was it… Maybe we were gonna wake up one of the kids because there was balloons… Anyway, I’m going on a tangent, so… No.
08:56: No, no, no. We’re gonna talk about this. Okay, people, if you have kids, now I’ve got a baby. Right, he was not two… You were not spinning him around… He, I have a baby, right? And I have a chance to leave this house and we’re gonna do one of the things that are the most fun for me, which is to go to a haunted core mates and what… My son was a crazy person at bedtime, if he needed me, then he would just make me feel terrible for leaving, so we had finally gotten him down to sleep, he wasn’t two… He was one or one and a half, ’cause Katie wasn’t born yet they start blowing up balloons and popping them, people popping balloons for no reason whatsoever. Go ahead.
09:45: Well, I heard a tone in my sister’s voice that I had never heard out of her mouth, but had certainly heard it out of my mother’s mouth before it was a… I don’t know even know if I could describe it, it was just auto instantly felt… You instantly felt both guilty and terrified at the same exact moment, which is kind of a weird combination and… Yeah, no, I learned very, very early on that I needed to be just a little more aware of Mike around. So let’s just put it that way, but.
10:24: We’re back to dad’s condo and you’re wandering around with this spatula in your hand… Go ahead.
10:29: So Patty gets frustrated with me. Everybody is getting stuff done. Apparently, I wouldn’t know. I am attempting to help as well, and my version of attempting to help was holding this 40-year-old half-broken model spatula and wandering around as if that was what the most important thing needed to do. And in all fairness, I was in the midst of grief and didn’t really… Wasn’t really aware of my surroundings. Just that this needed to be done, and I’m holding the spatula. And I’m trying to connect with the family. I’m sorry, I’m trying to connect with my dad, with my mom with everything’s going on, it’s completely overwhelming, and then in comes Patty and there’s stuff to be done, and I said to her the famous words, I’m doing the best that I can.
11:22: And that is what born would… Gave birth to… Much later on, the spatula award. So yeah, so I’m gonna tell my… So he’s wandering around the condo and it was a small area, we could all see each other, he would pick up a box of pasta and stare at it with the spatial in another hand and then put it back on the shelf, he had just picked it up from now, in fairness to you, Jim, before that time, I hadn’t really looked into the different ways people grieve in a very specific functional way… Obviously, I know the background on the process of grieving, but because you and Mary, my other sister, my sister was handling it very differently than me, I started to look at that data, and I did find out that when you have ADHD and you’re deep in grief, that executive functioning gets even more limited, and so now I do have an appreciation for what you were going through, but at the time, all I saw was because, by the way, Jim doesn’t live in the area, and my cousins do, but they don’t live super close, so whatever didn’t get done was still gonna be on my shoulder, so that was part of my urgency, and so I see him doing this and I’m like, Jim, can you put the spatula down and just start bagging the stuff, and that’s when you said, I’m doing the best I can, doing the best at…
12:48: Toward like a year, I think you… You message me and say, the spatula broke, and you have uncovered through deep research that no normal human being, I think would go through, You have found two… Not one but two of these 40-year-old spatulas that was available for sale on.
13:12: The hard part… Was that they weren’t red… It became red over time, it was… I’m sorry, it was… It became Orange over time, and it was red, that was the first two months of looking… that trip me up.
13:24: Yeah, I think all of you that have ADHD are really feeling this story that I bet you are, I really like you are totally vibing with my brother. So you find two spatulas, then he say, Patty, do you want one? And I said, No, Jim, I do not want a 40-year-old spatula, I didn’t want the burnt one, I don’t want the new one, but… Thank you. Yeah, but that wasn’t gonna stop you right on…
13:55: You gotta understand this spatula is so well built, it’s got the perfect size… I just used it last night. Making pork chops. It’s got the right… Like, weight to it, you know it’s gonna last. That’s why I was a little bit heartbroken that my mom’s had had broke now… ADHD, Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder. What a lot of people don’t realize is that people with ADHD can hyper-focus on something if they’re properly motivated, and.
14:22: I was hyper-focused on finding this thing, I was searching through eBay, I was Googling it, and I finally found a group on Reddit that help you to find things, and they found it in 36 hours. I was so excited and of course, there was two… Why would I just buy one? I got one for my sister, so even though I told him I don’t want it, he gave it to me anyway, and that day we decided to rather than have it just sit on a shelf, we will make it mean something. And so what does it mean now, Jim?
14:56: This is the spatula that is the doing the best I can award, and anybody in the family who was doing the best they can receive the spatula in the mail, and they know that they are the proud recipients of doing the best they can, and they can wander around their house or their apartment. Holding it up, staring at boxes, that’s a nice thing to possess, and.
15:23: For those of you who are amazed that I left my husband with the kids for a week in the middle of covid and went to the Cape by myself. I did leave the spatula in his desk right when I left because I knew by the time I got back, he’d been telling me he did the best he could, and let me tell you, man, his bar is a lot lower than mine… I didn’t know you left it for Matt, that’s awesome. I did alright, but it’s back with me because out of all of us, I’m the one that has kids at home learning remotely, so I am the one who’s doing the best I can, although as you head into Santa season that actually the spatula might need to go to you, so now let’s transition there and say, One of the things I admire about you so much is just how society would ask you to go left, and yet you still kept choosing right, you keep choosing these non-traditional path. So why don’t you share a little bit about how you got to this place where you do the work you do today…
16:25: Sure. In my life, I’ve always looked back and said, How should I have done this? Could I have made different choices? What path should I have been on? When I got out of college, all I wanted to do was travel. That was really what meant the world to me, I hadn’t traveled that much at that point, and so while my friends were finding careers, finding paths, choosing, choosing cities to live in, what I wanted to do was to journey to travel to see the world. I joined a program called AmeriCorps, it was the greatest year of my life, it was the most difficult year of my life, a team of 10 of us did volunteer projects for a program called Triple C, And we were through the southeast part of the United States, we did anything from building houses for Habitat for Humanity to teaching in a rural Middle School in Western South Carolina. It was an amazing year. I finished that up, I says, You know what, I’ve never lived in Asia, I should move to South Korea. So that’s what I did. It was right after September 11th. It was a strange time, I had no experience teaching English, but I went and for the first month, it was kind of interesting, then I got homesick and I struggled, and I had all these kids who didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Korean, and my job was to teach them.
17:41: And while I was in Korea, one of the things that I had brought with me was my balloons now, I had taught myself how to make balloon animals when I was 19, we’re talking, dogs wore basic stuff out of pure desperation, I brought the balloons into the classroom and I started making the simple animals and it was like a light bulb went off in my students eyes, in my student… It was like a light bulb went off above my students heads, I had something they wanted, it was these balloons. And they had to communicate with me in English and not just… Hello, how are you? I’m fine, me too. It was, I would like to have a dog, but they do find the word-to job they had to communicate with each other. It was a great moment. And it changed my experience in Korea, where teaching English was difficult to actually. Making a difference. Being able to make a connection. I come back, I take a traditional job in Boston, running arts programs, I didn’t work out, I got laid off, but when I got laid off, I want a plane ticket anywhere in the world.
18:49: I went to Australia for six months to clear my head, I was in the outback, I meet these indigenous children, and again, the balloons, they had never seen balloons twisted before, and I spent the day twisting with them, teaching them how to twist them. I was really struggling, I was 25 years old at this point. And when you’re 25, you think you’ve gotta have your whole life figured out, it doesn’t occur to you that that’s not the norm, but I’m thinking Everybody else has got this figured out, I don’t… But the one thing I’m good at is entertaining kids and making kids smile… I come back and I start my company, Jungle Jim. I had no business running a company, I had worked 55 jobs at that point because I would take a part-time or a full-time job, and after a few months, I would get bored and move on. This was before I was diagnosed with ADHD. In hindsight, it makes sense, but the experience as I had up until that point, nothing clicked except for this, I could make kids laugh and I could make it smile. Now, interestingly enough, Patty, I don’t know if you remember this, but Patty had a friend from college who asked me to play Santa Claus one December…
19:56: I was in college, I think they were just a couple of years out, and they had the suit and I dressed up like Santa for her, two nieces now, I look back at pictures of that, I don’t think I had a belt, and the beard looked like… I was a kind of alternative version of a big foot, but these little girls, I was Santa Claus and it was amazing, it was really… It was special. And that stayed in the back of my mind. So fast forward, I start Jungle Jim’s. I was dressing up as costume character is anything from Pirates to wizards, that kind of thing. One of my clients says to me, Hey, do you play Santa Claus, and when you start a business and somebody offers you work… You say yes to everything. So do you play Santa Claus? Yes, yes I do. I had to get a suit down my first suit on Craigslist, and I remember purchasing it in this parking lot, and this woman had two suits, which I wish I bought ’cause it was a good suit. In that December, I dressed up as Santa Claus, and I couldn’t believe it.
20:56: I was like, People are paying me to do this. I come in, I get to greet everybody, a couple of good ho ho hos, and we were off to the races. And it was kind of fun in 2004 I got the domain, santaboston.com, which I didn’t think it was a big deal, but that helps send a lot of business my way. I’m gonna slow down here for just a moment, but that was kind of the origins of how I became Santa Claus.
21:23: I love that, and there’s so many pieces of the puzzle that aren’t in that story, but for the sake of moving to other juicier parts that I wanna… Share with everyone, I’ll fast-forward it, but I would just also say I would imagine… I mean, I always admired your ability to follow your dreams, Jim, but I would imagine watching me be a banker and our sister be a social worker in very traditional roles, and yet having dad who is an entrepreneur, his whole life must have been very, must have pulled you in a lot of directions.
22:01: It did pull me in a lot of directions, it’s funny you mentioned the banking, my sister had this great corporate job, she was doing everything she was supposed to do, and then there’s Jimmy who’s just out in left field, moving jobs, moving locations… Even Mary with the social work, like it had a very she had a very good path and there was no path. I know the stress that it must have caused mom and dad, I didn’t think about it at the time, but it was the only thing that clicked for me… It was the only thing that made sense. When I started Jungle Jim, so I had no idea what I was doing when I started playing Santa Claus. I just knew that for the first time in my life, I was on the path that worked, I was making a difference and I was doing something that I felt good about.
22:56: And the reason I’m even bringing that up is I just know for a lot of people listening ’cause I hear this from people like, what’s my purpose? What’s my purpose? And I always say, your purpose is just who you are today like you bring your light to the world and you just are, but typically to feel like your work matches your soul, you know that’s what people mostly are talking about with when they say their purpose and I think your story is helpful to understand that the clues are always there, it’s just… You are a really good example of someone having the courage to follow the clues a lot earlier, but you can do that at any time, but at this point in your Santa journey… So for those of you, like fast forward, Jim has invested significant amounts of money in his work, so… How much is your Santa suit cost? Is always like amazes me.
23:55: Yeah, so I have a number of different Santa suits and they generally run anywhere between 1000 and 2000 a holy molly. The wig and the beard is the real… So just to give you an idea, for my Santa Suit, it’s not just the suit, it’s a handmade leather belt that I had made by a leather maker in Montana, and I think I paid 300 for that. I have the 400 motorcycle boots. Those are steel tip, when the child steps on my foot, it makes life a lot easier, I’m not a real bearded Santa, I’m a designer bearded. And we use Yaks hair, thanks to another Santa who put me on to this, I was able to obtain a Yak’s hair set ’cause it looks like Santa Claus, you don’t know that it’s attached on to me, so the first set of Yak’s hair beard was 1500 and so on and so forth, rippy gloves that allow me to turn the pages of The Night Before Christmas to spectacles that are real bifocal so that I look legitimate.
24:57: Yeah, man is like… I have to say, even for my kids who have seen you their whole life, when we’re there at the tree lighting in Boston, even they are still blown away like you really… You just embody Santa at such a deep level, and I know it’s ’cause it comes from the very core of your being, Jim, because you’ve always… You’ve always embodied this magic in the world long before I even understood what magic was you embodied it, so it’s really amazing to say… So you always have some really good stories and really heart-opening stories that I think all of us could stand to hear some stuff right now that just reminds you of the goodness of humanity. Can you just share one or two of those stories of kids and ways that just a simple… Just like with you and teaching children in another country, how a balloon can open their hearts to something that they just weren’t interested in before, just some stuff that’s come up in your journey.
26:03: It’s the greatest privilege of being Santa Claus, at the end of the day, it’s… Sometimes the crowds cheer, and sometimes there’s these great events, but the biggest thing is just simply that one-on-one with each child. And they’re seeing Santa Claus, it’s the magic of the season. Yes, Santa Claus is the one who brings the presents and the toys, but it’s bigger than that for all of us, and especially for children, it’s not just the presents, it’s the love, it’s the fellowship, it’s the bringing together of everything. And I think kids pick up on that much more so than… Much more so than we realize, I meet so many good kids and I meet so many funny kids, and I wanna tell you a story, I’m a private event, Santa. So the majority of my work is in corporate events and going to people’s houses, and I always like to park away ’cause I don’t like the children to see Santa Claus getting out of the car. So I’m walking through this part of Central Massachusetts, and I look over and I see a seven-year-old boy, it’s got no jacket on… I remember his cheeks were red with the cold, and it was one of the little boys that I was going to be visiting at the party, he says Santa Claus…
27:23: I thought you were lost. I came to find you. And I was like, Well, tell me your name, my young friend. He says I’m Tommy. I said, Well, Tommy, thank you so much. Why don’t you show me the way into the house, so Tommy and I walk hand in hand, we’re chatting, he’s telling me all the things that have happened that year, what he’d like to have for Christmas, they got a new puppy dog. It was all good sort of good stuff. We opened the door and all the children, scream, SANTA, and all the adult scream Tommy, because Tommy had left the house, not told anybody without a jacket, and everybody was frantically looking for Tommy in the woods and couldn’t find him. Tommy came out to make sure Santa could find his way there… That’s one story. So you.
28:08: Know what, the story that always opens my heart so much is the one where I think that just happened last year, but it was the child who’s unbeknownst to you, his father had passed. Right.
28:21: Yeah. So kids are pretty savvy, and I have a website, the phone number is on there. And every year, especially for the last few years, I get phone calls and text messages because the kids know to Google Santa Claus and they find me, and I had just… I remember I had just come out of an acupuncture session and my phone rings, and at this time of the year, I answer any number because I assume it’s gonna be somebody looking for Santa Claus. And it was a little boy named Roman, and he says, Hello, Santa Claus. I wanted to tell you what I wanted to have for Christmas. It’s not the first time I’ve gotten a call like this, and it won’t be the last. I said, well, it’s very good to chat with you, Roman, tell me what would you like to have for Christmas? Roman and I chatted for a few minutes, and that was that a couple of minutes later, phone call from the same number… I assume it’s Roman calling back. It’s Romans mom. And she says, I am so sorry. He grabbed up my phone, he called you. And she didn’t even know who I was.
29:23: I said, Well, I’m Santa Claus. I think that’s what he figured out, and so she got a little emotional, his dad had passed away a few days before, this was the day of his father’s funeral, and on the day of his father’s funeral, he decided he wanted to talk to Santa Claus. The mom was beside herself, I was kind of beside myself, it’s hard to imagine being the Santa Claus in that moment was a bigger deal than I realized, and that’s where being Santa Claus isn’t just a calling, it’s a gift. I do what I do and it’s pretty fantastic, and I like to think I make a positive difference, but I get much more out of being Santa Claus than I could ever… I could ever give back a Santa Claus for children, he can answer everything he can bring you, He can bring you anything, and I was the one that little Roman turned to… When his dad had passed.
30:28: I think the story touches me so much too ’cause we just lost our dad, and you want so bad, even as a grown-up, you just want so bad to have access to something that tells you that there’s forces in the world that are magical that the world is not as limited as it feels.
30:52: And that’s Santa Claus… And that’s okay. And especially this year, yeah, this is a time where I feel like we need Santa Claus more than ever, and Santa Claus is gonna be coming very differently, and that’s okay. But it’s funny too, because you reminded me, Patty, it, it was less than nine months since dad had passed that this little guy called me, so…
31:25: Yeah, and I remember when you told me that story, it just touched me so much ’cause it just felt like such a mirror for what you were going through as well as like a boy who lost his dad, and that there’s just so many ways where we can be giving magic to another person and receiving it in the same moment. I know things have shifted this year because a lot of what you did was in-person event, and you know, just to brag a little about my bro… He’s a big deal in the Santa world, the city of Boston. He’s there, he’s their Santa, he’s the one that lights the tree. We go up there for the big tree lighting in Boston, and it’s a beautiful ceremony, and I know that you have big corporate accounts, and so it’s different this year, but what really just struck my heart is that even though you’re this big-time Santa, You’re really… You made this offering available, so really any family could access… Well, I shouldn’t say any family, but most families could budget to access your magic, and so why don’t you tell a little bit about why you shift it…
32:38: And by the way, for those of you who do not, I should say this, I realized that Santa is not something that every culture embraces and every family embraces, and if you don’t, I’m certainly not assuming you do, but for those that do want to tell them a little bit about how you shift your offerings this year so that people could access this magic and the way they could do it.
33:01: Okay, yeah, I’d love to talk about that. So this year is gonna be a little bit different. This year, it’s gonna be virtual, and back when the pandemic hit in March, I had 100 shows lined up for the summer and all of those canceled, I didn’t know what Zoom was, but in early May, I was asked to perform for a group of… A small group of children on Zoom, and now I’ve been performing virtually since May, so there’s a lot of different ways you can see SANTA virtually this year. What I’m gonna be doing is offering families the chance to visit with Santa Claus on Zoom, and so people said, Oh wow, it’s… So how disappointing you won’t get to see the children in person. It’s gonna be a little bit different. I’m actually really excited for this year. And for the way the visits are going to go, Here’s why… Yes, I’m definitely gonna miss seeing the children in person, however, virtually gives us an opportunity to do some things that we wouldn’t normally… So number one, when families hired me to do a virtual visit, they fill out a questionnaire, they can fill out as much or as little as they want, but now as opposed to me trying to figure out the child’s name subtly or their ages or things like that, now, I know they’ve got a sibling, they just got a new puppy, they’ve been cleaning their room, they definitely need to work on eating their vegetables, whole sorts of information that Santa wouldn’t be privy to on your regular visit.
34:39: And that’s really great. That’s number one. Number two, a lot of children get shy around Santa Claus, especially the younger children, he’s this big man with a big beard, everybody’s excited about him, but they’re not so sure now he’s through a screen, now there’s a chance to just take the pressure off. So I’m gonna be offering these virtual visits, they’re about eight minutes long, and they give children the chance to visit with Santa. Nice thing is too, we can actually have grandparents zoom in, I know a lot of kids haven’t gotten see their grandparents and the kids… When there’s a visit with it when there’s a visit with Santa Claus, the children are watching me and I’m kinda out of the corner of my eye seeing the parents and the grandparents, ’cause they love it, they see their kids excited. They say the funniest things. So there’s actually a chance for other family that wouldn’t necessarily get to see their kids this year and their grandkids to zoom in as well, so as much as it’s disappointing, we won’t see each other in person, there is some great opportunity to have a good Santa Claus experience. That’s awesome.
35:47: I think also there’s a financial piece of it that makes it more accessible because to have someone like you, which by the way, I wanna say if you’re wondering what he was doing over the summer, Jim also does children’s educational entertainment primarily in libraries over the summer that isn’t involved in Santa, there’s other aspects of his business, but if you’re wondering who books 100 Santa visits in the summer to not have a lot of people, they actually booked him for educational training, entertainment that educates in the libraries, but I did wanna clarify that for people to be… Because I think they would have been like, Who are these people booking set all year round. But normally, to book you, it’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and yet now families can access you for like 49… or 50.
36:39: Right? Yeah, so it’s 49. You get an 8 minute-visit, you fill out a questionnaire, we not only do I like to visit with the children, but we get to read a little bit of the night before Christmas, there’s a lot of different ways that we can make the visit special and… Yeah, Santa’s a popular… And as a popular guy, and normally, I’d be charging a much higher hourly rate in part because of travel, you have get to the event, you have to leave the event, you gotta set up, but Santa will be broadcasting from the North Pole this year, which is pretty cool.
37:13: That’s awesome. So where can people find out about you? Jim what’s the website. You wanna send them to and we’ll put it in the show notes as well.
37:20: Okay, yeah, so I actually created a new website for the virtual experiences it’s santaasap.com, so that’s S-A-N-T-A, ASAP dot com, and you could find out a little bit more. You can book days and times, my information’s on there, if you have any questions, you’re welcome to do that, but everything you need will be right on santaasap.com.
37:45: Awesome, okay, so last thing, last question for you is in this time that we’re in… ’cause the thing I’ve been talking a lot about is just, we’re in this time that is what’s challenging for a lot of people, both because of the pandemic in the US, because of the political stuff going on, but there seems to be this growing divisiveness in a lot of communities, and I’m curious what you would say. What is Santa’s take on this, what is Santa’s advice for the time we’re in… Or what Santa’s outlook for the time that we’re in.
38:22: That’s a great question. And as Santa Claus, I can tell you that right now, as difficult as it is, as challenging is all of this time has been, this is a chance to be grateful, this is a chance to show gratitude. People have said to me, You know, oh man. It’s not gonna be the same. I’m like, no, Santa visits aren’t gonna be the same this year. They’re gonna be different and they’re gonna be important. Santa just represent gifts. Santa or toy Santa represents love. He represents fellowship, he represents a season where we can all come together, and right now we all need to come together, and the Santa Claus, among other people is an example, and he’s an example to children. Santa wears a mask. Some people have been concerned. What do I tell my children? Like SANTA is in the at-risk population and how we safely visit our house, and the good thing is, is Santa has Santi bodies and he is protected, just like the magic that allows them to get in and out of houses and down chimneys, just like the magic of delivering toys all over the world, Santa also has the magic to deliver presence and deliver joy, and stay safe and make sure you are all staying safe, and this is…
39:40: Santa can’t come unless you’re definitely asleep in bed, so that’s covid precautions gotta be… You gotta get to bed early on Christmas Eve.
39:50: That’s awesome. Well, thanks for being here, Jim. And for those of you listening, if you do have Santa in your family’s repertoire, then check out my brother, he’s amazing. And certainly, even if Santa isn’t a part of your culture, I think the advice that we got here is important, which is we do have to figure out a way to come together. We really truly do. Thanks so much for being her Jim. I appreciate you so much.
40:22: I am very happy to be here and I wanna wish all of your listeners very happy holidays, and I’m gonna… I’ll sign off with a good Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas, everybody.
40:34: Hey, thanks for listening. If you know someone who needs to hear this message, please share this episode with them, and if you’re feeling really generous, I’d love for you to leave us a review at your favorite podcast app, it helps us reach many more people and it fills my heart with so much joy. When I hear what you have to say about what I’ve shared, I’m cheering for your success, have an amazing day, and don’t forget. Always create space for Magic.