Since the first Santa fraternity, the Benevolent Order of Santa, began in New York City nearly a hundred years ago the world was shown that the men who work as Santa’s regional representatives enjoy getting together. This year alone there has been one national eve nt with two more planned along with one international event and many. But what happens when the Claus Family gets together?
One thing that you will always find is fun and laughter. Santas are indeed a jolly sort, especially when you put as many as several hundred in one room. Case in point was the Discover Santa Convention which took place in Branson, Missouri, back in 2006. By all accounts all who attended enjoyed a great time full of laughter, fun, and friendship. As of this year, this trait has not changed. Just this past January the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas met for the annual Santa Claus Reunion luncheon in San Diego, California. Again, fun and friendship was the order of the day and the event was a success, including a Santa flash mob at one lucky burger establishment.
Another thing that you can also count on is plenty of high Christmas style, as was seen at the Celebrate Santa Conventions held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 2009 and 2010. Though these events would prove to cause turmoil due to poor debt management, the colorful red suits and every variation under the sun were a sight to behold. In fact, at the 2010 event there was even a Santa Fashion Show. Both events also included a parade down Gatlinburg’s Parkway. This feature has been planned again later this March as another Santa Gathering simply named “Clausfest” is planned for this area. This time the planners have done it right and are indeed showing that Santa does take care of his bills. Not only does the event feature a parade but also workshops, banquet and Ball for those attending. Check out their website www.clausfest.org for more details.
Something else that can be seen at a Santa gathering is a sharing of the common history that Santas share. That is what April’s Jim Yellig Santa Claus Workshop is all about. Being held April 19-21, 2012, in America’s Christmas Hometown of Santa Claus, Indiana, the event will include plenty of history and presentations to those who have been inducted into the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. For more details visit www.jimyelligsantaclausworkshop.webs.com.
This year there will be many regional events as well. The Buckeye Santas of Ohio will continue their monthly meetings, the Long Leaf Pine Santas of North Carolina and surrounding states will plan to have their annual gathering. The Santa Academy in Atlanta, Georgia is also planned. Watch for future articles that will share information on academies and Santa schools.
There is also a gathering in Bakken, a Danish theme park outside Copenhagen that unites all the Santas of the world. The World Santa Claus Congress has been an annual event each year for several decades. Not only does it celebrate Christmas in July but it is also a great forum where Santas decide on keeping the traditions that have become standard all over the world. The Santas parade through the park; they enter into games and fun, and even take a boat ride in the harbor. Santas the world over feel united from this event.
For many Santas there are elements to these gatherings which just should not happen. These Santas stick with a very conservative code that does not allow one Santa to be in the same room as another due to credibility issues. Indeed, some things must be left to the imagination of the observing child. A game of "find the real Santa" only encourages and nourishes belief. As long as the Santaq is acting within the Santa code of conduct ie morally this should just not be an issue.
This writer has been to many of these gatherings and can share some personal insights with you regarding the hidden secrets of the men of the North Pole. Swapping stories, business cards, and laughs is the rule. Old friends and new friends that become old friends are all around. Plenty of cookies, milk and other foods are prevalent. But the one thing worth mentioning is that trainings take place to ensure that the professional aspects of being Santa are made right so the children have a great experience. Add in a lot of red wardrobes and you have a fun time for a seasoned and a wannabe Claus. By the end of the event everyone is accepted into Santa’s workshop.
So, this year watch out for Santa. You never know where he might be. But do be sure of one thing, he will be meeting up with his brothers all over the globe.