I just got home from attending the Performance Fundamentals Christmas Performer Workshop with Santa True.

San Diego has one of the best role-playing communities in the United States. I am blessed with many options for excellent gaming with great role-play and top-notch storytelling.

So many people play D&D or Pathfinder and settle for really terrible gaming experiences because they don’t know any better. They’ve never had anything better than dungeon crawls, dice rolls, random encounter tables, and toxic people at the table behaving selfishly. You go to a convention like Gen Con, sit down with these people, and have a “meh” experience, and they are raving about how good it was. It’s sad. That’s what you think “good” looks like? Oh, sweet summer child. No.

And so we in San Diego are advocates of better gaming wherever we go, doing what we can to show others what it can be like for a role playing game to be excellent. Helping them to learn how to up the bar at their own tables at home. It’s not entirely altruistic. Upping the bar for gaming everywhere means we get to play in better games. Everyone wins.

It turns out that the same sort of situation is the case when it comes to Santa performers.

Anyone can put on the suit, slap on a fake beard, some boots, white gloves, etc. and be Santa.

As a brand new Santa, lots of folks will give you feedback about how you’re the best Santa they’ve ever seen. That certainly feels good to hear.

But what are they comparing you to?

With Santas, like with gaming, the bar for what people think of as “good” is disturbingly low.

If the last guy they experienced showed up drunk, stinking of alcohol and cigarettes, said gross lecherous things to mom, and scared the kids, then that’s not a tough act to beat.

You can be a Santa who is nothing more than a pretty prop to set in a chair and pose the family with for pictures, and if you didn’t make the kids cry, you’ll get told you did a great job.

But there’s so much more that you can do as a Santa than just have white facial hair and a soft gut tucked into a red velour suit.

Santa True’s CPW taught me all kinds of tips and tricks for the acting and performing skills, vocal skills, mime skills, etc. to make meeting Santa a truly magical experience. One that families will remember in a good way. I am so looking forward to this upcoming holiday season to put some of these things to use. Until then, I’ll be practicing. And working with my local Santa IBRBS and FORBS groups, just like the gamers, to support one another and help lift everyone’s quality level up.

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