As revealed in my article Confessions of a Shopping Mall Santa, I am one of the people who dresses up in December, hands out candy canes and poses for pictures. Each shift would provide direct interaction with 200 to 400 people. When I play the role of Santa, I set some initial guidelines for the role. Besides acting and playing the part, my goal was to make each visitor feel special, to focus on their needs, and to provide an uplifting experience. In a few brief moments, anyone meeting Santa can feel their energy shift. From there they carry a new vibration that affects their future experiences.
I am a Reiki healer and apply my knowledge in all situations. As I sit in my chair waiting for the next visitor, I intentionally ground my energy by planting both feet firmly on the ground. I joyfully greet each child, and then ask name and age. Beginning about age three they can answer this question with their fingers. Beginning about age four and a half, they can tell you the number. I would then converse about school or friends or family, and ask what they wanted for Christmas. The answers resulted in many stories.
When children sat on Santa’s lap, they felt an immediate energy shift. When I am in healing mode I am very grounded and my Reiki energy was also activated. My body was warm from the transference of body heat from hundreds of visitors and the healing energy from my hands could be felt through my white gloves. In addition, the red suit worn by Santa has a subliminal effect. Colors invoke feelings. Imagine how different it would feel to sit on the lap of Santa Claus in a BLUE outfit. When the warmth and grounding were enhanced by the root connection of the red suit, both adults and children would sigh and lean back in comfort for their photo.
A few moments with Santa can be enough to ignite the light within each child. I offer them hope and self-confidence, and make them feel special. I asked one young boy if he had been good this year, and his mother told me that he had been hitting other children at school. I said that ‘it is not nice to hit people, but what really matters is that you have such a big heart inside’. The boy’s posture changed from sag to self-confident as he pronounced ‘YES’. He had most likely been hearing a lot about his misbehavior and required a boost of self-worth.
In a similar situation, as a brother and sister sat on my knees, I twisted the usual Santa question. Instead of asking the girl if she had been good this year, I asked if her brother had been nice to her. She replied ‘No, he hits me all the time’. I turned to the brother, whose jaw had dropped wide open, and said that maybe he shouldn’t get any presents this year. For a brief moment, the consequences of his actions had meaning. We then agreed as a group that their next argument would be settled with the words ‘Santa says Be Nice’.
As each child approached, I could tell by their body language how they felt about the visit. Some children would approach with wide eyes and open arms, eager to be with their hero. Other children would begin to grasp their parent, afraid of the experience. Many parents ignored their child’s fear, and would try to put them on my knee. Often these children would be holding on tightly as their parent pushed them away, resulting in tears, crying, and the implantation of feelings of rejection. I would treat these children the same way I get to know a cat, with gentleness and slow movements.
One boy came to visit and stood in front of me with his head bowed. He did not even have the confidence to look Santa in the eye. I noticed that he was wearing a hand-me-down coat with sleeves longer than his arms. I said ‘I know what you want for Christmas. You want arms long enough to fit into that jacket. Can you imagine how good you would be at climbing trees?’ The boy raised his head and looked at me with a big smile on his face and came forward to sit on my knee. In the background I heard his mother say ‘Finally, a Santa who knows how to be nice’.
The honor of playing Santa allowed my participation in creating experiences for thousands of children and adults. With each visitor, emotions were usually at heightened levels. Many children expressed either great joy or great fear. Many parents were swept along with the child’s emotions, and reflected them loudly. In most situations a child’s joy heightened parental love, while a child’s fear heightened parental aggression. In all cases, I attempted to move the children and the family towards feelings of love and self-worth. In return, I remember a lot of smiles.