The Final Sleigh Ride

In each of our lives, there will come that one day when the Almighty invites us to join him in the Hereafter.  Our Feast Day.  When we take that last Sleighride and enter the Gates of Heaven to join our Lord God, the Saints, and all loved ones who preceded us.

For many, this is not something we wish to dwell upon.  But within our circle of fellow Santas and Mrs. Claus, and within our generation, we have reached those years when we are always close to friends and love ones who leave us.   It is the Autumn of our lives and we know that somewhere, sometime, we will be called.

Fortunately, today, we live longer than our predecessors.  We take better care of ourselves and we have better health care.  But even with this, the time will come.

In fact, I will guess that once in a while you may already be receiving mailers or other information on planning for the hereafter.  And if you are a veteran, now is a good time to check with the VA, on what is available to you and your family when that day comes.  

So, I wish to give you some of my views on what I feel a Santa or Mrs. Claus should consider and plan for.   I mean, why just leave it to others.  And really, why put the burden on your children and loved ones to figure out what to do.   

Now is the time to maybe put some notes down on paper, on what you wish to be done, and how you wish to be remembered.  This does not necessarily need to be in your will, but having something for the family to follow, in your own words, is very special.  Start by creating a small file where you can collect everything you wish your family to have. 

Because of the second life we have had, that of being the magical and benevolent Santa or Mrs. Claus, we have two personalities to consider when planning for that day.  Many of our relatives, fellow co-workers, and family know us from our youth, our previous life and careers, etc.  

Additionally you will also have those who know you from your current life, in your Holiday Persona.  Both of these can, and in most cases should, be part of your final services. 

What I am covering here today are just my thoughts and notes regarding the Santa and Mrs. Claus part of your life.  You may wish to check on-line, or with a Memorial counselor, to get one of their checklists for all of the other required materials and items you wish to make sure your family has or can get access to.

Your Santa/Mrs. Claus folder should contain the following:

  • Details on how you wish your work as Santa or Mrs. Claus to be presented or shared along with the rest of your life.  This is something you can write yourself, or have a family member assist you in writing.   Yes, you can write your own Obituary. (I like to call it a Memorial Story.)
  • Details on how you wish to be seen by loved ones at your services.  Some families desire an open casket.  Others, like it only open for close family and then closed for the rest of the services.   In some cases, families may want to have a more personal viewing and service for you.   And then at a later date, when there has been more time to notify everyone, the family hosts a memorial service.  This is especially nice when the loved one has lots of friends that may have to come from a distance, or the family needs a little time to plan.   There is also sometimes a need to do something just for the family on covering our previous, pre-Santa, life.   And then, at a later date, to host a memorial that is holiday themed or befitting a Santa.
  • You can also outline what activities, readings or songs you wish to have presented at your services.  You can ask special friends to possibly read something or to tell everyone about one of your favorite experiences.  And of course you will have other friends who will want to step forward to talk about the most memorable moments they knew about you.   If you belong to a Santa Association, they might be a part of the event.  Additionally, you can ask that some one read the poem, “The Last Sleighride.”   This has become a tradition at memorial services for hundreds of Santas and Mrs. Claus.   Click here to read, “The Last Sleigh Ride” by Santa By Philip D. Gurganus.
  • And although you may have spent the twilight of your life at Santa or Mrs. Claus, I have a strong opinion that we should not be wearing a Santa Suit or Holiday attire when being viewed.  Santa and Mrs. Claus never die and therefore, they will never really have a memorial service. 

Besides, we never want to see anyone announcing that “Santa died!”  Nor to have a child to ever see a Santa in a Casket.   You can keep your beard and if you are a member of a special  club or order, you might wear the jacket or clothing of that group.  For example your kilt, if you are a member of Klan Klaus.  Or your blazer if you are a member of the Knights of St. Nicholas.

  • You can however in your memorial service call into detail how you got your calling to help Santa.  You can cover the work you have done.  You could even give some notes on one of your most memorable visits or tasks as Santa.   Personal stories from your life are one of those special moments at a memorial. 
  • I would like to recommend something that is very popular for many memorial services.  That is, having some large photos of yourself displayed for all to see.  In this way everyone sees you as they remember, in your youth, with family, your wedding, photos with children and grandchildred, in the military and of course, in your holiday attire.
  • Another option that some funeral homes now offer is a video presentation or power point slide show of photos from your life.   Today, everyone in our generation has lots of photos from our past to the present.  So it does make it a lot easier.    Whether it is large photos or a slide show, if this is you, I suggest that you start collecting those photos you would like everyone to see.  Put them in a file or digital file your family can find, or put them on a thumb drive and put it in the folder.
  • One thing that has become apparent in recent years is, “What does the family do with Santa or Mrs. Claus wardrobe?”  A lot was invested in these items and it is a shame when we find that something very special was relegated to a thrift store.  One Santa recently found that a $700 Custom Santa suit was bought for $15 at a thrift store and then cut down for a seven-year-old’s Halloween costume.

This is not to say that making a donation to your favorite charity or thrift store is not good.  But, often your items may have a much larger role in the hands of another Santa or Mrs. Claus.   The suggestion is to make a simple list of how you, personally, with to see your item distributed, sold or given away.   In this way your also have the satisfaction and comfort of knowing where they are going and how they will be used and how they may benefit and touch other.   To assist you, click here for some guidelines.

Again, these are my own thoughts.  Should you have some suggestions or know of something that was done for one of our other Santas, please let me know: Santa@NationalSanta.com

This will be a work in progress.   And also please feel free to share anything here.