It Has Begun: Santa Season Underway.

Each year, for almost two decades, my life flips upside down for six weeks. I put on the red suit, and Joe vanishes.

This year, as is tradition, I started out with a charity event. Highlight? The little boy with the necktie who cried tears of joy. He’d worn his very best, because he’d never met Santa before and wanted to make a good impression.

He did. He opened a lot of hearts that morning, including one of my volunteers from the University of Minnesota Women’s Athletics Department. She was moved by the joy, and sadness, of some of the children who came to see me. I hope my explanation helped: they might be terribly ill, but today they’re all just little children going to see Santa. Their dreams and wishes outweigh the illness for the moment, so rejoice with them.

I think she did.

This is an excellent opportunity to talk about the young women (and one young man) from the University of Minnesota who showed up this year. My head elf, Paige, dances pretty much non-stop for three hours and keeps the children focused on the camera operator (His name is Dick, but he’s shy….) I asked her how she did it, and she showed me her watch: she’d burned off 1200 calories before 11 in the morning.

Each year this crew of amazing young people come out and help with the cookie decorating, ornament and card making, and keeping everyone moving in the right direction. At 7:30 on a Saturday morning when I was sleeping in during my freshman year… hmmm, could be why the sophomore year was rather abbreviated – but I digress.

If you listen to the media and the old fogeys my age, today’s youth have nothing. I beg to differ: Paige and her crew are what I would like every young person to be – outgoing, helpful, kind, in for the finish. All of them worked very hard to help our guests have a great day. I was very impressed. Makes me proud of my alma mater.

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The incredible employees at Blue Sun.

The incredible employees at Blue Sun.

The second event was also great fun, and one that I will be repeating this coming Sunday. (Full schedule is up at http://www.santajoe.com/schedule.html) I had the pleasure of hanging out with the crew at Blue Sun Soda & Sweets Shop.

Just what everyone needs: the excitement of Santa, combined with enough sugar to stun a rhino! Seriously, I left with a case of assorted sodas. Yes, it’s premium stuff and premium prices, but you literally can’t get 99% of these flavors anywhere else.

santa-joe-unwrapping-taffybue-sun-santa-joe-truck

It’s not just the soda and candy, but the style of the place. I have known the owner, Mark Lazarchic, for many years. This was the first time we were able to work together. I’m very glad we did. You see, Mark not only provides good wages and benefits, but he’s the epitome of a small business owner who risks it all to have a vision come true. santa-joe-mark-blue-sun

So, this Sunday head on over between 12 and 3 to see Santa, stock up on soda and candy for the holiday stocking stuffers, and experience a very unique business. Here’s a link to the joint’s map.

holding-a-little-hand-at-blue-sun

The pictures today, were compliments of Amore Fotography and Events. Soledad, the owner and photographer, is tremendous with children, and I loved working with her!

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