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visits, events, parties, parades and much more. And when you ask them if they stay pretty busy, they might give you an exasperated, humble chuckle of “yes” that really means, “Words can’t describe how crazy busy our holiday season is.” All three work full-time jobs in addition to the Christmas program during the holiday season, which starts as early as mid-October for them, and the comedy magic act year-round.

Spreading The Spirit

For example, an evening with the Jastrams and Hagel at a home visit starts with Hagel performing a Christmas magic show and singing songs with the audience as Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s elf, before introducing the jolly couple. “I do a Christmas-themed magic show, and when we start singing that’s usually the cue for Santa and the Mrs. to make their entrance and I introduce them,” said Hagel. “I control the line while Santa is talking to the kids, and I’ll entertain them while they’re waiting. I try to ask them questions and get one of them to ask Santa for something goofy, or try to find out from the rest of the kids who is nice and who is naughty.” As much as these three enjoy seeing the awe and wonder in kids’ eyes, there are a few challenges that come with portraying these holiday personas: the nonbelievers and the terrified. While Santa tends to take the spotlight, there’s always going to be someone who’s not a fan of Father Christmas. That’s where the important role of Mrs. Claus comes in.

“The little ones tend to warm up to Mrs. Claus before they do to Santa. I have more of that grandmother look,” said Kay. “We tell parents that if their child is afraid, they can walk away and take their time so that they can realize we aren’t going to hurt them. I can read them stories or give them stuffed animals to play with. That’s my role.” And then there are the nonbelievers. The trio is sometimes notified of children who are nonbelievers or may be on the fence. Kay said that her husband is great with handling such situations and has a special way of really getting kids to think twice. “I usually go on the offensive, especially if I get any advance notice from parents. You can tell when they walk up sometimes too,” said Al. “I’ll say something like, ‘See here, there’s enough negativity in the world without another nonbeliever. You realize what happens when you don’t believe anymore, right? All of those cool, fun presents that you really like, the video games, whatever it is­–the minute you stop believing, they turn into socks and underwear.’”

Those Magic Moments

But of course, Christmas spirit doesn’t allow much room for negativity, and that’s why all of the touching moments over the years fuel the holiday passion of Hagel and the Jastrams. “I’ve just found that I really enjoy doing this no matter what I’m doing it for. We’re all close friends, and

Booking information: Contact Al Jastram 701-200-3586

we work really hard at what we do to make it look good, whether it’s our comedy magic show or the Christmas program,” said Al. “The payoff comes either during or after the event when we get that instant feedback. I just really have a good time with the initial responses of the kids. That look of awe and wonder will never get old.” “Yes, we get paid, but we just have so much fun doing it,” added Hagel. And if you’re still a skeptic as to why someone would want to spend their holiday season being booked up to their neck with other families, Al has some advice for you that could easily touch your heart like it has his. “My advice to other grown-ups is that if you have the opportunity, even to do it once, play Santa. You will see Christmas from a whole different point of view. The awe and wonder in those kids’ eyes is just incredible. You’ll never forget it.”

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Fargo Monthly December 2016  

We took a look back some of the great community highlights of 2016, from events and happenings to all of the new local businesses that opene...