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Mrs. Claus is coming to town

When Ann Votaw's Mrs. Claus wasn't hired last year on Christmas Eve, she warmed up at FDNY Engine 24, Ladder 5, Battalion 2 in Lower Manhattan. Photo Credit: Ann Votaw

When Ann Votaw's Mrs. Claus wasn't hired last year on Christmas Eve, she warmed up at FDNY Engine 24, Ladder 5, Battalion 2 in Lower Manhattan. Photo Credit: Ann Votaw

Santa Claus comes to life each December through NYC’s male actors. Yet as a newly credentialed Mrs. Claus, I am aware of snow blindness when it comes to hiring Santa’s wife.

I understand.

If I were a party planner on a tight budget, I would hire him instead of her.

Not only is his image more recognizable, but his role is a local favorite synonymous with “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Written by New Yorkers from earlier times, the poem and the film helped solidify the American idea of St. Nick as a jolly elf with twinkly eyes. In fact, Santa was born in New York, a modern version of the Dutch Sinterklaas transformed through the imaginations of immigrants and artists.

The legend of Mrs. Claus is newer and less developed, yet so joyful that her presence magnifies his. And while I would never want to step on my fictional sweetheart’s boots, I hope event coordinators would consider her for tea parties, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and large banquets that have her working alone or as part of a two-person team.

In NYC, I personally don’t know another Mrs. Claus. But I am friendly with several Santas, all of whom want to work with her, if only there were demand. I’m on two gigging websites that only want him. Still, Mrs. C is about to get big.

In October, I graduated from Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, a prestigious Christmas college in Midland, Michigan. I met 50 Mrs. C’s from all over the United States who thrive in networks like the Lone Star Santas or the Hoosier Santas.

Through these women, I learned Mrs. Claus can be tall, thin, brown or tattooed. Because she and Santa run an international mom-and-pop operation, they perform all sorts of jobs without much thought to which are male or female.

Mrs. Claus can charm guests with her humor and photogenic smile. Children who are afraid of the big guy often march right up to Mrs. Claus.

Yet Mrs. Claus’ greatest lesson is harmony between the sexes. When she makes a grand entrance holding hands with Santa, she radiates like Meghan Markle beside her Prince Harry.

Alone, Mrs. Claus could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, just like her husband. In the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, she could ride in the sleigh with her beloved, not wave from the lower level of the float, like she did this year. And I would like to see Mrs. Claus in the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular.” While I applaud the show’s digital technology, an improvement would be a script with snappy dialogue between her and him.

I see opportunities for Mrs. Claus that celebrate men and women getting along, and NYC could be her proving ground.

My theory is that if Mrs. Claus makes herself fashionable in New York, she can make it anywhere.

This appeared Dec. 17, 2018, in amNew York.

The Faces of Mr. and Mrs. Santa