Some children won’t miss the Christmas tradition of a one-on-one meeting with Santa Claus this year, thanks to the virtual know-how of Deer Park resident Alec White.
The 23-year-old recently created Personalized Santa Videos as an online service. It draws on his experience as an actor at Deer Park High School and a budding filmmaker at the University of Houston, where he graduated in May with a bachelor of arts in media production.
White, who honed his approach to the St. Nick role — including a hearty laugh — when he entertained kids as Santa in 2018 at Moody Gardens in Galveston, had been wrestling how to offer a safe Santa service amid the pandemic.
“I came up with the idea, thinking that with the holiday season just around the corner and COVID-19 still hindering celebrations, everyone needs a little visit from Santa,” White said.
“However, I knew there would be a lot of parents who won’t want to wait in line with 100 people with COVID going on; so a personalized video from the one and only Santa Claus would be a way to keep it safe. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we can arrange for ‘the big guy’ to come to town.”
Instructions for ordering a $15 30-second video, $25 one-minute appearance or $30 FaceTime with Santa are available under the “services” tab on the venture’s Facebook page.
For a recent one-minute video, White huddled with a boy’s parents about his interests, then appeared as Santa to wish a child merry Christmas and season’s greetings for his family, including the boy’s new baby brother.
“I said that both of them are still on the ‘nice’ list; so stay there and maybe Santa will bring him something in the way of dinosaurs and tractors. Oh, and there might be a blue bicycle on the way.”
Other clients who have invested in personalized holiday videos for family, friends and co-workers have asked White to dress as Buddy from the popular “Elf” movie or the grumpy main character from Dr. Suess’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”.
Fortunately, White was already equipped with those costumes, thanks to Christmas gifts last year from his grandparents, Danny and Mary Peterson of Pasadena.
“They gave me a Buddy the Elf costume and the mask and hands for the Grinch,” said White.
The Santa suit he wears is a lightweight costume he donned in the 2018 Art Park Players annual Christmas music revue.
It’s much more comfortable than the costume he wore at Moody Gardens.
“That costume was really hot,” he said, “and I had to wear a fat-suit underneath it, along with full pants and real leather boots. I had a beard and mustache that I had to glue on. We started in October, when it would be 80 or 90 degrees at night.”
The week before Christmas was White’s busiest time at Moody Gardens, when there wasn’t time for a break between his regular, four-hour shifts, and some people were still waiting in line when the park closed.
White aims to be available to provide his service to even the most tardy parents.
“I will be taking orders through Christmas Eve for personalized Santa videos,” he said.
For further information, call (713) 307-2544, email [email protected] or visit White’s Personalized Santa Videos Facebook page.
Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]