Santa's Bag Illusion
By Jim Gerrish

What is Santa's Bag but a fluffy cloth version of the Million Dollar Mystery? Can't afford one of those? I’ll show you how to put one on any stage for under $100. You can use it to produce toys galore, a Christmas Tree and Santa himself. You can even produce Elves and actors dressed up as reindeer and snowmen and gingerbread people, if you wish. Once you have the illusion built, the rest is a matter of routining and presentation.

Effect: A thin platform is erected center stage, amid a background setting of a living room bare of Christmas decorations. The platform can be as simple as a sheet of plywood which rests atop two portable saw horses, if you wish. A center pole with a coat hanger affair on top is set into the middle of the platform for reasons which will be explained shortly.

The illusionist brings out an empty red sack, made of wool or felt. He claims that the sack belongs to Santa Claus and has magical powers. Hanging the sack from the hook on the center pole of the platform, he unties the bag and fluffs it open. He then begins a production of garlands, which are used to decorate the walls of the living room setting all around the sides and back of the platform. He even attaches some to the edges of the platform to give it a festive look. Next, he produces Christmas lights, which are likewise strung all about the room and around the platform itself.

Now he reaches into the bag and struggles to produce a full sized Christmas tree. After the tree is produced, an elf appears from the bag, and so now the Illusionist has some help in decorating the tree with garlands, candy canes, and so on. The Illusionist and the elf look around at their work and realize there are no presents under the tree, so they go back to the bag and this time produce Santa Claus himself. At this point, Santa and the elf can finish the production of gifts from the bag and the Illusionist can retire from the stage. The gifts can be placed around as decorations under the tree, or they can be given to members of the audience. At the end, if you wish, Santa can remove his beard and we discover that it is the Illusionist dressed as Santa.

As described, this illusion requires a stage setting with scenery (I show you how to make it), an Illusionist and at least three assistants (the Elf, Santa and one backstage helper).

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