Busking for Santa: Hour 1

Yesterday I had an idea.  I have been wanting for a few things lately:

to sing

to give

to have meaning this holiday season.

I put those three desires into my noggin and let them stew a bit and I came up with a plan!

I am going to sing for 20 hours between now and Christmas.  I am going to sing in public places holding my donation bag with an explanation of what I am doing. Here is what my bag says:

ImageWhen the 20 hours is complete I am going to take the money and purchase gifts for a family this Christmas.  If I earn enough money I will do it for two families (and more!)

I started today.

I was nervous.

I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it because I didn’t want ANY negative reactions.  I first spoke to a cop to ask him the rules of busking, he asked: What’s busking? Once we were on the same page he was very nice and encouraging and I decided to go for it.

Pickle was starting to get fussy so my hope was that she would fall asleep once I started. Mission Accomplished.

I first chose a spot by Macy’s but then realized that the window display had fairly loud music and there were also many indigent people sitting around me, which I was cool with, but I had a few goals in mind: traffic, safety, & acoustics (ha!) so that did not pass the safety test.  I walked a block south and ended up singing near a crosswalk at 33rd near 6th Ave.

Here was my view:


Once I felt situated, I just STARTED singing.  As soon as I started singing all fear went away.  It was so liberating to just sing the highest notes as loud as I could for anyone to enjoy.

Here is what I observed hour 1:

not many people stop

a few people reach into their pockets and then change their mind or realize they have no money

a few people read my sign

a few people took my photo

there was one girl with a beautiful blond braid wearing red who read my sign and took my photo and I was hoping she would be my first tweet

men give more than women

one person told me to: “Shut up already” but he did it passive aggressively and he was the only one

most people put money in the bag, but some handed it straight to me

minorities give more than white people

I felt like I was in a little fish bowl.  I could see out and observe and they treated me a little like I was untouchable too.  It was fascinating.  I will be glad when my sinus infection is over because I won’t have to clear my throat as much.  I forgot my words a few times because I got distracted by observing.  I need to hydrate more BEFORE I begin.  At the 40 minute mark it started to get a little tingly in my fingers, but I also did NOT have my gloves on.  I will try to busk outside when it is a weather day like today, and when it’s not I will do the indoor places.

I look forward to other singers joining me, but I did have a wonderful time alone, and I think this will be JUST the thing to make my holiday season VERY special. A gift to myself!


11 responses to “Busking for Santa: Hour 1

  1. You are so brave! Good job!

  2. So proud to call you my girl.

  3. I thought you were awesome before…
    But now you just got even awesome-r!

  4. YOU! Never a dull moment with you….that is why I love you!

  5. Awesome!!!! I love this. If I were in NYC I’d find you and sing with you ;)

  6. I brought the laptop to the dinner table tonight so I could show Dad. He is weeping.

  7. Love your creativity and heart! What fun and adventure! Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to do what you are doing? Your courage has encouraged me, your example has energized me, your diligence has inspired me, your love has swollen my heart! I am so proud, all my love,


  8. You go girl! What an amazing and brave thing to do and so cool on so many different levels. Good luck with the other 19 hours.

  9. That is so nice that you are doing that. Very brave too!

  10. What an AWESOME idea!! How liberating:) When I was 18 and an ex-gymnast I had this random urge to tumble down a seemingly empty street in NYC one evening. It turned out a group of guys were practicing breakdancing across the street, and saw me. They came over, gave me a 2-hour lesson and invited me to dance in time-square that evening. It is still one of my all time favourite Manhattan memories. So exhilirating! Will be following your journey:)

  11. Lucky you’re in NYC. In CHI you have to apply for (and probably pay for) a busking license. :/ NYC is lucky to have YOU!!!

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