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“The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.” - O. Henry, The Gift of the Magi

December always makes me happy. Family. The words “Merry Christmas.” College football bowl games. New Years Eve and holiday traditions, music, and - at least for me - lots of laughter.

I had a couple of “Not-So-Silent-Nights” in Las Vegas and St Charles, Illinois. When I say “not so silent” I am referring to audience responses, not a Christmas hymn.

It is December 2023, and not unlike the relative who overstays their welcome, Christmas is back again, reminding me of the joy, the chaos and the magic of the next few weeks. In a world where tech reigns supreme, and Santa is probably making use of drone deliveries instead of chimney crawling, I have received a couple of gifts that I accepted with no small amount of sheepishness.

My holiday season started this year in Las Vegas, where Win Win Charity honored me with the John Rotellini Entertainer of the Year Award. Without shilling for the CEO, Jeff Civillico, or the incredible organization he is responsible for, I’ll be succinct: this is an amazing charity, given to helping children in hospitals across the nation, and saluting the great work that doctors, child life specialists, and nurses accomplish every day. I am grateful to be a small part. To be recognized with such a prestigious accolade by Win Win is a gift I accepted with much humility.

I performed for a small, raucous crowd in sin city and the video is still available to view! More important, if you can find a nickel or two, donations are happily accepted at winwincharity.org.

Taylor's crazy travel schedule

A couple of weeks later, my fraternity at the University of Illinois, Sigma Chi, gave me something I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams! (Which is saying a lot - I am a world-class dreamer of impossibilities.)

I was performing for a large crowd at the wonderful Moonlight Theatre in St Charles, IL, and much of the audience consisted of my fraternity brothers from a few decades ago. At the end of my presentation, my fraternity brother Mark Andersen came on stage and handed me a coin, a pin, and a commemoration. A gift that means so much I cannot find words.

I have been named a “Significant Sig,” and to call this an honor is a discredit to the word. I am now a part of an elite group - people who have made indelible contributions to the USA in art and science and medicine and sports and quality of life for people of all races, genders, backgrounds, and education. This is not a resume builder or a feather in my cap. Being named a Significant Sig is absolutely life-affirming. I, someone who is proud of my ability with words, cannot describe the overwhelming positive thrill and appreciation I feel when I remember in a fleeting moment… “I AM A SIGNIFICANT SIG!”

There are Sigma Chis I need to thank, and I will do so for the rest of my life. But in this newsletter, I have to acknowledge Mark Andersen, Greg Pace (who convinced me to join after I had sworn off fraternities after having been kicked out of one), and my fellow pledges of the 79’50 Class. And to all the men I joined at the big Tudor house at Fifth and John in Champaign, IN HOC SIGNO VINCES!

Stories Unlimited Podcast

These recognitions are gifts I have been given, worthy or not, and I am forever grateful.

There is a thread that connects my life, from Sigma Chi to my profession and working with Win Win Charity.

By trade I am a ventriloquist. Or a comedy ventriloquist. Or a musician-comedian-ventriloquist. Whatever that is. But my career began as a ventriloquist with a sock on my hand (think Shari Lewis if you’re of a certain age or understanding). My puppets - I call them “Mannequin-Americans” just to keep things copacetic - my puppets are sewn and held together by thread. I sometimes have to repair them, and I’m surprised just how strong the thread is.

Thread is an amazing thing. Often invisible, it is taken for granted. Define it as unseen and taken for granted. But we all know it’s there.

Thread, regardless of which style you use, and there are many - cotton thread and all-purpose thread and upholstery thread and the afore-mentioned “invisible thread” - is strong. It is a bond. It connects materials and textiles and more.

Just like the thread that meticulously holds together fabrics, creating something beautiful and functional, laughter has served as an invisible thread - not just for me, but for many - because it binds us as a community … like Win Win or Sigma Chi, but also as a nation and a people. And it has woven through my entire life, reinforcing connections, mending divides, and adding color to the tapestry of the collective experiences for everyone I have been around.

That thread of laughter, seemingly fragile, possesses undeniable strength. It unites. It bridges gaps. It creates a shared sense of belonging. This thread makes us stronger, more resilient, and endlessly linked in the vast texture of humanity.

With every stitch of laughter there is a story, a memory, a flash of joy that contributes to the greater whole.

I received astonishingly marvelous gifts this year, which in turn have given me an amazing story, a cherished memory and unforgettable joy.

Story. Memory. Joy.

See the thread?

Merry Christmas, everyone. Thanks for reading.


Taylors 40-minute performance can be accessed with THIS LINK which requires an $11 donation to Win Win Charity. 

Want a personal video Christmas card from Taylor? Access him via the CAMEO app here and tell him what you’d like! 

And! Last second Christmas gifts at taylormason.com!
His book, IRREVERSIBLE and puppet Zero the Penguin are available in the store here!

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