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Meet Santa's Sister

“I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” ― Mae West Greetings, gentle Christmas creatures. My name is Ms. Santa Nana and I am Santa’s SISTER. Don't worry, I do not usurp any Mrs. Santas, and I represent the holidays from a modern, independent, woman's perspective. I am a CEO at Santa Nana Enterprises, where we create home décor, jewelry, hats, and other apparel. While my brother, Nick, is in charge of toy manufacturing and distribution, my focus is more on fashion, decorating and entertaining during the holidays. I am descended from a long line of fairy queens (who married an occasional god, mortal, or saint). While my brother was secreted off to the North Pole at an early age to protect him from those who would do him harm, I managed to survive in Queen Victoria’s court until marriage to my dear departed husband. The Colonel took me to India, and then to the United States, where I reside today. I have homes in London, Barcelona and Tuscany. I am privileged to have known some of the great artists, writers, and thinkers of the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I have a guest cottage at the North Pole and greatly enjoy my time there with the elves, fairies, magic reindeer, and of course my fabulous sister-in-law, Merry. Rum balls, anyone? I have been doing photo shoots in private homes, and personal appearances at events, including parades and mall festivities in the Colorado Front Range area. Last season I volunteered for the Emergency Family Assistance “Adopt a Family” program. On delivery days, I helped distribute presents to the families and clients at the food bank, while in full regalia. I also handed out candy and treats to the kids who came by. Last year I was accompanied on many of my appearances by Lady Wynter, a good snow flake fairy who loves the season and bringing joy to those around her. Santa Nana is a world traveler who embraces all religions and cultures. She is a pacifist, and promotes Peace on Earth and goodwill to all. As a new member of the Society of Santas, I look forward to sharing some of my experiences and insights from the feminine point of view. This weekend, I’ll be attending my first Santa School in Lakewood, Colorado. I can’t wait to meet some of you! Feel free to let me know your questions and ideas. Be good, for goodness sake! Santa Nana Santa Nana’s tip of the week: Keeping your Facebook Page free of profanity is always a good idea for preserving our child-friendly images. If you want to share a fun picture that has a text comment with a vulgarity attached to it, try this: Save the fun picture by right clicking on it, choose “save picture as,” then give it a “file name” and “save” as a JPEG file. You can let it go to your default Picture folder, or create a special folder for this purpose. Then when you go to post it on your Facebook, simply retrieve it from your picture file folder. Feel free to add your own appropriately nice comment. Yes, I know it’s a few extra steps, but it’s good to eliminate those shocking tags.

SantaNana

SantaNana

 

Ever wonder where Christmas in July came from?

Before the era of the Internet, TV, radio, even before the movies, live performances were the most prevalent medium of professional entertainment in America, and an evening or matinee at the local vaudeville theater was a family treat. Vaudeville shows were the original variety shows, and “variety” was the word. A single show might offer any or all of acrobats, animal acts, singers, dancers, actors, comedians, magicians, or a man who could play the violin with a bulldog suspended from the crook of his elbow. But if vaudeville was a wonderland for audiences, it was a daily grind for the performers. The most prestigious vaudeville houses staged two shows a day, while performers in “small time” theaters often played three shows a day, or even five, including Sundays and holidays. Actors would spend from a few days to a week at one theater before moving on to the next theater in the circuit. As vaudeville veteran Fred Allen, later a popular radio comedian, recalled, "Most of the vaudeville actors spent their Christmas days on trains, in dingy dressing rooms, or in drab hotels." A group of performers in Long Island, New York decided to reclaim Christmas for these hardworking vaudevillians. Freeport was known by 1914 as a popular summertime “actors’ colony.” In those days before air conditioning, many theaters closed during the summer months, and performers tended to spend their layoff time together in communities of their own, often near a lake or the seashore. Headed by actor Victor Moore, the Freeport contingent founded a club they called the Long Island Good Hearted Thespians Society, soon abbreviated to LIGHTS. Around 1915, the LIGHTS came up with the bright idea (no pun intended) of hosting an annual Christmas party in July at their clubhouse overlooking Great South Bay, to allow the vaudeville performers to enjoy the Christmas celebrations they missed while working on the road. Victor Moore, founder of LIGHTS. He frequently played Santa Claus for the vaudevillians' Christmas in July. As Fred Allen recalled, “Though the temperature be in the 90s, the Lights’ Christmas tree was decorated and lighted, Santa Claus was dressed in his heavy suit with the ermine trimmings, presents were placed under the tree, and the members and their children arrived in their furs, mittens and earflaps, some even clattering into the club on snowshoes.” Even the performing ponies and dogs could expect a handful of sugar cubes or a dog collar in their stockings. Some years the thespians also staged a July Christmas parade through the streets of Freeport, complete with clowns, acrobats, and, one year, elephants. The annual observance of Christmas in July became a cherished tradition for these nomadic performers, so much so than when June rolled around and summer heat began to close the theaters, actors would part with a cheery “See you at Christmas in July!” By 1930, however, vaudeville was on its last legs, overtaken by sound movies and radio, and the LIGHTS clubhouse in Freeport was sold, bringing an end to the July ritual beloved by a generation of performers. As you celebrate at your next Christmas in July party, consider raising a toast to these intrepid entertainers who gave up their December Christmases to entertain families all across America. They were the pioneers of our modern Christmas in July. (Exerts from Mary Cary with MerryChristmas.com) In July 1933 at Camp Keystone, a girl's summer camp in North Carolina, which celebrated with a Christmas Tree, gifts, and a visit by Santa Claus himself. In 1935, the National Recreation Association's journal Recreation described what a Christmas in July was like at a girl's camp, writing that "all mystery and wonder surround this annual event." The term, if not the exact concept, was given national attention with the release of the Hollywood movie comedy titled Christmas in July in 1940. In the story, a man is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend. In 1942, the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon Christmas Presents in July.They repeated it in 1943, with a Christmas tree covered with donations. The pastor explained that the special service was patterned after a program held each summer at his former church in Philadelphia, when the congregation would present Christmas gifts early to give ample time for their distribution to missions worldwide.It became an annual event, and in 1946 the service began to be broadcast over local radio. The U.S. Post Office, U.S. Army and Navy officials, in conjunction with the American advertising and greeting card industries, threw a Christmas in July luncheon in New York in 1944 to promote an Early Christmas Mailing Campaign for service men and women overseas during World War II.The luncheon was repeated in 1945. American advertisers began using Christmas in July themes in print for summertime sales as early as 1950. In the United States, it is more often used as a marketing tool than an actual holiday. Television stations may choose to re-run Christmas specials, and many stores have Christmas in July sales. Some individuals choose to celebrate Christmas in July themselves, typically as an intentionally transparent excuse to have a party. This is in part because most bargainers tend to sell Christmas goods around July to make room for next year's inventory. The television shopping networks QVC nd Home shopping Network have shows titled Christmas in July Today, Christmas in July is an occasion to enjoy a taste of the Christmas season in the summertime—or in the wintertime, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s also an occasion for Yule-themed shopping sprees and a flurry of out-of-season Christmas movies on the cable-TV networks. But did you ever wonder about the origins of Christmas in July? There are various theories about that, but it may well be that Christmas in July as we know it is the legacy of a special show business tradition of the early 20th century.

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

 

Who will you pass on your knowledge?

With recent passing aways of some Santa's it come to me do we have anyone that we pass along our knowledge or our Santa "stuff" and suits? After all we spend so much time and money in some cases on our Santa persona it would be a shame to have our suits and all just hang in a closet and waist way. For me I am on of the lucky ones who has a son that I could pass along my "stuff". I use the word could assuming he would have the calling in his heart to be a second generation Santa. He is only six years old right now so he is a long way from taking over should he want to. First step will be an elf some time down the road. But should he not get the calling do I find someone to pass along to or does the family sale the items I have acquired over to year to a stranger somewhere who hopes that they would use it wisely? So now the question IS..... Should we start a "connection group" of sorts to pass our goods along to so that we know we pass it along to a Santa with the true calling?

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

 

Christmas in the Valley 100 Years Ago

Lots of times I wondered what it would have been like many many years ago...... I come across this story and thought it was worth sharing. In the fall, when the nights began to be cold and frosty, children would count the days until Santa Claus would come. They would beg for pretty striped stockings to be knit and long ones, too, to hang up Christmas Eve night. For weeks, older people would keep children disciplined by telling them, "If you don't act purty, Santa won't come to see you. " On Christmas Eve, the beech yule log was brought in and placed as a back log in the big fireplace. It had been lying in the creek for days to get thoroughly soaked so it would last longer, for the festivities lasted as long as the yule log lasted. Children were told the story that Santa came down the chimney from the house top. Parents had fun making this seem true by shaping tracks in soot on back of chimneys and then sooty tracks on the hearth. Children were urged to get to bed and to sleep early on Christmas Eve so Santa could come. There was often a nosy boy who stayed awake to peep at Santa. Children aroused parents early on Christmas morning with the greeting "Christmas Gift." This greeting was used by everyone to friends and relatives on Christmas Day. It was not a request for exchange of presents, but a greeting which probably originated by acknowledging Christ's birthday as God's gift to mankind. But we must find out what Santa put in those stockings hanging from the mantle. In the girls' stockings, there would be a few sticks of candy, a few pieces of cream candy, raisins with seeds hanging to the stem, and an orange. The orange was the prize, for they seldom saw one. Each girl usually got one little doll in her childhood. It was about 6 or 8 inches tall. Its head, even the hair, was china as was its hand and arm to the elbow and foot and leg to the knee. It was left for the girls to dress, for every girl must learn to sew. The boys got about the same in their stockings, but instead of a doll they got a $0.10 barlow knife and firecrackers - ten in a row laced together, the only kind on the market then. An older brother might put in a hickory as a joke. The joy these gifts brought to those children far exceed that of the child of today with their many expensive gifts. [this is probably a reference to the bonanza of electric toys my parents bestowed on my brother and me during a 60's Christmas at the Wistaria-ed.] My mother told of one little girl who begged for button shoes. She got them and wore them first to the community Christmas tree at the church. When they returned home, the mother discovered the child had them on the wrong foot. They were buttoned on the inside instead of the outside of the foot. A great stunt for boys and men on Christmas morning was a prank with their dogs. When animals were butchered in the fall, every bladder was saved and blown up like a balloon to dry. When dry, a few peas I were put in each one. On Christmas morning, boys collected with their dogs. They tied these inflated bladders to the dogs' tails. The peas rattled, the dogs took off over roads and fields and the boys whooped and laughed. Soon the firecrackers were heard. The men had a shooting match with their old flint rifles. Families and friends gathered together in homes on Christmas Day, so there must be a feast prepared. Butter had been saved for days for making sweetbread, gingerbread, and pies, which were all baked in I the ovens on the hearth. Fresh pork with souse meat, liver mush, and sausage was prepared. Wild turkeys were baited so they could be easily shot. Also, rabbit, I squirrels, and opossum were gathered in. Lye hominy was made with lye leached from oak ashes. Apple butter was made with sorgum substituted for sugar. There was leather britches from the strings of green beans dried by the fireplace, Kraut and sweet potatoes. For drinks they I used coffee made of parched sweet potatoes and parched rye; sassafras tea made from root of red sassafras and locust beer. Every family planned food according to their means and they were not showered with baskets as now. I A Christmas tree at the church usually followed in the afternoon. For programs, they had devotions and singing. The tree was a large holly which abounded in this area. It was trimmed with strings of popped corn and strings of holly berries. The gifts, even dolls, were hung on the tree without wrapping. There was no paper for wrapping except heavy brown paper used in stores and that was rare. Santa Claus, and usually Mrs. Santa, were there to distribute gifts and to call "Merry Christmas" to all. There were dances during the Christmas season. They would have the square dance and the dainty toes would dance the minuet. It was the custom then as now to watch the old year out and the New Year in. The colored mammy and many others told that at 12 o'clock on that night the cows would kneel and mourn for the passing year. This story has been handed down through the years. A party of young people decided they would see if there was any truth in that story. A few minutes before twelve, a part of the group went a head to the cow shed only to be disappointed to find the cattle sleeping. The remainder of the group followed with a pine torch. When this torch appeared, one cow rose on her knees and bellowed. Such scurrying away as the group did! Stephen Keith, the fellow with the torch, yelled back to the cow, "Happy New Year." By Bert Hendricks Reece

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

 

Private Screening of They Wore The Red Suit

If you ever have the opportunity to visit my home town, you may notice a few things around here with the name RIELLY on it. On the east side of town there is a tree lined street with a street sign that reads: RIELLY LANE. Downtown, near the docks, where the Prudence Ferry arrives to shuttle passengers to and from the local islands is a beautiful park. Under one of the park's trees is an unassuming bench with an engraving that reads: JIM RIELLY’S BENCH. Hanging near the entrance of our Town Hall is a large portrait of an elderly gentleman. The senior citizen in the oil painting is my grandfather, James D. (Jim) Rielly. Jim Rielly was well known throughout our town and much of New England. He was known for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts; but most notably, Jim Rielly was known as Rhode Island’s Most Famous Santa Claus for 62 years. Throughout his Santa Claus career, my grandfather took no money for his appearances. As Santa Claus, Jim Rielly made more appearances in one day than most do today in an entire season; making visits to 20 to 30 homes in one day. He was featured in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and on national television shows and received letters from celebrities, dignitaries, Presidents, and His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. In 1979, his name was recorded in the United States Senate Congressional Record as “James D. Rielly, A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island.” In December 2010, James D. Rielly was honored as one of the original inaugural inductees into the prestigious International Santa Claus Hall of Fame in Santa Claus, Indiana. My grandfather and I are featured in an upcoming documentary titled: They Wore The Red Suit. As a tribute to my grandfather, I am hosting three private screenings of the documentary in my town as a fundraiser for the film to be entered into Film Festivals in 2013. The event will include a discussion with director Larry Peter, on the making of the film and a discussion of Jim Rielly’s life and Santa Claus career. If you are in the area and would like to attend any of the screenings, you can purchase tickets online here: http://www.brownpape...om/event/318965 Seating is limited so be sure to purchase tickets early. You can also contact me directly for tickets. DATE: Saturday, March 9, 2013, 1:00 pm Saturday, March 9, 2013, 7:00 pm Sunday, March 10, 2013, 2:00 pm PLACE: 240 High Street Bristol, RI TICKETS: $15.00 $20.00 at the door depending on availability If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate to our event, please visit: http://www.indiegogo...ening/x/2019963 I am personally funding this particular event so ANY amount -- even $1 -- would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much for your consideration!

Michael Rielly

Michael Rielly

 

Caritas food pantry christmas

This was fun. Bestemor and I did this for the local food pantry for those who may not be able to afford pictures and toys during this holiday season. Bestemor visited with the families and then brought them up in an orderly fashion. This is one of the charities we volunteer for. I dont think I could have done this without Mrs Claus.She held some children who did not want anything to do with the Big Red Suit ---wish there were more pictures of her . She was busy brushing off cookie crumbs and fix hair and visit with the parents . What an asset to my success.

Santa Laureate

Santa Laureate

 

An Old Familiar Feeling

It's funny, but I can still remember the first time I ever put on a beard to perform as Santa Claus. I was six at the time and my very first beard was made of cotton balls glued to a back made from a white t-shirt. Mom made a whole suit and beard for my first grade pageant. The beard had a large rubber band that, when put on, pulled the beard tight under my nose. I remember that feeling of a tickle under my nose as plain today as when I first put it on, along with the smell of the cotton. I then graduated into a series of inexpensive beards going from a mohair "Moses" Church pageant wig and beard to a curly "fishing twine" beard to a synthetic, nearly waist length number. They all had a difference in how they were worn and how they felt. All of them had attached mustaches that absolutely drove me crazy, until I learned to use Spirit Gum. But the discomfort and a need for realism eventually caused me to grow my own beard, never knowing that better materials were even in existence. Had I known about the various yak and human hair materials and styles back then I probably never would have grown out my beard and my wife would have enjoyed the last ten years of our marriage. But I am digressing. Last Saturday marked my first Santa appearance for 2013. I was asked to visit a family at our local hospice house, where a grandfather who was unable to celebrate Christmas with his grandkids was finally able to see them and celebrate. Due to advanced cancer he knew it would be his last. He wanted Santa there to just see their eyes light up one last time. When I originally received the call I was hesitant to do it. I had shaved, remember, and my new custom beard (I ordered from Custom Wig Company) would not be ready until March. True, I had the old synthetic and an old yak set that I had accumulated along the way. But I was so afraid that I would not be able to do it without that "perfect" look. With great reluctancy (of which I am now ashamed to have had), I finally told them I would be there. Which beard to wear? The old synthetic beard looked a fright, and I felt like they would think me more a Jerry Garcia impersonator than a Santa. (Funny, I didn't think that when I used to wear it. Guess I have matured a bit.) So my choice was the yak set. I didn't have time to wash and style as I have read here on Clausnet, so I curled as best I could and just fluffed and hairsprayed. Though the wired mustache was a bit tricky to form I stood back and looked at myself. I saw Santa, and my hope was that the family that I was about to visit would too. You know what? They did. I entered the room to smiles and flashing cameras. I hugged some of the adults and shook the hands of the little ones who were a bit timid and awe struck. I kidded the grandfather about the "little red wagon I brought him when he was 5." With a smile across his weak cheeks, he told me he still had it which his grandchildren could not believe. After a few more pictures and a few moments of explaining to the children that "Christmas can be any day as long as you keep it in your heart" I departed. On the way out I told them that they would be in Santa's prayers, and they have been. Only a twenty minute visit, but priceless for that family who needed it. I saw something I have seen many many times over all these years - the smile of a child. But for some reason it was more prevalent. You see, I went in feeling inferior for lack of what was on my face. However, what made me decide to do it at all was the feeling in my heart that said "Do this." You see, my love for and duty to children in need of joy won out. My heart won the day because as Santa - just Santa - was able to touch their hearts. That was and is what it's all about. I have said a hundred times (and have heard others say hundreds of times) that it is not what is on your chin but what is in your heart that makes a Santa. I have shaved to truly recapture that for myself and to keep that thrill of the visit alive for the children I visit. With that visit and the realization of this cherished fact of our community, along with my coming back around after all these years to a traditional beard, I have indeed recaptured the essence of the whole thing. It is a lesson I always knew but needed again. With the old familiar feeling of a tickle under my nose I have really practiced that lesson and found its truth locked inside. Love plain and simple, not girth or hair, indeed make Santa Claus real.

John Johnson

John Johnson

 

Too Santa what’s that mean?

Too Santa what’s that mean? A few weeks back I heard the song made famous by George Jones called “Too Country”. The song goes through talking about being called too country in his singing. The verse’s go through the process of talking about different things from food to almost anything that any person or someone from a higher standard would consider to beneath them or not “proper” or too country… It got me to thinking about all the things I had read over the past three years of discovering the wonderful world of Saint Nick’s on the internet. From facebook group discussions to our very on Clausnet. (By the way a BIG THANKS to Michael Rielly for this site). Does anything we as representatives of Santa make us too Santa? Now this question leads to mostly only impact our real bearded brothers in red.. For the designer bearded Santa’s we can take the beard off at the end of the day and blend in with the rest of the world. Nothing wrong with that what so ever. I have been on both sides of the coin. I grew a real beard out two seasons’ ago but went back to an upgraded designer beard this year. At 42 between the Mr’s and my office job the real beard did not work well for me. Not to say though that 10 -15 years from now the real beard will not be permanent. None the less back to our real bearded Santa’s. If you wear red each time you go out does that make you too Santa? If you drive a red car or have Santa designs on your car does that make you too Santa? For those of us real or designer bearded who feel the need to listen to Christmas music when it’s not the season does that make us too Santa? I have a work shop that I like to make Christmas crafts in. While I am in there sometimes I wear my Santa hat…. too Santa? There were some Santa’s I know that would wear their Santa hats while on our monthly “LIVE CHAT” on Clausnet….( The live chat is the 3rd Saturday night of each month at 9:00PM eastern standard time and open to anyone)… Now that I got that plug in there…. Does that make them / us too Santa? On the other side of the coin if you never go to a Santa school does it make you less of a Santa? If you never officially signed the Santa oath does that make you any less a Santa? As I have documented before many times I believe that being a Santa boils down to what is in your heart. Whether you received the calling or just put on the suit to make a buck. There are discussions on both sides of the coin for these questions. I have read where some Santa representatives take the persona as far as dressing each day like Santa no matter where they go. Change names to Santa Claus, Chris Kringle or a host of other names for Santa. I don’t write this blog to try and sway or critique anyone. Just too merely ask the question that popped into my head when I heard the song too country…. Can we go too far as to be too Santa?

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

 

My plan for financial success as a professional Santa.

There is no reason why Santa should be restricted to a short period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, since there are so many children who are afraid of Santa, I might be able to fix them by exposing them to Santa all year long. I have some great ideas on this. First of all, why not have Santa on New Years? I mean Santa looks like Father Time. I could tell everyone that Father Time is REALLY SANTA! I could wear a big chain with a clock around my neck and sing Auld Lang Syne. I could probably squeeze quite a few extra bucks out of the week between Christmas and New years too. Then Santa will be just another part of all the New Year’s festivities. And then there’s Valentine’s Day. Valentine is a saint and Santa is Saint Nicholas. Valentine’s Day is all about love, and of course we all know that the business of portraying Santa is all about love too. And there’s lots of red and white in Valentine’s Day decorations. It’s a perfect fit! I could even make extra money off a kissing booth at Valentines banquets. Everyone knows how much the ladies just love to kiss old Santa. I could even charge extra for a photo! Then Santa will be just another part of all the Valentine’s Day festivities. We’re already to Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s another one of those “Saint holidays” and leprechauns are really just elves wearing green suits with flat topped hats instead of red suits with pointy hats. And leprechauns are very giving just like Santa because they give away pots of gold. Wait a minute! Saint Nicholas gave away gold too! That makes it a perfect fit! Then Santa will be just another part of all the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities. Now Easter is next. This might be tough because I’m going to have to compete with that stupid Easter Bunny. Wait, I have it! The Easter Bunny has white fur and Santa has white fur. They both come secretly at night and leave gifts for children. So, I could tell them that the Easter Bunny is really just a pagan version of the Christian Santa, and I am simply trying to restore Santa to his rightful place in Easter. I might even be able to take over the Easter Bunny’s photo operation at the mall! Besides, everyone knows kids like Santa more than the Easter Bunny. Then Santa will be just another part of the Easter Festivities. Next is Memorial Day. It’s a bit of a stretch but I think I can do it. They always have parades on Memorial Day right? We all know that Santa must be in every parade. Who among us can pass up the ego trip of riding down Main street on a huge float and waving to thousands of our adoring fans? Of course it is Memorial Day and not Christmas, so Santa won’t be the big finale of the parade. But that’s OK. He’ll just be another float somewhere in the middle. Maybe they can put Santa right after those little Shriner cars and just before the local beauty queen. Then Santa will be just another part of the Memorial Day festivities. Gosh, I’ve made it half way thru the year. I’ll probably need some vacation time in June because July is gonna be my second biggest paycheck of the year. Man, I can see all those big fat juicy “Christmas in July” BOOKING$$$$ just waiting to be picked! And since you can’t have a real “Christmas in July” event without a Santa, I can really stick to ‘em with the fees. Maybe I can make even more money in July by doing the count down to the fireworks shoot off on the Fourth. It’s really just the same as a countdown for a tree lighting ceremony. Then Santa will be just another part of the Fourth of July festivities. Now in August I’ll have to take some more vacation from all that activity in July. Plus, I’ll need time TO COUNT ALL MY MONEY!!! Next comes Labor Day in September. Now this might be a little tricky because Santa is management and the North Pole is a non-union shop. But I think I have an angle on it. Everybody has picnics on Labor Day right? They always eat lots of high fat and high carb foods at those picnics. Bingo! Santa loves to eat all that junk. That’s why he’s so fat! I can get booked to appear at all those picnics wearing my Santa casual shorts and Santa Hawaiian shirts and my red Crocs. It will be a blast! I’ll get all that FREE FOOD and GET PAID TO EAT IT! Then Santa will be just another part of the Labor Day festivities. Now Halloween is easy. We have already established the fact that many children are afraid of Santa and love candy. Halloween is all about fear and candy! It’s a natural fit for Santa. I could change up the tired old red and white suit for an orange one with black fur. I could get booked at Halloween parties and scare those precious little ones just like I do at Christmas time! Instead of reciting The Night Before Christmas I could tell ghost stories and give away orange and black candy canes. And since everyone has to buy Halloween candy, I could make EVEN MORE MONEY by purchasing large wholesale quantities of orange and black candy canes and selling them to the parents. Then Santa will be just another part of the Halloween festivities. Well, I finally made it! It was tough, but I got all the way to Thanksgiving with all its parades and lights-on ceremonies and the BIG BUCK$ of the Christmas season! And just think, not only did I make tons of money in the off season, I was also able to help so many little children not be afraid of Santa, since they got to him so often (well maybe not on Halloween, but I digress.) So you see, Thomas Nast was an idiot. He had the stupid idea that Santa should live at the North Pole because it was a mysterious and far off place at the top of the world. Since nobody in his time could ever travel there it was a perfect explanation of why nobody ever saw Santa. Wait a minute, NOBODY EVER SAW SANTA?!?! If nobody ever sees Santa then how am I supposed to get money out of this deal? What was Nast smoking in that pipe of his? Heck, since I’m gonna spread my Christmas spirit all year long, why draw the line at a few holidays? I might as well let ‘em see Santa 365 days a year! I mean you can’t really have too much of a good thing right? And then, when they’ve had so much Santa, that Santa is just another part of everyday life and no longer special, and all the bookings have dried up, I won’t have to worry because I’ll already be RICH off this Santa racket. And when I’ve blown all of my ill gotten gains on wine women and song I can go back to being…a magician and a clown.

Chris Capstone

Chris Capstone

 

The Beard Is Gone

Several months ago I had a conversation with my wife that had become pretty intense. "Just once," she said, "I would like to have dinner with John and not Santa." Between her words and so many eye opening events and lessons throughout 2012 I learned that not only did I want to do more in my life in other areas that perhaps I had neglected, but I also learned and felt how important it is to maintain and keep the magic of Santa sacred and somewhat secret. Now, based on the response of my last blog entry where I announced my intentions I came away with the feeling that folks believed that if I shaved I would no longer be Santa. That is the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, for me it goes towards the opposite. I shave so I can be a better Santa. As someone who is active int he community and who gives back to it, I can give and do things as both Santa and myself. And if I would ever (not planning to) slip up then Santa doesn't get tarnished. I am free to do things even as Santa discreetly as was St. Nicholas' original design. Still, in a world where Santas are seen everywhere all the time (and not just in December) I personally feel that we do an injustice to children and to the magic of Christmas by mere overkill. In my community I have been given the honor of being the Town Santa. Well, as such I want to make it as special as I can for the children. I don't want them to see me everyday and then turn around and say mundanly "Oh, that's just Santa" at Christmas because seeing Santa isn't special. I want them to have the magical visits that I remember having. My mentor, Jay Long, never grew a beard. None of us need one, truly, because if we are truly Santa then the whiskers do not matter. What matters is the heart behind it. I have a lot of heart to give to this community, both Santa and my home one. Most importantly I gave a gift to my wife. Last weekend I had an appointment with the stylist. As I have been cast as the Duke of Clarence for a production of Richard III by Shakespeare I am now sporting my natural color of hair and a matching goatee and mustache. The beard is gone and I actually feel much better about the anonymity for this Santa Claus. As an actor, musician, minister and public volunteer I know and have already experienced doors opening. As for Santa, the doors are open and all of my clients from the past year are positive about the transition. My heart is in the right place and they all know it. New Years Eve was a special evening for my wife and I. As we sat at dinner I looked into her eyes and reminded her about what she had said those months ago. "Here is your chance," I teased her. We smiled at one another and enjoyed the changing of the year together. Never be afraid of change, or a razor. Sometimes the best way to find out how to be better at what you do is by making a change. May we all learn more and spread the magic in our own ways in this new year!

John Johnson

John Johnson

 

I'll Take The Compliment

Yesterday on New Year's Day, my Mrs. Claus and I went out to do a little shopping. There is a very cool country store the next town over. The store is always beautifully decorated but especially at Christmastime. The owners of this store contacted me in December wanting to know if I was available for a photo shoots. Unfortunately I was completely booked so they said that they would just wait and do something in November. Anyway, Mrs. Claus and I went into the store to see if we could pick up a few after Christmas bargains. I asked the person behind the counter if he was the person that contacted me. He looked at my kind of funny as said "Yes. Who are you?" I said, "I'm Mike Rielly." "Were you the same Santa that did the speech in St. Mary's Church on Christmas Eve?", he asked. "That was me", I replied. Now even more confused he asks "Did you shave?" I already know where this is going so I played along. "I did this morning", I said. "Well will you have a beard by November? Because we were thinking you could come in sometime before Thanksgiving for the photo shoot." I explained to him that my beard would look exactly as it did on Christmas Eve. "It grows that fast?" he said. "No", I replied. "But I can glue it on in about an hour." Now you may think you know where I am going with this but you would be wrong. It wasn't the "beard" that they were fooled by. It was the performance. Yes they thought "Mike Rielly" was a real bearded Santa -- but what they were most impressed with was the performance. Based on my talk at the Church on Christmas Eve they thought that I was a much older man. The way I spoke, moved, and interacted with everyone they thought I was in my 60s or 70s! My point is this: It's not the beard. It's the entire performance.

Michael Rielly

Michael Rielly

 

Did You Get A Christmas Card ?

Big Jim Santa . From Peoria IL, I would like to thank all of you who sent me a great Christmas card this year. I love reciving them and there on my wall in my Santa cave . I do admit you all have great tast in choise's of cards and there pined in the shape of a Christmas tree on my wall and soon as I get some pictures of all my Santa cave . I will atempt to post them in my gallery for all to see and of other things I have made that you might want to make for your Santa persona. HO! HO! and have a Great NEW YEAR and God Bless.

Big Jim Santa

Big Jim Santa

 

Poems

Hope all that got my Christmas Card enjoyed the poem it came with . Merry Christmas to my Santa family. Bestamore helped with that one. She is my editor and proof reader.

Santa Laureate

Santa Laureate

 

Not all Santa's seem to want to share!

I have portrayed Santa off and on since 1992. I bought a Wal-Mart Suit and set outside around a bunch of lights / scenery and visited with children in the community and ones that stopped by. I did free visits to churches and neighborhoods. However, I have only started trying to do it professionally for the past two years. I meet some great Santa's at the CHRISTmas Inn in Pigeon Forge back in March. They were in town for the Clausfest and were staying at the same hotel my wife and I were at spending out anniversary. I had convinced my wife to go a week later for our anniversary so we could see the parade and hopefully meet some fellow Brothers in Red. I had a blast listening and learning from some others while setting around. I had my first meeting with some local state wide Santa's back in October and can not wait till the next gathering. However, since the season has started I have run into some Santa's that well do not seem to want to discuss Santa things..... Not sure if they were just overwhelmed by the season or if they were just in the suit for the money..... I approached some while they were on breaks and no children around just to chat..... They were not rude but made it known they were not interested in meeting another Santa much less others when the season was done. Guess to each his own. But for me I love talking to other Santa's. I don't see you as competition but a fellow Brother in Red and someone to learn from. You will find me a lot in the chat room because I love to discuss and talk. Feel free to always ask me questions and know that I love to continue to learn from anyone willing to teach. Santa Brian Voyles

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

 

What to do to protect from sickness ?

Big Jim Santa From Peoria IL. What typ of protection do you have or get to stop from catching a VIROUS ? i JUST RECIVED A SHOT OF TDAP WHICH IS A ( Tenanus-Diphtheria or Pertussis ) Vaccine. I also have on hand desanitzer hand wips,hand clener,Vitemun C taps, cough drops.and two or for pairs of clean gloves on hand. the added protection for (Whooping Cough ) As a vetern and a practicing Santa Claus that has many age groups of children and adults who come in contact with him the added protection in needed. So what do you Santas do to protect yourself from sickness ? Oh yes if you are a military veteran you can get these shots at your local V.A. Clinic.

Big Jim Santa

Big Jim Santa

 

In Remembrance !

Big Jim Santa from Peoria IL. This is remembrance of all of you who at one time or another had servied in the Military ! THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS GREAT COUNTRY STAY FREE AND STRONG . I AM SO PROUD TO HAVE SUCH A GREAT CHRISTMAS FAMILY AND BE A PART OF SUCH A SPECIAL GROUP OF MEN AND WOMEN AND YOUNG CHILDREN WHO STILL SERVE . As a x-Vietnam Vet and a Desart Storm / Desart Shield soilder ( I SULUTE YOU ALL ON THIS DAY NOV 11TH and 12TH VETERAN'S DAY !!! ) And GOD BLESS EVERYONE !!!

Big Jim Santa

Big Jim Santa

 

What makes a Santa?

What makes a Santa? It’s not whether you have a real beard or a designer beard. It’s not whether you’re plump or a skinny right jolly old elf. It’s not whether you have the suit that cost hundreds of dollars or the economical suit right out of the box. It’s not based on how many appearances you make each year. It’s not based on how much money you make or charity organizations you help. It’s not based on how many Santa groups or organizations you belong to or if you can sing and carry a tune. The true making of a Santa, Mrs. Claus or an Elf is in the heart. That’s right it comes from the heart. It does not matter when it happened, whether just this year or many many sleigh rides ago. At some time we all got the calling to become a Santa helper. For those of you that have the true gift in your heart you understand what I am talking about when I say you got the calling. I still have the very first letter given to me as Santa from a child. Still remember the smiles and the twinkle in the children’s eye’s the first time I portrayed Santa. And I still remember the first heart tugging request that was made by a little girl that I knew could not be fulfilled by a mere mortal in my Santa outfit. There is a reason why we do what we do. From playing Santa Claus or the supporting roles of Mrs. Claus and elves all the way to even reindeer costumes. And that my reader is simply what comes to each of us in sharing and giving the simple gift we bring of joy. As the season approaches I say a prayer for each and every one of you. For a safe trip if your traveling away from family to support a mall or just a few miles to do some smaller visits. I pray for your safe travels and that the true meaning of Christmas been seen through you in each and every child from 1 to 92 and beyond. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! Santa Brian Voyles

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

 

Santa Heading to Haiti

I am super excited to announce that I just booked my flight from Miami to Hatii. I will be leaving Denver on the 4th of November and arriving in Hatii early on the 5th. I got clearence from my cardiologist on Wednesday and sent my passport renewal forms in that same day. I am scheduled to start my immunizations on Monday. We will be working with a group called Chances for Children at their orphanage in the moutains about 2 hrs from Port au Prince. I do not have any idea what God has planned for me but I am remaining open to whatever it is. I do know that I will have an opportunity to show love to a lot children. Please keep our team in your prayers and thoughts. This will be a great way to kick off the 2012 Santa season

ServantSanta

ServantSanta

 

Santa Heading to Haiti

I am super excited to announce that I just booked my flight from Miami to Hatii. I will be leaving Denver on the 4th of November and arriving in Hatii early on the 5th. I got clearence from my cardiologist on Wednesday and sent my passport renewal forms in that same day. I am scheduled to start my immunizations on Monday. We will be working with a group called Chances for Children at their orphanage in the moutains about 2 hrs from Port au Prince. I do not have any idea what God has planned for me but I am remaining open to whatever it is. I do know that I will have an opportunity to show love to a lot children. Please keep our team in your prayers and thoughts. This will be a great way to kick off the 2012 Santa season

ServantSanta

ServantSanta

 

You are not the real Santa Claus

Normally I don't pay much attention to any of the Santa Facebook groups. Wading through all the egos, tantrums, and prima donnas is nothing less than exhausting. There is so much chest thumping going on over there it won’t be long before one Santa climbs to the top of the Empire State Building. Of course as soon as the first one starts his climb, it wouldn't be long before others joined in – all claiming to have thought of the idea first. And instead of Faye Wray, the Santas would be carrying their business cards – stuffing them in every window as they all raced to the top. But I digress. There is a Santa on Facebook, let’s call him “Santa Munchausen”, who compares what he refers to as "fake bearded Santas" to “fake hamburgers”. His logic is difficult to follow, but it seems what his trying to say is that anyone hiring a traditional bearded Santa is somehow being cheated out of the “real” experience. He compares it to someone ordering a hamburger, but is disappointed when they are served a soy-burger instead. Nice job Santa Munchausen. Not only have you managed to insult me and my fellow “fake” bearded Santas, but you’ve also managed to insult countless vegetarians who prefer veggie-burgers over hamburgers. And as if his insult to the millions of vegetarians around the world wasn't enough, he continued his rant, boasting how he could easily unseat any “fake bearded Santa” from any gig because he is a “real Santa”. Quick! Someone check the top of Empire State Building. I think we have a winner. Sorry Santa Munchausen, but portraying Santa Claus is a lot more than just hair growing on your face. Just because a guy looks like Jerry Garcia, doesn’t automatically make him Santa Claus. Any “real Santa” will tell you that. I’ve been a “fake beard” Santa for 21 years now and proud of it! Unless of course I do the creative counting like some who include all the years since first putting on a Santa Claus suit. That would be 41 years by the way. And although my beard is very realistic, I don’t rely solely on the whiskers to pull off being Santa Claus. It takes a lot more than that to convincingly portray Santa Claus. Any real Santa will tell you that too. As a “fake bearded Santa”, I’d say I'm in pretty good company: Jim Yellig, Charles Howard, Edmund Gwenn, Phil Wenz, Tim Allen, not to mention the entire 2010 inaugural class of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. I would like to see you pull a gig away from any of them. My grandfather was Santa Claus for sixty two consecutive years. And we’re not talking about 62 years of one or two appearances a season. This man made appearances all year round. During the busiest times of the year he would make over 30 separate appearances in a DAY! My grandfather was a “fake bearded” Santa Claus who SHAVED his real beard to portray Santa Claus. Isn’t interesting, that in all the letters to him from United States Presidents, Members of Congress, celebrities, and even His Holiness Pope John Paul II, there is never mention of a “fake beard”; only words of praise, sacrifice, and gratitude. Maybe it’s because the “beard” only matters to those who have nothing else but a beard.

Michael Rielly

Michael Rielly

 

Santa Brian's rambling thoughts

Santa Brian’s rambling thoughts I grew up in the 70’s and have pictures of some toy’s that are considered antiques by some. Over the years I look back to those years and think how wonderful Christmas was for me as a child. As I get older and have children of my own the years seem to fly by. I watch a lot of Christmas movies and TV shows and think how simple and nice times seemed back in the 40’s and 50’s once the war’s we over. I know compared to the gifts that are received today there were not as many presents but they were simple times and the small gifts went a long way. As I look at the calendar and count there are only 111 days until Christmas I think back to those years when I was a child. There seemed to be a Santa in every dept store in town. Upon visiting two stores in one night the thought came to me and I asked my parents “how can Santa be in two places at once”. Without hesitation they said “Santa can not be everywhere at all times. So he has helper’s or elves that dressed as Santa and report back to him. But you never know which one IS THE REAL ONE”. I still remember the department stores and the exact location where I asked the question. I also remember the first time I (voluntarily) sat upon Santa’s lap. It was a department store called Harpers five & dime. When you walked in the front door entrance there was a popcorn machine at the front register and it was a welcome treat when mom and dad would spring the 10 cent for the large bag. The adult section was upstairs where the front entrance was and the children’s area and toys was on the bi level floor about 10 steps below. So as a child every time we would go I always went to the toy section and looked around until it was time to leave. I do not remember the year but I do know it was December, I walked down those stairs and there he was as big as life setting in a chair with decorations around him in the toy section. There were no other kids in site and I had no clue what to do. Soooo I hurried down the steps and hit the back isle of the toys. I would go isle to isle looking at toys while always keeping an eye on Santa. Every now and then I would peek up the isle where he was and he would wave and I would pop my head back. Yep you guessed it I was scared of Santa. The entire evening went this way until mom and dad came down to leave. They tried to get me to sat on Santa’s lap but I was having nothing to do with it. So finally we walk out the back door which had glass windows that covered the whole back wall facing the street. As we approached the last window I peered though once more at this bigger than life man who would fulfill my Christmas wishes and all I had to do was set on his lap and tell him what I wanted. I looked at my mom and dad and then back at Santa through the window I knew this was it my one chance to tell him what I wanted him to bring me. So I mustered up all my strength and went running back into the store. As mom and dad watched through the window I set nervously on Santa’s knee and told him what I wanted for Christmas. I often wonder what that gentleman thought about that kid that night watching his every move and just when he thought I was gone I bolted back in. Do I remember what I asked for? No but none the less those are some of the memories that I think back on and loved about those years of innocence. Now I look back and laugh about how scared I was of the Jolly Ole Elf and now how I have become one of his helpers.

Santa Brian of SC

Santa Brian of SC

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