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Michael Rielly

Featured ClausNet Member of the Month - April 2017

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Michael Rielly

Each month, our Featured Member section profiles a ClausNet member. Members are chosen totally at random by myself and the staff. Once selected as Featured Member of the Month, we interview the candidate and post the interview here. This is a great way to get to know your fellow ClausNet members!

We are happy to announce our ClausNet Featured Member of the month for April 2017 is Santa Don!

Santa Don
Featured ClausNet Member - April 2017

don-photo.png

SantaDon

Profile: SantaDon
Real Name: Don
Location: Independence, Missouri USA
Facebook: SantaDonKC
ClausNet member since: 22 November 2012
Community Reputation (as of today): 197 – Excellent!

April 2017

Our Featured Member of the Month for April 2017 comes from the Show Me State. Santa Don joined our community in November 2012. Don is also the first Santa we’ve interviewed whose favorite color is yellow. We caught up with Santa Don a few days ago, and here is what he had to say...

ClausNet: How long have you been portraying Santa Claus and how did you get started?
Santa Don: "I first portrayed Santa Claus in 1991 as a favor to the small town in Kansas at which I was teaching. I didn't think much about being Santa until my beard starting turning white prematurely and people starting making Santa jokes. In 2010 my school's Santa retired and, with his blessing, I assumed his duties in our building. I decided to start portraying Santa Claus wherever I could with the promise to my wife that I would let God decide where it all would lead."

SantaDon

ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus?
Santa Don: "After deciding to jump into the Santa world I drove to Indiana and attended the Jim Yellig Workshop during my school's Spring Break. During that weekend I listened to Santas Phillip Wenz, Joseph Marquis, and Tim Connaghan. Both of these men approached their portrayal of Santa Claus in different ways and what they shared wet my appetite to learn more. I went on to graduate from Tim Connaghan's International University of Santa Claus where I continued clarifying my Santa persona. The many brothers and sisters in red who make up ClausNet have also been invaluable in providing ideas and solutions for a whole host of Santa challenges."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa Claus?
Santa Don: "At first, just like other performances, I was apprehensive for each appearance. Now that I am much more comfortable in my black boots, what I enjoy most about being Santa Claus is getting into that suit and for just a little while having the privilege of being that magical part of Christmas that is Santa. I now love every second that I get to spend with children as Santa and always have it in the back of my head that I am, at least in some distant way, representing the true loving spirit of Saint Nicholas."

Santa Bill Reiller

ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit?
Santa Don: "At my very first appearance after I decided to seriously portray Santa Claus, as I entered a large room where I would be in the chair for a few hours a little girl came running to me without any hesitation yelling ‘Santa! Santa!’ We took a lot of pictures that day but this little angel was never photographed and in the years of returning to that event I never saw her again."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig?
Santa Don: "During the last three Novembers I have worked with a very talented children's photographer at her portrait studio. For any Santa who works a portrait studio job you know that this is much different than many traditional appearances. This photographer is so amazingly gifted in working with children that it is an honor to help family's create long lasting Christmas memories.’."

SantaDon

ClausNet: What is your dream gig?
Santa Don: "It's a running joke in my extended family that I cry every year on Thanksgiving when Santa Claus makes his triumphant appearance at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. As I get close to retiring from teaching, I would also love the chance to portray Santa Claus almost daily during the season."

ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa?
Santa Don: "I still teach full time still as a Band Director and serve my District as the Coordinator of Music Education and the Fine Arts Facilitator. In addition, I am very active in my Church music ministry where I play Trombone in the Orchestra, sing in the Sanctuary Choir, ring handbells in the Adult Handbell Choir and Co-Direct as Middle School Handbell ensemble."

SantaDon

ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests?
Santa Don: "My favorite hobby is Amateur Radio in which I hold an Extra Class license with a call sign of AD0QA. I also love fishing, gardening, and working in the yard."

ClausNet: What is your favorite color?
Santa Don: "Yellow."

SantaDon

ClausNet: What are your favorite foods?
Santa Don: "I love a good Rueben sandwich."

ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi?
Santa Don: "Coke, but I've given up soda in 2017."

ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie?
Santa Don: "My wife's delicious chocolate chip cookies!"

ClausNet: What is your favorite movie?
Santa Don: "The entire Star Wars franchise. "

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
Santa Don: "A Year without a Santa Claus (the old Rankin - Bass stop motion movie)."

ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Santa Don: "I love so many of the traditional Christmastide hymns. If I have to choose one I would have to pick Silent Night."

ClausNet: What was the last book that you read?
Santa Don: "I finally finished reading the entire Bible in 2016."

ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Santa Don: " I would like to try being a guide at a National landmark."

ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt?
Santa Don: "Anything where I would have to handle money."

ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child?
Santa Don: "G.I. Joe action figures and accessories (the old big ones)."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up?
Santa Don: "I was terrified of visiting Santa Claus and don't remember actually sitting on his lap. This is really too bad because the Santa at my local mall did that gig for many years. My Mom claims there is one photo of me on his lap but no one can find this photo."

ClausNet: What is the hardest question you’ve gotten as Santa Claus and what was your response?
Santa Don: "I had a little girl who told me all she wanted for Christmas was for her family to get along. I was pretty choked up but managed to praise her for such a wonderful wish."

ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet?
Santa Don: " I found ClausNet through an internet search while trying to connect with other Santas."

ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet?
Santa Don: "I have met so many wonderful people on ClausNet. There seems to be no end to the knowledge that is to be gained in this special virtual community."

ClausNet: Is there a Santa or Mrs. Claus over the years that you admire or has inspired you? Can you tell us a little bit about him/her?
Santa Don: " My dear friend Santa Marty (Hawaii) is a Santa I'll always look up to. He has gone out of his way to help me in many ways and I even carry a small token of his friendship with me at every Santa appearance."

ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus?
Santa Don: "Allow yourself to enjoy being Santa but remember that you carry the responsibility of representing the actual Saint Nicholas, the beautiful image of the modern Santa Claus, and every man portraying Santa across the globe."

ClausNet: Anything else you would like to add?
Santa Don: "I am honored to be selected as the ClausNet Featured Member of the Month. I stand in the shadow of some amazing men and women. I am proud to add my name to this list of those who represent the very best of the Christmas spirit."

Thank you Don! Everyone, please join me in congratulating Santa Don, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for April 2017!

March 2017

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Santa Castor

Congratulations Santa Don!  

Great interview, but yellow? Really?

Ah, to each his own

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SCSanta

:congrats:

Welcome to the MOtM Club!

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Eileen Strom

:congrats:

Was a very nice article about you and your Santa-ing!

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Santa Bruce Geron

Congratulations, Don!

What an insightful interview.

Edited by Santa Bruce Geron
spelling

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Santa Bill Reiller

Congratulations and welcome to the Club.  I proudly pass the mantle to you.   Great interview!

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Felix Estridge

Congratulations!  And welcome to the MOTM club!

I knew I liked you!  I, too, enjoy a good Reuben sandwich.

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High Country Santa Mike

Congratulations!

 

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Santa Ross

:congrats:

What a great interview. I really enjoyed getting to hear bit about your story and journey!

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Santa Johnny Boy

Congratulations, Santa Don, on a well deserved honor!

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David Dixon

Congratulations!!!

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Santa Marty
12 hours ago, Santa Castor said:

Congratulations Santa Don!  

Great interview, but yellow? Really?

Ah, to each his own

My thoughts exactly!

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Kevin Fast

Congratulations

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Santa D Claus

Congradulations in finding your calling to the Santa Family and Clausnet.

 

Santa D Claus

Edited by Santa D Claus

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Santa Johnathan

Wonderful interview! Wow...Santa, Music teacher, and Star Wars fan...love it. Congratulations Santa Don! 

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Felix Estridge
1 hour ago, Santa Johnathan said:

Wonderful interview! Wow...Santa, Music teacher, and Star Wars fan...love it. Congratulations Santa Don! 

I thought the same thing about you two.

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Schwindy

WAY 2 GO Don!

Very good read and I enjoyed the interview! 

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Elf Without Jingles

Welcome to the Member of the Month Club, Santa Don! I'm sure you're gonna have a lot of fun sharing good honest Kringle wisdom the same way I did! Congratulations!

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SantaDon

Thanks, everyone, for your nice comments.  It's an honor to be chosen and I love being a part of this community.  Being that my favorite color (yellow) has been mentioned, I'll explain.  I'm colorblind and the color yellow appears more vibrant to me than most other colors for some reason.  

 

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Nick Hudson

Nice job!  

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Glenn Johnson

Congratulations, Don. Love the studio photographs - your joy shines bright.

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SantaDon

As if being the April 2017 Featured Member on ClausNet wasn't honor enough, this week I was named our District Teacher of the Year!  

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Big-Un

Congratulations on being named to the MoM club. I, too, work with a very talented children's photographer who always comes up with very interesting scenarios for her Christmas portraits. As she has recurring clients yearly, they all collect her photos as a timeline for their children. She does a special one each year for me and Mrs. Claus which we use for Christmas cards and those that receive them collect them also. Plus, her "out takes" are precious and awesome! 

Again, congratulations.

santa Bill

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Bestemor Claus

:congrats:Santa Don. How did I miss this? I am so sorry for the delayed post. I enjoyed your interview. Be blessed as Santa and as Teacher of the Year. :mrsclaus:

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