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Michael Rielly

Featured Member of the Month - December 2018

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Michael Rielly

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

We are happy to announce our ClausNet Featured Member for December 2018 is Deanna Golden!

Deanna Golden
Featured ClausNet Member – December 2018

deanna

deanna

Profile: Deanna Golden
Real Name: Deanna
Location: Cave Greek, Arizona USA
ClausNet member since: 8 March 2018
Website: dmgolden.wixsite.com/mrsannaclaus
Website: santanana.com
Facebook: @deanna.golden.77

November

Behind every great Santa there is always an even greater Mrs. Claus. Let’s face it, Santa would be lost without Mrs. Claus. And our Featured Member of the Month for December is no exception! Deanna Golden has been portraying Mrs. Claus since 2014. As an independent Mrs. Claus, Deanna enjoys working with many different Santas, as well as my own events. Deanna is on the Board of Directors of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas (IBRBS) and is the co-owner of Santa Nana’s Holiday University (SNHU). We caught up with Deanna a few weeks ago and here is what she had to say…

ClausNet: How long have you been portraying Mrs. Claus and how did you get started?
Deanna Golden: "I retired from Corporate America in 2014. I always said I was done ‘working,’ but not done ‘doing.’ My husband’s best friend, Santa Russ, who has portrayed Santa for 20+ years, asked if I would consider being his Mrs. Claus. After all, I love children, love Christmas, and just might enjoy it. After the first child, like so many of us, I was hooked. I volunteered that first year, vowed to never do anything without him, and have since become an independent Mrs. Claus. I work with many different Santas and love every minute."

deanna

ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Mrs. Claus?
Deanna Golden: "Starting out, I knew I had a lot to learn. Santa Russ got me involved in our local Chapter, and I met some wonderful people. Mrs. Clauses and Santas gave me some suggestions about my look and what exactly Mrs. Claus can do at events. One person in particular was Lucky Royse. We quickly became good friends, and she portrayed her character, Santa Nana, with style and flair and elegance. That very much appealed to me, and I’ve been working on my appearance and style ever since. Listening to the other ladies and gentlemen across the Community, I have found as many versions of Mrs. Claus as there are women who portray her. We encourage each other to learn from each other and take ideas that evolve into our own personal looks."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Mrs. Claus?
Deanna Golden: "Stepping into this world has changed my life. Seriously! I love the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, the opportunities to help shape our world, what we do, and where we are going. At a Mrs. Claus level, this will sound corny, but I just love seeing the smiles on the children when they see me, especially when they don’t expect Mrs. Claus to be where they are. I’m humbled by the times I’ve been able to spend time with that child anxious to be near Santa, but happy to be near me. I love seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. It keeps me young and reminds me of what’s really important."

ClausNet: As Mrs. Claus, you get to work with a lot of Santas. Can you tell us more about working with various Santas?
Deanna Golden: "It’s interesting! My second year, I had a chance to do a tree lighting with Santa Stan. It did my heart good at the end of the evening when he smiled and said to me I was a Mrs. Claus he could work with again, which we did! The same year, my friend Lucky introduced me to Santa Leo. She was passing the baton to me as she faced a terminal illness. I’ve worked with several Santas since then, and have found that talking about the event, our back story, our expectations, what each of us will do, what we will do together, the business side, all before an event is so important. We need to complement each other and not present ourselves as two separate performers. One thing I always try and remember when working with a different Santa is to be flexible and spontaneous. A good team will quickly react to a situation and nobody will ever know you haven’t known that person for years. I’ve heard it said before that a good Mrs. Claus will make Santa go from good to great. A good Santa will do the same for Mrs. Claus."

ClausNet: How often do you appear without Santa and what are these events like?
Deanna Golden: "As a solo Mrs. Claus, I have done cookie decorating at a local resort. 2018 will be the fourth year the resort has offered Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus as a part of their promoted holiday events. They are fun and fabulous, with the children decorating their cookies, my giving them pointers – like Mrs. Claus has only one rule when it comes to cookie decorating – there are no rules! I bring little goody bags for each child, and we end with a story, a song, or game, and photos. I also have a pre-school of three and four-year old children. They specifically wanted Mrs. Claus, since at that young age it’s hit or miss whether Santa will be well received. At that event, we sing, I tell them about life at the North Pole, the children sing to me, I bring stickers for the children to decorate a poster board Christmas tree, we take photos, and I bring individual letters for each child from Santa they can hang on their refrigerators."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit?
Deanna Golden: "So many, for different reasons. I will always remember the young boy who only wanted his own Bible for Christmas. The young girl who sang every word of Let it Go. The infant who still had on his name bracelet because he’d just been discharged from the hospital. The special needs adults who squealed when Santa and I walked through the door, and one in particular running up to me for a hug. It’s really impossible to pick one memorable visit, but the theme in all is how incredibly humbled I am to be blessed to do what I do."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig?
Deanna Golden: "I love the Cookie Decorating at the resort. Children get to be children and have no rules in how they decorate their little masterpieces."

ClausNet: What is your dream gig?
Deanna Golden: "Great question. I have yet to do a parade, so that’s on my bucket list."

deanna

ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Mrs. Claus?
Deanna Golden: "Many things. Within the Christmas Community I am on the Board of Directors of IBRBS, as well as my local Chapter. I inherited a school from my friend Lucky, who designed a program around the female performer, and with my partner Judi Broderick, we launched that in August 2018. We are excited to take it around the country. In my other side of life, my husband and I love to camp in the Arizona mountains, and travel to see our families across the country."

ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests?
Deanna Golden: "Camping, home canning, going to our annual Country Thunder music festival, and enjoying the desert life. I do look forward to making my gingerbread house every year, using a pattern that my Mom used since 1948."

ClausNet: What is your favorite color?
Deanna Golden: "Green!"

deanna

ClausNet: What is your favorite food?
Deanna Golden: "A good cheeseburger is the best food on the planet!"

ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi?
Deanna Golden: "Diet Coke, please."

ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie?
Deanna Golden: "The Mrs. Claus in me says any cookie that makes Santa smile. For me, I like peanut butter sandwich cookies."

ClausNet: What is your favorite movie?
Deanna Golden: "Any time this movie is on I’ll watch it – Forrest Gump. The redeeming power of simplicity and goodness. And hope."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
Deanna Golden: "I do! It is ‘A toss-up between ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and the original ‘Miracle on 34th Street’.’."

ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Deanna Golden: "The Gift, by Aselin Debison.

 

And O Holy Night by Celine Dion."

 

ClausNet: What was the last book that you read?
Deanna Golden: "I’m just starting to read Maria Shriver’s I’ve Been Thinking."

ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Deanna Golden: "Love these questions – Mr. Lipton! I would have loved to have had my own children and had the hardest and most rewarding job of all being a mom."

Finally! After doing these interviews since 2008, Deanna is the first person to get the James Lipton reference. Still, no one has gotten the Coke vs. Pepsi question yet...

ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt?
Deanna Golden: "Politician."

ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child?
Deanna Golden: "Loved my Barbie dolls and Betsy McCall paper dolls. And playing with my brothers’ Tonka trucks."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up?
Deanna Golden: "The year we lived in Ohio (1964). We went to Midnight Mass and when we were outside someone told me to look up into the sky because Santa’s sleigh was flying over us! I stared for a long time looking for him."

ClausNet: What is the hardest question you have gotten as Mrs. Claus and what was your response?
Deanna Golden: "I guess I’ve been lucky so far. I’ve never been asked to help parents stop fighting or to bring back a deceased grandparent. What I did get, which was a bit of a challenge, was a laundry list of high-priced gifts from a tween who was asking for several thousand dollars in Christmas gifts. I really had to bite my tongue and did ask her to think about the top two or three things she most wanted, and that perhaps one of those gifts on her list could go to someone else. That was met with rolling eyes."

ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet?
Deanna Golden: "A friend told me about it."

ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet?
Deanna Golden: "The sheer volume of information and support for us, and the incredible commitment of those who keep it going."

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?
Deanna Golden: "Santa Russ, who opened the door to me. I had no clue where a simple question about being a Mrs. Claus would lead. His heart for service is amazing and he has always been the greatest cheerleader for Mrs. Clauses as equal opportunity joy makers. I’ve mentioned Lucky Royse before. She was the first who opened my eyes to see my character in new ways, and the opportunities for women to have a stronger role. Both visionaries and pioneers in seeing the future of how all Christmas performers can create spectacular experiences – together."

ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus?
Deanna Golden: "Know why you’re doing this. Find a mentor. Find a local Chapter or community. Take a risk. Learn the history. Take classes. Trust. Stay humble and teachable. Have fun. When it becomes work, it’s time to find something else."

ClausNet: Anything else you would like to add?
Deanna Golden: "Thank you so much for asking me to be a part of this. It’s not lost on me the power and influence each of us has on those we encounter, and our obligation to model the highest standards of integrity. Merry Christmas, and always remember the reason for the season."

Thank you Deanna! Everyone, please join me in congratulating Deanna Golden, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for December 2018!

Deanna

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Michael Rielly

Congratulations @Deanna Golden!

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Santa Peter

 

:congrats:   Welcome to the Club 

Edited by Santa Peter
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Felix Estridge

Congratulations and welcome to the MOTM club!

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Santa Bill of Bel Air

Congratulations!!!!!!!

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Steve Fletcher

:congrats:

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Santa Bill Reiller

Congratulations and welcome to the MOTM Club!!  :santa_smiley:

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Santa Mike IN

Congratulations!

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SCSanta

Enjoyed reading and learning more about you. Congratulations...and welcome to the club!

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Santa Charlie G

Congratulations!!

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Santa Dan

After hearing you on the podcast, it was awesome reading your answers and hearing your voice in my head. Congratulations and thank you for being such a wonderful Blessing! 

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Santa Bruce Geron

Congratualtions.jpg.abd43a368e16926947c862f7b2429be1.jpg

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Eileen Strom

:congrats:

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Schwindy

:congrats:

Deanna

:woot_jump:

 

 

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Tommy

That was GREAT!!!!

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Santa D

Congratulations Deanna.  I found your answers very insightful, educational and inspiring.  If you every bring your school to Minnesota I know that my Mrs. Claus would be interested in attending.  Bless you and Merry Christmas.

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Santa Johnny Boy

Congratulations, Mrs Deanna Claus, on a well deserved honor!

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Santa G

Congratulations, great interview 😀

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