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Michael Rielly

Featured Member of the Month - May 2019

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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 May 2019 is Santa Bill of Bel Air!

Santa Bill of Bel Air
Featured ClausNet Member – May 2019

bill

bill

Profile: Santa Bill of Bel Air
Real Name: Bill
Location: Bel Air, Maryland USA
ClausNet member since: November 8, 2008
Community Reputation (as of today): 190 – Excellent!
Facebook: KofCSanta

May

Our Featured Member of the Month for May is from Bel Air. No not that Bel Air! Bel Air, Maryland! Santa Bill of Bel Air joined ClausNet back in 2008 and has been putting on the red suit for 18 years now. We caught up with Santa Bill 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 Bill of Bel Air: "About 18 years. It started with a house visit to a friend of my wife's. I was a traditional Santa for 16 years and started as real bearded a few years ago, after my obligation to the Coast Guard was over."

bill

ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Many movie Santas, most especially Tim Allen in the Santa Clause for the look and Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street for the temperament. I also like to keep alive the spirit and generosity of St. Nicholas as well."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa Claus?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Having the privilege and opportunity to be a part of Christmas traditions for so many families. It was always a magical time in my childhood. Being part of that for others is something that I value beyond words."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "I have made several visits to terminally ill children. As much as it pulls on the heart strings, I feel honored to be asked by a child's family to be one of their last Christmas memories."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Polar Express and being the ‘house’ Santa at the B&O Railroad Museum the past two years. My Dad worked for the B&O, so it's great to be there to honor him and be a part of a long-standing holiday tradition in Baltimore."

ClausNet: What is your dream gig?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Disney or perhaps somewhere in Europe."

dan

ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "I work as college counselor and teach German on the side."

ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "History (especially Civil War), Living History, Hiking, Ice Hockey."

ClausNet: What is your favorite color?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Besides red? I am fond of green."

bill

ClausNet: What is your favorite food?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "My wife was a fabulous cook, so I was spoiled with some of the best homemade Italian dishes. I also love a good steak and Mexican."

ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Pepsi, but I like Coke too."

ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Chocolate Chip."

ClausNet: What is your favorite movie?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Gettysburg."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scott or Alistair Simm)."

ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole, it reminds me so much of Christmas during my childhood."

bill

ClausNet: What was the last book that you read?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "The Border Reivers by Alistairr Moffat."

ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Park Ranger."

ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Accountant. It would be a disaster."

ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Star Wars toys and Tonka Trucks."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Meeting Santa at the American Legion Post where my grandfather was a member. it was always the first Saturday in July."

ClausNet: What is the hardest question you have gotten as Santa Claus and what was your response?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "I've had several children ask me to make sure that their deployed military parent or sibling make it home. I usually give them a hug, tell them how proud I am of them for being so brave while their loved one is away and assure them that I will pray for their wish."

ClausNet: What is the strangest request you've gotten as Santa Claus?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Brocolli."

ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "I stumbled across the site on the Internet and am very glad that I did!"

ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "The chance to meet and learn from Santas with so many diverse experiences and backgrounds. it is a true Christmas family in which I am proud and honored to be a member."

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 Bill of Bel Air: "I have been inspired by many. A few who come to mind are Santa Guy McNair, Santa Tony Mills, Santa Brian Marchetti and Santa Thom Ruby. Both have taken the time to mentor me, answer questions and give great advice."

ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Learn, learn and learn! Observe Santas in many environments when you can. As you gain more experience, you can use these lessons and develop your own style. Never forget that it is about the kids and the families."

ClausNet: Anything else you would like to add?
Santa Bill of Bel Air: "Having lost my wife in March, I am dedicating this season to her. She always loved to hear about the funny things kids would say and how they would look with wide-eyed wonder. She was a teacher and had a huge heart for kids too. I will always be Chrissy's Claus."

Thank you Bill! Everyone, please join me in congratulating Santa Bill of Bel Air, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for May 2019!

bill

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Santa Dan

A wonderful reading of your answers and to me it shows your love for what you do. My heart goes out to you and I look forward to seeing posts with photos of your season Mr. "Chrissy" Claus. I am honored to know you. Big internet hug to you Sir!

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Santa Peter

:congrats:

and welcome to the MOTM Club 

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Santa Ed K

Congratulations.

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Black River Santa

Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story. I enjoyed learning more about you and wish you all the very best for the upcoming season. What a wonderful way to honor your wife's memory. God Bless.

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Santa Bill Reiller

Congratulations and welcome to the MOTM Club!!!!  Great interview and look forward to reading more of your posts.

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Eileen Strom

:congrats:

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Felix Estridge

Congratulations and welcome to the MOTM club!

And sincere condolences on the loss of your wife.

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bllwnkl

Thanks for sharing your life with us. I'm new and I'm trying to absorb all I can. Glad that you are continuing as Santa. And it's great to see the dedication to your wife. God bless you!

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Drosselmeyer

Congratulations my friend - we must get together soon !

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TamaleClaus

Congratulations on the recognization.  Condolences on the loss of your wife. 

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Santa Mike IN

Congratulations.

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SCSanta

:congrats:

Welcome to the MOtM Club and Condolences on the loss of your wife...I am sure she is with you in spirit.

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Kevin Fast

Congratulations

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Schwindy

Congrats Bill!

Wishing you the greatest season ever

Well done and I enjoyed reading your answers!
Thanks for sharing with us!
Peace & Love
Schwindy

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Tommy

Congratulations!!! Enjoyed reading through the interview!

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Santa Johnny Boy

Congratulations, Santa Bill, on a well deserved honor!

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magicsantaphil

Congratulations! Well deserved!

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Big-Un

Congratulations to another "Santa Bill!" to the MOTM club. Your interview was great and very positive and I send condolences on the loss of your wife. I'm sure she was a good part of your Santa role, as is mine; don't know what I would do with her loss. I love your attitude and your ability to continue being the best Santa for the kids, especially the terminally ill. I admire you for that.

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Santa Carlucci

Congratulations,  Santa Bill.  These commentaries are a great resource for all of us,  especially the newbies.  

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Mitten Santa

SWEET, Congratulations!
:santa3:

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