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Michael Rielly

Featured Member of the Month - September 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 September 2019 is Santa Tommy!

Santa Tommy
Featured ClausNet Member – September 2019

tom

tom

Profile: Santa Tommy
Real Name: Tommy
Location: Alabama USA
ClausNet member since: December 6, 2016
Community Reputation (as of today): 569 – Superb!

September

Our Featured Member of the Month for September 2019 joined ClausNet back in 2016. Since then, Santa Tommy has been a regular contributor to the community. We caught up with Tommy 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?
Tommy: "This is year number four for me. I first portrayed Santa Claus for my son’s high school band’s Christmas concert. The director asked me to lead the sing-a-long portion of the concert. I was planning to surprise the director by entering as Santa, but ended up telling him what I wanted to do. He loved the idea and I’ve been portraying Santa ever since."

tom

ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus?
Tommy: "The most lasting influence came from the Santa at Walt Disney World. My family and I were there for Christmas one year and all six of us visited with Santa there in the Magic Kingdom. I was completely amazed with this Santa. He listened to my children and then began to talk about the birth of Jesus. I was totally blown away. Here at Walt Disney World Santa is telling the real Christmas story. This has never left me. Other influences come from Miracle on 34th Street, the original, and the Santa Claus movie with Tim Allen. Many Santas on ClausNet also inspire my portrayal."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa?
Tommy: "The joy Santa brings to children and their families is the thing I enjoy the most. I like to try to make the children laugh and smile a lot when they visit with me in the chair or when I’m in their home. To hear the children laugh is tremendous. I love Christmas and what Christmas is about and I want everyone to love it as much as I do."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit?
Tommy: "I have two visits. In March of 2019, a family waited to celebrate Christmas with their son who was returning home from military service. They left all the decorations in place and gifts under the tree for this special celebration. The mother gave me some information about her son and his wife that only Santa could know. When I called them by their nicknames, it blew them away. Then I told him about a Christmas when he and brother were children and they were convinced I was the real Santa. My other memorable visit was with a family who came to see me at my chair position. It was a slow afternoon and the four of them spent forty-five minutes talking with me. They asked every Santa question under the sun. It was a good thing I had read through Answers from the Big Chair here on ClausNet as well as a Santa textbook."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig?
Tommy: "I really enjoy being in the chair!"

ClausNet: What is your dream gig?
Tommy: "Being Santa at Walt Disney World or Disneyland."

tom

ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa?
Tommy: "I am a Minister of Music and Education in my church. These two ministries keep me busy along with keeping up with my wife and four young adult children."

ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests?
Tommy: "I have model trains, both indoor and an outdoor garden railroad. I also rescued a small pipe organ that I hope to one day have playing. Disney park history is also one of my hobbies."

tom

ClausNet: What is your favorite color?
Tommy: "I have two favorite colors -- red and green!"

ClausNet: What is your favorite food?
Tommy: "I enjoy a really good hamburger. Being a Southern Baptist, I also really like fried chicken. BBQ is always good, too!"

ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi?
Tommy: "Coke!!!"

ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie?
Tommy: "Chocolate Chip."

tom

ClausNet: What is your favorite movie?
Tommy: "The Three Godfathers with John Wayne. There is a train and Christmas theme in it. What could be better?"

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
Tommy: "The original Miracle on 34th Street. If I get to watch only one Christmas movie, this is the one."

ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Tommy: "I like them all!"

ClausNet: What was the last book that you read?
Tommy: "The Bible is the one I read last, but the other book is ‘A Fruitful Life The Missionary Labors of Stephen Paxson’. A great little book taking you through the life of Stephen Paxson and what God did through him. Absolutely amazing!"

ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Tommy: "I would like to try working as a locomotive engineer."

ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt?
Tommy: "Telemarketer."

ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child?
Tommy: "Toy trains, a bike, and a record player."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up?
Tommy: "I don’t remember visiting Santa as a child. There is only one picture of me and my brother visiting Santa and I was an older child in that picture. I do remember seeing Santa at the mall, but we didn’t visit with him. I was a very shy child. I always believed in Santa, though."

ClausNet: What is the hardest question you have gotten as Santa Claus and what was your response?
Tommy: "’Are you the real Santa?’ I usually answer by asking, ‘Are you the real you?’ followed by, ‘I feel real. Would you like to tug my beard?’ When the child tugs the beard, that usually settles things."

ClausNet: What is the strangest request you have gotten as Santa Claus?
Tommy: "A grown man stopped me on the street corner and asked for me to bring him a Hooters girl. Talk about awkward!"

ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet?
Tommy: "I was looking for any and all information I could find when I began my journey portraying Santa and I found ClausNet through a search online."

ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet?
Tommy: "I appreciate all the help and words of wisdom that so many share here. This really is a special community and I’m so glad to be a small part of it. I usually stop by every day just see what’s new! ClausNet is just tremendous!"

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?
Tommy: "I have three. Jerald Newberry, Russ Gordon, and Stan Miller. Jerald lives in Florida so I don’t get to see him very much. Jerald taught me that Santa can be an Ambassador for Christ. Russ inspired me to be bold in incorporating the birth of Christ into my Santa visits. I admire Stan because of his generosity with the time he took to talk with me. Russ, Stan and l live in the same area, so I greatly appreciate them for passing my name and contact information along to people looking for a Santa. They helped me get a good start. I can’t let the opportunity pass without saying thank you to the Cotton State Santas for the warm welcome I received from the group. This is great bunch of people to know and spend some time with."

ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus?
Tommy: "Be the best Santa you can be. Let your love of Christmas come out in your portrayal. Always look your best when in the suit. Plan and rehearse what you will do during a home visit or during an event, be ready for anything. Compliment children. Give children encouraging words. Thank children and their folks for coming to see you or for letting you come to their home. If you aren’t already on ClausNet, get there as soon as you can and keep improving!"

Thank you Tommy! Everyone, please join me in congratulating Santa Tommy, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for September 2019!

tom

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Eileen Strom

:congrats:

 

...And Welcome to the Club!

Edited by Eileen Strom
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Kevin Fast

Congratulations

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bllwnkl

Good stuff! I really appreciate these interviews. Thanks!

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TamaleClaus

Congratulations, and thanks for sharing.  Everything here including the interviews causes me to think about new things and how to approach difficult situations, which we all have faced and also will continue to face.

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Santa Ed K

Congratulations.

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Santa Bill Reiller

:congrats:         Welcome to the MOTM Club!!!!

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Black Hills Santa

Congratulations!

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Felix Estridge

Congratulations and welcome to the MOTM club!

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Schwindy

Nicely Done Tommy!

I enjoyed the read as well as hearing a little more about you!
WELL DONE, WELL DONE!

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Santa Bruce Geron

Congratualtions.jpg.abd43a368e16926947c862f7b2429be1.jpg

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magicsantaphil

Congratulations!! Well done!

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Black River Santa

:congrats:

Enjoyed learning more about you!

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Santa Mike IN

Congratulations!

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Drosselmeyer

:congrats:

thanks for sharing your story !!

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Tommy

I really appreciate Michael and the work he does with this site!  I feel like we're all family here!  I hope to one day meet some of you face to face.  Anyone going to ISC2020 in Atlanta next April?  I've already made my reservations!

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SCSanta

Congratulations! Welcome to the MOtM Club!

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Santa Johnathan

Congratulations! 

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Santa Johnny Boy

Congratulations, Santa Tommy, on a well deserved honor!

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Big-Un

Congratulations Santa Tommy! It seems we both have some of the same virtues, Southern Baptist and sharing the true meaning of Christmas while in (and out of) the CHAIR. Always good to see another wonderful man willing to share the joy and comfort of being a memorable Santa for the children, young and older!

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