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Michael Rielly

Featured Member of the Month - December 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 December 2019 is TamaleClaus!

TamaleClaus
Featured ClausNet Member – December 2019

mark

mark

Profile: TamaleClaus
Real Name: Mark
Location: Texas USA
ClausNet member since: February 7, 2019
Community Reputation (as of today): 657 – Fabulous!

December

Not every Santa Claus dons a red suit or wears a long white beard. Tamale Claus aka Mark doesn’t enter the room with Ho-Ho-Ho, but he does say Merry Christmas! Like Santa Claus, Tamale Claus wears a red cap and is often seen spreading happiness and joy while making his deliveries. But he doesn’t deliver toys. No, his deliveries are made of masa, steamed in a corn husk! Confused? Mark tells the story in our December 2019 Featured Member of the Month interview. Here is what he had to say...

ClausNet: How long have you been portraying Santa Claus and how did you get started?
TamaleClaus: "This is a difficult question and perhaps needs some explanation. I do not portray the Man in Red, but his 2nd or 3rd cousin or Tamale Claus. This has been going on for over 40 years and is a combination of several different stories with different beginnings that have become one.

The first story begins as I was born around the San Antonio area where the Mexican culture had a major influence in my life, add this to my love of Mexican food and the tradition of having tamales at Christmas has been a part of my life. About 40 years ago after discovering the best mass-produced tamale made anywhere in the world, I started purchasing several dozen and giving them to friends. After trying them, friends agreed, and I was importing 1-2 large ice chest of tamales from San Antonio every year and sharing them with friends and selling additional ones to friends who wanted more than I would give away. This continued to where I was bringing back 4-5 large ice chest full every year. The tradition is that you should have tamales on Christmas Eve, but seldom do my tamales last that long.

The second story began about 25 years ago, when I started wearing a Santa hat after Thanksgiving as I greatly enjoyed the Christmas spirit and the celebration of Our Savior Jesus Christ. I learned that while I was wearing the hat, it gave me Carte Blanche to say Merry Christmas without individuals looking at me like I was some type of over the top Christmas Nut. People would refer to me as Santa and I didn’t really like that title, since I was not Santa, I did not deal with toys, and didn’t want to tarnish the reputation of the real Santa. So, I started just referring to myself as Tamale Claus since I didn’t deliver toys but only tamales.

The third part of the story is that about 12 years ago, I realized that the purpose of Tamale Claus was to bring joy, happiness through tamales and not becoming individuals major tamale source and reselling tamales, so Tamale Claus changed once again, to only provide tamales at no cost and no strings attached to friends and family. I still bring back between 5-6 large ice chests from San Antonio every year, and you would be surprised how many dozen you can fit into a Toyota Camry, back seat, front seat and trunk. This year I once again have a pickup and will not have any issues. Tamale Claus is trying to follow the Christmas spirit of giving and not receiving, so proving extra tamales for money was not keeping with that spirit."

mark

ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus?
TamaleClaus: "My influence is a love of spreading Christmas cheer and greetings."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa, er, I mean, Tamale Claus?
TamaleClaus: "Being able to say “Merry Christmas” to anyone at any time and not be looked as some type of Christmas nut. This brings a smile to most everyone’s face regardless of the type of day they are having. Sharing the Christmas spirit by giving gifts, even if some individuals consider tamales kind of odd. You have to understand the Mexican culture and traditions."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit?
TamaleClaus: "One year I changed physicians due to the prior one retiring, and had an appointment after Thanksgiving and asked them what type of Tamales that they enjoyed. When I returned in a week or two, they were shocked that I actually brought Tamales for the office. I said that I told them that I would, and they said that people always told them that they would bring them something and never did, and that I wouldn’t take any money for the gifts. They still talk about it every time that I return to the office."

mark

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig?
TamaleClaus: "Giving to individuals that are living day to day and this gives them something special for Christmas."

ClausNet: What is your dream gig?
TamaleClaus: "If I ever am able to put on the Red Suit, it would be for senior events, Nursing Homes, Retirement communities, Church adult events."

ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa?
TamaleClaus: "Besides being a retired engineer, I am also an Enrolled Agent and have been doing income taxes during the spring. Staying busy for 4 months or so, and of course the Continuing Education during the summer and fall."

ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests?
TamaleClaus: "Reading and volunteering at church. I volunteer most weekends which takes up most of Saturdays and Sundays."

ClausNet: What is your favorite color?
TamaleClaus: "Probably Red."

ClausNet: What is your favorite food?
TamaleClaus: "Not particular, but I tend to lean more toward Mexican, and Italian!"

ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi?
TamaleClaus: "Hands Down, Diet Dr Pepper."

ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie?
TamaleClaus: "Either a good plain sugar cookie or a Snickerdoodle."

mark

ClausNet: What is your favorite movie?
TamaleClaus: "This is an extremely difficult answer. I tend to go through stages. The Longest Day, The Hallelujah Trail, and Mad Mad Mad World."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
TamaleClaus: "Not really. Again, my moods change. Santa Claus with Tim Allen and Miracle on 34th Street (1947)."

ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song?
TamaleClaus: "Most likely Silent Night as I like to reflect on Peace on Earth from our Father."

ClausNet: What was the last book that you read?
TamaleClaus: "Most likely it was some Military Sci-Fi."

ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
TamaleClaus: "Technical behind the scenes for plays or stage production."

ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt?
TamaleClaus: "Anything in the medical field."

ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child?
TamaleClaus: "Toy trucks, tractors."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up?
TamaleClaus: "I grew up in a small town and had very little, if any, experience with Santa. Nearest Santa was in San Antonio and, with the family not having much money, believe that my parents didn’t want to get my hopes up. This limited my exposure to any Santas."

ClausNet: What is the strangest request you have gotten as Tamale Claus?
TamaleClaus: "Why didn’t I get that sports car that I wanted? My answer was that if they remembered how they behaved during the year, and if the actually got more than they deserved."

ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet?
TamaleClaus: "Wearing a Santa Hat every day ALL day from the day after Thanksgiving till New Year’s Day, I am always on the lookout for quality Santa Hats. I attempted 10 years ago to have one custom made, but the individual failed miserably after charging me an arm and a leg. Looking at various web sites and not knowing how comfortable they would be for extended wear, decided to look at CN to see if anyone knew of where I could find a source. When I applied for admission, I asked Michael if I didn’t qualify for membership if he could at least recommend someone who might assist me in my search. The rest is history."

ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet?
TamaleClaus: "The answer to this might be larger than the web server’s capacity. Friendship, interest in common goals of Spreading goodness and kindness of Claus. Individuals who are willing to answer questions and help each other become better in their portrayal of Claus. I’m using Claus to refer to Santa, Mrs, helpers, elves and of course Tamale Claus."

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?
TamaleClaus: "Not sure if there has been one over the years, but during 2019 I have become impressed with multiple individuals on CN. Michael Rielly with his selflessness in creating and hosting this website I would have to say thanks most of all. A very Thankless job and my growth this past year would not have been possible without the website and the individuals on it. On a personal note, also would like to thank Felix Estridge for taking his valuable time and letting me ask him endless questions and also letting me get to know him on a more personal basis."

ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus?
TamaleClaus: "Do not worry too much about dressing right or having the right props. First and foremost, focus on your heart and keep Christ in your portrayal of Claus whether it’s Santa, Mrs. Elves or Tamale Claus and his selflessness giving of himself for others."

ClausNet: Anything else you would like to add?
TamaleClaus: "I do not know if I will ever put on the Red Suit. I have attempted to obtain a Santa suit this year, but it appears that will not happen this year. I decided that I will not push it and attempt to throw just something together last minute, so backing off on obtaining a beard, wig, boots, belts for this year and decided to concentrate on improving my Tamale Claus delivery and find more creative ways to share the love and kindness of Jesus in every dozen tamales that I give out this year."

Thank you Mark! Everyone, please join me in congratulating TamaleClaus, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for December 2019!

mark

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SCSanta

Congratulations Mark...I very interesting take to be sure. I enjoyed reading more about you. Happy to give you  a backstage gig if you are ever in my area!

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bllwnkl

Neat story! I had no idea why you chose TamaleClaus. It's definitely more than a clever name. What a cool ministry!  

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Felix Estridge

How awesome!  Welcome to the MOTM Club!!!

I am the blessed one to call him a true friend.  We spend a few hours together every month or two talking about quite a variety of things, but most about portraying Santa.

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Santa Mike IN

Congratulations!

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Santa Bruce Geron

Congratualtions.jpg.abd43a368e16926947c862f7b2429be1.jpg

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Santa Bill III

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Great interview.  I enjoyed reading it and getting to know you better.

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Drosselmeyer

WOW - thanks for sharing your story !

and a well deserved :congrats:    my brother !

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Santa Everett

Congratulations!!!! Mark and I were partners in this years ornament exchange and that led us into a relationship of sharing common interest between us. Exterior illumination with Christmas lights, Santa, paying forward, engineering, and our love of Christ. Would one day love to share the world's best mass produced tamale.

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Santa Johnny Boy

Congratulations, Santa Mark, on a well deserved honor!

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Santa Ed K

Congratulations!

 

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Eileen Strom

:congrats:

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Tommy

Congratulations!!!  That was terrific!!!

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Santa Bill Reiller

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

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Santa Dan

I can see you made into a hallmark movie.. Here comes Tamale Claus! I love that fact that you found a way to show love in action. If we all did that one thing, man what a change and chance to touch the lives of others! You are awesome my friend! Keep on Keeping on being you!

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