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Michael Rielly

Featured Member of the Month - January 2020

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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 January 2020 is Jerry Nebel!

Jerry Nebel
Featured ClausNet Member – January 2020

jerry

jerry

Profile: Jerry Nebel
Real Name: Jerry
Location: Lake Bay, Washington USA
ClausNet member since: September 21, 2009
Community Reputation (as of today): 1,007 – Darn near Santa himself!
Website: SantaInSeattle.com

January

Our first Featured Member of the Month for 2020 has been a member of ClausNet since 2009. Jerry Nebel started down the path of portraying Santa Claus not far from the North Pole. Jerry’s first time in the suit was back in 1975 in Valdez, Alaska! We caught up with Santa Jerry 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?
Jerry: "In 1975 in Valdez, Alaska I was asked to be Santa for the residents at the State Mental Hospital. I don’t remember much about that actual gig. I took advantage of the suit and visited with friends with children and the pictures are fun to compare with my present day look. One family had a big St. Bernard and when he saw Santa, he charged ready to tear him up only stopping dead in his tracks when he recognized the voice.

In April 2008 I went to work for a tug and barge company. We delivered refined petroleum products up and down the West Coast from Los Angeles, California to Barrow Alaska, August of that year the General Manager asked if I would be Santa at the company Christmas party. At the time the company had over 250 employees and at Christmas at least half were at sea. The company put on a huge party at a large venue. Many activities for children and presents for them all. The manager had been the Santa previous years he explained. He had a suit I could use and over and over told me it was something he was sure I would enjoy. He couldn’t do it now because of his new responsibilities and it was easy to tell he was kind of sad he wasn’t going to be able to be Santa.

After much deliberations and discussions with my wife Patti I decided to say yes. I stopped shaving and let my beard grow out. The handlebar stash I had been sporting for years. Patti added some touches to the suit which was a very inexpensive costume shop outfit. I had a pair of black rubber muck boots that I cleaned up with tire cleaner/polish to replace the plastic spats. At the venue there was a long staircase that Santa would come down to enter the party. I stood at the top of the stairs. Gave a hearty Ho, Ho, Ho and descended. When I reached the bottom, I was immediately surrounded by children. One little guy put the teddy bear hug on my leg and had to be pried off by dad.

When I was departing I had him in my arms and asked if he wanted to come with me to the North Pole. A rookie mistake because of course he did and was most upset when he learned that Santa really didn’t mean it. I was hooked. Patti is an excellent seamstress and she made me a Victorian Santa suit the following year and encouraged me to develop my character and get an agent. Sound advice. Based on a Santa from a Judi Jensen painting, Patti then made me a Woodland Santa outfit. It is very unique and almost always when I ask a client which suit they would like me in the Woodland Santa is it."

jerry

ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus?
Jerry: "ClausNet. I discovered it almost immediately soon after saying yes to the boss ‘I will be Santa’. A fantastic resource I had found. So much sound advice and members of the community sharing information. On ClausNet I learned that there were schools and I attended one of Santa Tim’s school in Portland, OR. In recent years I have learned much from Robert Seutter, aka Santa True. NORPAC our local Santa organization have brought him to the Northwest twice and we have all learned a lot. Many of the founding members of NORPAC have been influences in my portrayal also."

jerry

ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa Claus?
Jerry: "Receiving the unconditional love from children. I find it a true expression of Grace."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy the LEAST about being Santa Claus?
Jerry: "Being away from home during the Christmas season and the cold I seem to have been putting off for weeks laying me out for the week following Christmas."

jerry

ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit?
Jerry: "Domestic Violence Shelter on Christmas Eve. The joy and love from children who, worried that Santa wouldn’t know where they were on Christmas Eve and Mothers overcome with emotion seeing their children so filled with cheer and joy provided by Santa. I wasn’t ready for the love given and received by Santa that evening. It was a real tearjerker."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig?
Jerry: "I truly enjoy my time in portrait photographers’ studios. I’m very fortunate to work with some amazing folks who their sessions special. I really enjoy putting the magic in a picture. A smile that is not generated by someone saying, ‘say cheese’. Seeing the same children and family’s year after and sharing the joy of Christmas with them. For a few years I worked for an outfit in Dublin as their Skype Santa. Was a great opportunity. Bedtime in Ireland is morning on the West Coast. It was so much fun looking into the Irish homes as the children had a visit with Santa."

ClausNet: What is your dream gig?
Jerry: "As Santa, raise the 12th Man flag at the start of a Seattle Seahawks home game."

jerry

ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa?
Jerry: "I recently joined Toastmasters. I have found that it is a great way to develop and practice backstory with an appreciative audience. Members enjoy it and their evaluations help to fine tune my portrayal of Santa. I also joined a writers group where I’m working on writing about my experiences while in character. I teach guitar classes from time to time. We retired to a 2 and half acre spot in the country a couple years ago and there is always something that needs tending."

ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests?
Jerry: "I’m a member of a plein air painters group working with watercolor and acrylics. I enjoy playing the blues on acoustic and electric guitar. I play from time to time in a jam band at a local wine bar. Patti and I enjoy international travel also. Greece being one of our favorite locations."

jerry

ClausNet: What is your favorite color?
Jerry: "Toreador Red."

ClausNet: What is your favorite food?
Jerry: " Greek, Italian, and some Japanese."

ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi?
Jerry: "Pepsi."

ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie?
Jerry: "Russian Tea Cake. My mom called them Russian Rocks."

ClausNet: What is your favorite movie?
Jerry: "I don’t have one. I have never developed an interest. I think ADHD as a child I never had the attention span to sit thru a complete movie and when older Sleep Apnea put me asleep as soon as the theater went dark. In the past year I have enjoyed the movies about Elton John and Eddie Mercury."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
Jerry: "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. I even have the T-shirt."

ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Jerry: "The First Noel."

ClausNet: What was the last book that you read?
Jerry: "Ken Follett, ‘Winter Of The World’. Presently listening to ‘Edge of Eternity’ on CD as I go about my seasonal rounds."

jerry

ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Jerry: "I did a tally the other day. I have received pay for my services or labor from 27 different sources since the paper route which was first. Most of my working life I was happy doing what I was doing and didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about how green the grass might have been on the other side of the fence. Growing up I wanted to be a National Park Ranger. Liked the uniform."

ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt?
Jerry: "Changing light bulbs on the top of radio towers. I am glad that there is someone that will go up and do it. Would be a real catastrophe to run into a dark tower on Christmas Eve."

ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child?
Jerry: "Lionel train, Lincoln logs, BB gun."

ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up?
Jerry: "Making the trip from our home in Port Townsend, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula (requiring two ferry rides at the time) to Seattle where the ‘real’ Santa was holding reign at the big Bon Marche Department Store. In Port Townsend the Santa an easily identifiable fake beard, black plastic spates over his shoes, and usually had the odor of cigarettes and or liquor. There was magic in Seattle at the department store."

jerry

ClausNet: What is the hardest question you have gotten as Santa Claus and what was your response?
Jerry: "The questions asking for healing from serious health issues or the return of a parent from service or incarceration are always hard. I try and answer with understanding, compassion and love."

ClausNet: What is the strangest request you have gotten as Santa Claus?
Jerry: "As I made my way thru a busy downtown crowd to present the ring for a marriage proposal, I was asked, ”Santa, please a pimp who doesn’t beat me”. And once in the grocery store, while out of character, a young woman came up and whispered in my ear, ‘Santa I would like a fireman’."

ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet?
Jerry: "Google Search for resources when I was starting out."

ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet?
Jerry: "The open sharing of experiences and knowledge. I tell Santas I mentor that one of the first things you should do is join ClausNet. There you will find answers to your questions and where to find anything you might need. I tell them that if they have a question regarding anything, post it up and there will be answers almost instantaneously!"

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?
Jerry: "From the start, I have been inspired by the ClausNet community. Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and contributors who have been so gracious and warm sharing their experiences, advice, and knowledge. I have learned much from them. From Santa Ron Kearns, a founding member of ClausNet, I have learned much about the ‘reason for the season’."

ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus?
Jerry: "As you start your path, always try and remember that your smile and direct eye contact with a child are your greatest assets. The fancy suit, latest accessories, fantastic magic tricks, etc., are not what it’s about. When a child looks you back in your eyes and they can feel that ‘Santa cares and he is listening to me’ that is bringing."

ClausNet: Anything else you would like to add?
Jerry: "Thank you Michael Rielly and everyone associated with ClausNet for this recognition. I am honored to be joining the ranks of ClausNet Member of the Month club. I would encourage others to become active in their area or regional Christmas Performers group(s). Offer to be a mentor if you can. I have found it is a very rewarding activity. As you plan for the new year try and pick one thing each month to work on that will improve your portrayal of Santa. Strong backstory is important. Pick a subject for a month and work on it. Happy New Year to one and all. I’m wishing that the year 2020 is your best ever!"

Thank you Jerry! Everyone, please join me in congratulating Jerry Nebel, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for January 2020!

jerry

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David Dixon

Congratulations!!!

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Black Hills Santa

Congratulations

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Drosselmeyer

Congratulation Sir !!   very much enjoyed reading your story . . .

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Felix Estridge

Read this earlier this morning while Mike was putting it together for release.  I've had the distinct pleasure of meeting you and spending a little time with you in person.  Your story is no less as distinct a pleasure.

Congratulations and welcome to the MOTM Club!

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Santa Ed K

Congratulations Jerry.

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Santa Johnny Boy

Congratulations, Santa Jerry, on a well deserved honor!

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Santa Bill Reiller
Posted (edited)

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

Edited by Santa Bill Reiller
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Tommy

Congratulations, Sir!!!  Wonderful interview!!!

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TamaleClaus

Congratulations on the honor,  enjoyed reading more about you and your long history of growth.

 

 

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Santa Bruce Geron

Congratualtions.jpg.abd43a368e16926947c862f7b2429be1.jpg

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Santa Mike IN

Congratulations!

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SantaJerryG

Congratulations and a delightful read. Thank you Santa Jerry

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SCSanta

Congratulations! Welcome to the MOtM Club!

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Eileen Strom

:congrats:

Even tho we have spoken a couple of times, it is always nice to learn more about everyone's back story.

Welcome to the club!

 

 

 

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Jerry Nebel

Thank you one and all for your kind words. It is a great honor to receive this recognition at the start of a new decade. 

Happy New Year 

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bllwnkl
Posted (edited)

I love to read these and have enjoyed every one. Congratulations Santa Jerry and from what I can tell, a well deserved honor!

Edited by bllwnkl
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magicsantaphil

Congratulations!!!

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Santa Timothy SC

Congratulations ... Great read

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Santa Bill III

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

you are very inspiring.

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