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Michael Rielly

Featured Member of the Month - June 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 June 2020 is Santa MikeE!

Santa MikeE
Featured ClausNet Member – June 2020

“MikeE”

“MikeE”

Profile: Santa MikeE
Real Name: Mike
Location: Cary, North Carolina USA
ClausNet member since: December 16, 2016
Community Reputation (as of today): 330 – Awesome!
Membership Level: Supporter
Website: MrsClausPlusSanta.com

May

We’re a little late getting this month’s interview posted. Just a few things going on lately. Anyway, our June 2020 Featured Member of the Month hails from North Carolina. Santa MikeE first donned the red suit in 2016. And it wasn’t long after that when he found our community. We caught up with Santa Mike a few weeks back and here is what he had to say...

ClausNet: How long have you been portraying Santa Claus and how did you get started?
Santa MikeE: "I eased into being Santa Claus when my beard started showing more gray than brown. For two years, beginning in 2015, I dressed up with a Christmas theme when attending my company's Christmas party. In 2016, I also dressed up in a borrowed Santa suit at my HOA's holiday event. As bad as that performance was (looking back at it), it had me hooked. I sought out resources, which included ClausNet, as well as the local Santa Claus community. By the Fall of 2017, my Claus attire and my Santa performance skills had improved markedly. I have continued to hone my skills in the years since, and I look forward to my fourth year in the big chair with excitement!"

ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus?
Santa MikeE: "Since I became an adult, Santa Claus was someone who I saw as a character in Christmas movies. Some of these were better than others, of course, but I remember a number as being important definitions of the Santa Claus character. Miracle on 34th Street taught me that Santa is more than just bringing presents. The Santa Clause showed me that anyone could become Santa, and that in becoming Santa, they could become a better person. A number of books describing the "true story of Santa Claus" have also given me ideas of what Santa should be."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa Claus?
Santa MikeE: "The most fun thing about being Santa Claus is interacting with the children. Being able to sing a song, tell a story, or answer questions, and getting the little ones excited and wanting to interact is the most fun. Perhaps even more enjoyable is getting the little ones, say around 3 years old, to overcome their fear and shyness through interaction. We don't always have the time that it takes to do this in a busy setting, but when we can, it's worth the effort."

ClausNet: What do you enjoy the LEAST about being Santa Claus?
Santa MikeE: "Dead time. I have had some gigs in a commercial setting where the flow of children was not continuous. Short breaks between visits is fine, and it allows me to take more time with each child. But when there is no traffic for prolonged periods (hours?), it is a waste of Santa's time, and the client's fee."

“MikeE”

ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit?
Santa MikeE: "This last Christmas season, we had a visit to a rural community gathering, held in a converted barn - one of those places that caters to weddings and parties. We had on the order of 50 children in attendance, and when Mrs. Claus and I entered, singing as we came in as we usually do, the entire group of children joined us in song! As we continued through our routine, telling stories and singing songs, the entire group participated as much as they were able. I have never been so delighted by a group of youngsters before, and hope to see more like them in the future."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig?
Santa MikeE: "About half of my events are home visits, with many of the remainder being community events, either neighborhood gatherings, or organizational parties. Although I enjoy most of them, I must say that the best are the ones that there are enough children to generate the excitement that Santa Claus should engender. Two or three isn't enough. Half a dozen is a bare minimum, and between 15 and 50 is ideal, where you have enough time to interact with each, and the more extroverted children can keep the flow of merriment going while Santa and Mrs. Claus pause to take a breath. Much more than 50 is tough. I've done public events where the attendance was in the hundreds, and there just isn't time to do the children justice."

ClausNet: What is your dream gig?
Santa MikeE: "One event that we've had for three years running is a large HOA that has us doing seven or eight shows for groups of young ones from the community, That's a fun gig, although the way it is ran doesn't allow as much interaction with the children as I would like. My ideal gig would be something like it, where Mrs. Claus and I got to do a set performance for different groups, with enough time for individual interactions. This would allow us to hone our presentation, while letting us ad-lib as need to fit the group, and really play up being Santa and Mrs. Claus."

ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa?
Santa MikeE: "I realize that I am still young for a Santa, To keep the lights on during the off season, I work in the IT industry as a Quality Assurance Software Tester. I try to find bugs before they get to customers."

“MikeE”

ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests?
Santa MikeE: "My big activities outside of work include Toastmasters. Online, in this day of COVID-19 and working in my backyard garden."

ClausNet: What is your favorite color?
Santa MikeE: "Gold (Yellow), with Green as a close second."

ClausNet: What is your favorite food?
Santa MikeE: "Besides the stock answers about a See-Food diet, and Santa like's cookies, I have to admit to a fondness for a particular recipe for Parmesan roasted Brussels Sprouts as a side to a chicken or beef dish."

“MikeE”

ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi?
Santa MikeE: "Dr. Pepper, if I have soda at all, which I try to avoid."

ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie?
Santa MikeE: "The round ones. That aside, I love peanut butter cookies and oatmeal raisin. I don't have any cookies that I really hate, but I've gotten burned out on chocolate chip in its various forms from over use."

ClausNet: What is your favorite movie?
Santa MikeE: "I've gotten away from movies and TV for the last few years. My favorite movie is Empire Strikes Back of the original Star Wars trilogy."

ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
Santa MikeE: "The Santa Clause (the first one) with Tim Allen.’"

ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Santa MikeE: "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."

ClausNet: What was the last book that you read?
Santa MikeE: "I mostly read science fiction and have for decades. But in my question to improve my Santa Claus persona, I've read a number of Santa related books. Most recently, I've been re-reading Joe Moore's North Pole Chronicles, and currently have book 1, "Believe Again" sitting on the desk beside me."

ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Santa MikeE: "I concluded that my childhood desire to become an astronaut is probably not going to happen. Today, I am considering moving into Podcasting, bringing my various hobbies together to share with others."

ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt?
Santa MikeE: "Sales. Definitely not interested in selling a product (other than my own skills)."

ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child?
Santa MikeE: "Lincoln Logs, until I received a bicycle for my birthday!"

ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up?
Santa MikeE: "I remember one visit with Santa when I was five or six years old. It stands out from other visits to Santa at the malls since it was a personal visit at a school playground on a weekend. In retrospect, I suspect it was my Dad filling the part, but at that age, we don't really realize these things. What I remember best is that Santa was talking to me, not to just another youngster in a line of children."

ClausNet: What is the hardest question you have gotten as Santa Claus and what was your response?
Santa MikeE: "I am fortunately in that I haven't been hit with a request to bring back deceased relatives (yet). However, I have fielded questions regarding sick relatives, as well as requests for little brothers/sisters. My answer to this kind of question is that some things are beyond the powers of Santa Claus, and that the best that I could do was to pray for them."

ClausNet: What is the strangest request you have gotten as Santa Claus?
Santa MikeE: "I've had children ask for a variety of things for Christmas. One of the most unusual was an ask for a full-size Lamborghini. Obviously, as I told the young man, I wasn't going to be able to fit one of those in the sleigh, so I was afraid I'd not be able to fulfill his request."

ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet?
Santa MikeE: "Google."

ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet?
Santa MikeE: "ClausNet provides an open forum to ask questions, and search collected wisdom on a number of topics."

“MikeE”

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 MikeE: "Two Santa Clauses in particular have strongly influenced my character as Santa. Ron Campbell, who guided me as I was getting started, and connected me with Lou Shelton, who I still work with today as my Mrs. Claus, and Steve Gillham, who taught me many of the storytelling techniques that I have used successfully. Steve Gillham in particular has motivated me to be a better Santa, since his portrayal of Santa is spot on, with his mannerisms of a wise, if slightly befuddled toy maker make his character more believable."

ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus?
Santa MikeE: "Connect with other Santas. Whether this is by joining local organizations of those who portray St. Nick, attending Santa Claus schools when available, or in online venues such as ClausNet, get connected. Exchange ideas. Read books about the subject to see how others think of Santa. Do as many of these things as you can, the better to find your Santa."

Thank you Mike! Everyone, please join me in congratulating Santa MikeE, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for June 2020!

“MikeE”

  • Like 2

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TamaleClaus
Posted (edited)

Thanks for sharing.  Always enjoy reading about ones love in "Being" Santa for kids. 

Thanks for bringing a broad smile to my face.  Agree with connecting with other Santas.

Congratulations   

Edited by TamaleClaus

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Santa Ed K

Congratulations!!

 

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Felix Estridge

Great story of your journey to Santa & into him.

Congratulations & welcome to the MOTM club!

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David Dixon

Congratulations!!

 

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Santa Mike IN

Congratulations!

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Santa Timothy SC

Congratulations ... 

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Santa Bruce Geron

Congratulations, Mike! I especially loved your photos in the posting.

Congratualtions.jpg.abd43a368e16926947c862f7b2429be1.jpg

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SCSanta

Congratulations! Enjoyed the interview and learning more about you...

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Santa Bill III

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

I really enjoyed your stories and getting to know about you.

Welcome to the club.

Keep enjoying what you do.

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Tommy

Congratulations!!!

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Santa Bill Reiller

:congrats:    Welcome to the MOTM Club!!!   Great interview.

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bllwnkl

Nice read. I enjoy reading these. Welcome to the MOTM club!

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Drosselmeyer

Thank you for sharing your story !    Congratulations !!   63jlhk8jqvzvw2bl9k4q.gif

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Eileen Strom

:congrats:

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Big-Un

Congratulations to another resident of the "Tar Heel" state! Maybe we'll run into each other when I'm visiting my daughter and her husband in Cary. Also, I see you have a chair very similar to mine. A great prop for pictures and kids interaction.

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Black Hills Santa

Congratulations! What a wonderful read! 

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Santa Johnny Boy

Congratulations, Santa Mike E, on a well deserved honor!

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