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  1. 13 points
    Last year, my daughter and grandson called to invite me to join them for a local Christmas parade in their town. This town really knows how to celebrate Christmas! Even though I am a real bearded Santa, I still went and we had a great time watching all the wonderful floats go by, decorated with lights and tinsel and all manner of design. But when Santa and his sleigh came by, Santa just sat there, nary a wave, barely a smile. Then recently, I was paging through a talent agency website looking at various Santas represented by that agency. I’ve got to say, there are a quite a few of us I would not hire if I was looking for someone to appear at my party. I’ve been a Santa now for 10 years and every year have worked hard to improve my appearance and talents. I was a commercial photographer for 37 years before I retired. In that job, I not only had to learn to use a camera and design a photograph, but since I also worked with models (often amateurs), I had to learn how to direct them to get the best shot. When I photographed someone in a shot that demanded a mood of ‘excitement’, I studied what other artists and photographers had done to show that. I directed and worked with the models to get gestures and moods and expressions like happiness, joy, sadness, depression, anger and so on from them. I was prepared for what looks I needed to inspire when I walked into my studio or on set. And over time, it became second nature to me to coax various expressions from my models to even get images that were not planned but still became great shots. I use those skills I learned as a photographer and director. As Santas, we too need to do this. We need to look at what photographers and models have done with expression to get such wonderful shots. And I don’t mean just Santas photos either. The best sources I have had through the years was Lucille Ball and Dick Van Dyke. These two actors had rubber faces and knew how to engage their audiences. They could instantly transform their faces and gestures from that of someone who was being sneaky to one of laughter to embarrassment. I encourage you to create a file of fabulous faces and practice them in the mirror yourself! Think through the kind of engagements you have had with children and what great expression would have made the visit for them AND the picture even greater! Of particular note, practice and learn facial expressions such as joy, surprise, a great laugh, empathy, and even sadness and compassion. Learn them and use them regularly even in the off season. It isn’t just about facial expression either. Learn to use your hands and gestures to further enhance your look! Again, watch what the great pros have done. Perhaps most important is pay close attention to your visitor and learn to give a great Santa expression that meets the situation. I’ve learned to do that even when I am in the same chair for 5 to 8 hours visiting with hundreds of children. I even tell my photographers to be ready to shoot because the interactions come fast. I want those parents to leave with a picture of Santa and their child that they will really cherish and say, “That was the best Santa we ever had!” Now I realize that facial expressions and gestures are not really the ultimate goal. The real goal is to fully engage with the child or visitor if even for just a minute. Several years ago, I had an 11 year old girl come to visit me. She was a delight in every way: beautiful and bubbly and every bit engaging. She wore an absolutely beautiful Christmas dress of red velvet and white fur. We talked for a couple minutes. I complimented her on her beauty and dress and she told me how she was doing and what she wanted for Christmas. Mom took several pictures with her camera of us just talking and my reactions to what her daughter was telling me (surprise, joy and happiness and laughter…). A few days later, Mom came back by the set to get my email so she could send me some of her pictures (she loved them!). As I gave it to her, she was telling me more about her daughter and I learned her daughter was dying of leukemia. I didn’t have to put on a expression at that point. It was truly there. A couple of days before Christmas, Mom and Dad brought their daughter to visit with me again. I recognized her immediately. We had a delightful time together that time as well. But I believe what brought her back was her first visit with Santa. I had made the first visit such a delightful time and Mom had taken so many fun pictures that this time, they wanted the whole family photographed with Santa. This past year, I have been mentoring a man who decided to become a Santa. He is a great fellow and our friendship has deepened significantly. He has a truly great chuckle and very white hair and long beard. He has spent a small fortune having a custom suit, belt, buckle, boots and such made. All well and good. The man who becomes Santa is all about giving of himself to bless those who come to him. My friend will make a great Santa! All things considered, it isn’t the suit, it’s the man!
  2. 12 points
    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 March 2019 is Drosselmeyer! Drosselmeyer Featured ClausNet Member – March 2019 Profile: Drosselmeyer Real Name: Doug (“db”) Location: Wilmington, Delaware USA ClausNet member since: May 29, 2018 Community Reputation (as of today): 1858 – Darn near Santa himself! Facebook: The Father Christmas Archive March’s Featured Member of the Month joined us only last year, but he hasn’t wasted any time jumping feet first into the community. Santa Doug, aka Drosselmeyer, Joined us in May 2018 and has been a key contributor ever since. We caught up with Santa Doug 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? Drosselmeyer: "As much as she hates to admit it, it is all my wife's fault! She called me one afternoon when we were dating - I think 1996 or 1997 - and told me that she had volunteered me to be Santa for her company's children's Christmas party. They had a musty old corduroy suit and a really awful beard, but over 100 kids were there (or so it seemed) and we had a lot of fun. I was hooked! I did that party for the next several years. I also ended up doing some visits for friends, and also for the local Longaberger Christmas events. My mother made me my first real suit. For several years I just did it as a thing for friends and family - primarily our annual Christmas party. My son didn't know it was me until he was 10! Of course, he is now my trusty reindeer herder. When I went to sign up to join the local fire company, the interviewer looked at me and said: "Well, you have a beard, and we need a Santa with a beard, welcome to the team, you are our new Santa." The next year my wife got a call from a friend who did events for the local radio station, and the next thing I knew I was Father Christmas at the Old-Fashioned Christmas at the local DuPont estate! This year just went off the rails. I was asked to be Santa for the historic steam railroad up in Lancaster, and then also got called to do breakfast with Santa at the nearby conservatory and gardens in Kennett. I am already getting calls for this season. It just keeps going!" ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus? Drosselmeyer: "I like to draw from a lot of different sources. I have found costume or accessory inspiration in some pretty random places. I like the Sundblom Santa, but that style just doesn't fit my personality. I have always seen Santa as a little more rustic and active, I like the old-European style Father Christmas. I appreciated the workshop Santa costume of George Buza, and Kurt Russell certainly had a different take on the look. As for character - my all-time favorite Santa is by Douglas Seale - for me he expressed the passion and love that defines who Santa is." ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa Claus? Drosselmeyer: "I get to make people happy. Younglings get excited, but even the older children's eyes will light up when Santa comes by to have some fun. You can have a positive impact on so many people. I can think of a couple little boys who yelled up to me on the firetruck and asked me if I would dab. I did. They went wild. ‘Santa really did it - that is so cool!’ I also remember a few times on the train when I would ask a child if Grandpop was being good - almost always they would giggle and say no - at which point I would excuse myself and step to the back of the car and get a lump of coal out of the scuttle and bring it up and give it to Grandpa and tell him to try harder - the kids would just explode. I had one Grandpop chase me down the car and thank me profusely for the lump of coal - he really meant it. Just being a little spontaneous and meeting people where they are and helping to make them happy is a wonderful thing." ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit? Drosselmeyer: "I can think of two visits that really made an impact. The first was for a friend whose daughter had just had hip surgery. She was stuck at home in a wheelchair and couldn't go out. Mom and Dad left a few things on the front porch for Santa to slide into his sack. I hadn't shaved in a few weeks, and didn't feel like it that day, so I just brushed clown white into my short beard. We showed up on a bleary Saturday afternoon. I think her eyes almost popped out. I got to sit with her, and she just kept talking - telling me about her hip, and how her sister was silly, and how her brother was a pain, and what she wanted for Christmas - she just kept talking. At one point she reached up and touched my beard and said: ‘it's real - you really are Santa!’ I am happy to say she did get better, and I have not been clean shaven since. The other visit was later that same year. My parents live just down the street from us, and my Mom had a 50th reunion Christmas party for her high school class. She asked if Santa could make an appearance. I stopped by and just kind of worked my way around the rooms having fun with everyone. My Mom noted one lady who was sitting back in the corner - she had MS and was having a hard time getting around. I went over and sat next to her and spent some time with her and she just lit up. My Mom told me later that she was just giddy - not that ‘your son’ or ‘that guy’ came over, but that Santa came to sit with her. The fact that I went to her made all the difference. It doesn't take a lot to make someone." ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig? Drosselmeyer: "I don't think I could name a favorite. It's hard to beat standing on top of a firetruck running lights and sirens waving to everyone but riding on a steam train is pretty awesome too. We have also been able to do some special breakfasts with Santa at a few of the local DuPont estates, and the tea parties with the Princesses is a blast! Appearing at the theater this past year in tandem with the Elf, Jr. production was over the top! I do enjoy the venues I can go to with my wife - it's always nice to have Mrs. Claus by my side." ClausNet: What is your dream gig? Drosselmeyer: "I have already been blessed with a lot of fun options - but if I had unlimited funds and opportunity I would like to get a farm where I had space. Maybe a few reindeer. Now I'm starting to sound like a Hallmark movie! My wife and I enjoy entertaining and having a place like that to decorate and have folks in over the holidays would be great! Just imagine a big country barn all lit up and folks going for sleigh rides and warming up by a bonfire." ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa? Drosselmeyer: "I am a Chiropractic Physician and Licensed Acupuncturist. In addition to my practice I serve on a few professional boards. I am also the DE delegate for the American Chiropractic Association. I usually clock about 60 hours on my normal work week, so that tends to keep me out of trouble." ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests? Drosselmeyer: "I have a bad habit of getting involved. I am all over the place. I pursued my EMT, but with the beard I don't get to ride so I serve as Chaplain for the fire station. I also head up the security team at my church. I usually help out teaching the children's karate classes on the weekends. My wife and I just auditioned for roles in Mary Poppins, and will be filling a few character roles in that production in two months." ClausNet: What is your favorite color? Drosselmeyer: "I'm usually in the Johnny Cash black category." ClausNet: What is your favorite food? Drosselmeyer: "Fried chicken. Ham steak. Scalloped potatoes. Pecan pie. Rocky Road ice cream." ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi? Drosselmeyer: "Sweet tea." ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie? Drosselmeyer: "Chocolate Chip - crunchy cookie - soft chunky chips." ClausNet: What is your favorite movie? Drosselmeyer: "I like westerns, so Dances with Wolves, Tomstone, or Lonesome Dove." ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Drosselmeyer: "That's easy! Ernest Saves Christmas! Hands down one of the best Christmas movies ever. Yes, it's Ernest and he's totally goofy, but I am challenged by the way Douglas Seale presents a devotion to what Christmas is - what it needs to be. From the customs agent, to the business man, to the children in the airport he is recognized maybe not directly as Santa, but as someone special. Just by being in jail Santa is able to get all the other inmates to promise to be good. His replacement is so concerned for children that he can't say bad words - not because the kids haven't heard them before - but because they have never heard him say them before. Even Ernest has a Keep Christ in Christmas bumper sticker in his car. At face value it's just a goofy Ernest movie, but there is definitely some Christmas magic, a little bit of faith, a little bit of whole lot of Christmas feel good." ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song? Drosselmeyer: "Christmas music has been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. My Dad's father had an extensive collection of Christmas music, and my Dad would always start playing some albums by the start of the school year. So, Christmas music is hard-wired in my brain. I listen to it almost all year round. We have well over 2000 Christmas tracks in the iTunes library! There are way too may songs at the top of my list: Hallelujah Chorus by the original Young Messiah, Cowboy's Rocky Mountain Christmas or Merry Christmas Mary by the Flying W Wranglers, Home for Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman to name just a few. But David Phelps did a track called Joy, Joy - which my son also performed at church - right now that is at the top of my playlist." ClausNet: What was the last book that you read? Drosselmeyer: "This Life I Live by Rory Feek and The Immortal Nicholas by Glenn Beck." ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Drosselmeyer: "If I could, I would love to ride off into the sunset. To be a working cowboy in the old western tradition." ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt? Drosselmeyer: "Bank teller in Alaska - everyone is wearing ski masks! But seriously, I couldn't do a cubicle desk job - my brain fogs over. I need to be up and active. To be stuck in front of a monitor in a little box would drive me insane." ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child? Drosselmeyer: "I had GI Joe - the real one with the action grip - and Action Jim. I always played with Hot Wheels. Of course, I had Legos and Micronauts too. When I was young, we lived in southern Texas near the Louisiana border. When it rained our yard would always flood and we had thousands of little marsh frogs appear - those were also a lot of fun to play with - although my mom didn't find them nearly as interesting as I did." ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up? Drosselmeyer: "I was the oldest grandchild by almost 10 years, so I was in on the magic for the younger cousins. I can remember my grandfather putting on a beard and going out in the yard and knocking on the windows to surprise my cousins on Christmas. I don't remember if he ever did it with me, but I do remember him coming in after his outing just smiling and laughing to himself. All my cousins would run to him and ask if he had seen Santa outside. He would say ‘No. Of course not. Was he here?’, and they would tell him how they just saw Santa out in the yard waving to them. He would just smile and look at me and wink - I was in on his special secret and that made me feel pretty good too." ClausNet: What is the hardest question you have gotten as Santa Claus and what was your response? Drosselmeyer: "This last year I had a boy at the fire house ask me for a new washer and dryer for his parents - that was all he wanted. That one caught me off guard and his mom or dad wasn't there to give me any input. I think I said something to the effect of ‘my goodness - how will I fit that in the sleigh?' and then tried to redirect to him, but as quickly he shared his request he jumped up and ran off before we had a chance to talk more. I didn't see him again that whole." ClausNet: What is the strangest request you've gotten as Santa Claus? Drosselmeyer: "I had a boy ask me for a parachute this past year - no explanation - he just wanted a parachute." ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet? Drosselmeyer: "I seem to have existed in a Santa vacuum for a long time. It just never occurred to me to look for Santa stuff online until about two years ago when I met a friend at a neighboring fire station who told me about going to Santa school. I had no idea there was such a thing. As I went online and started looking, a whole new world opened up to me. There were Santa schools. There were resources and books. There was a Santa Claus Oath! I had no idea all that was out there! In that process I found ClausNet - and I am glad I did!" ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet? Drosselmeyer: "That's another question that limits the answer. There is an awful lot to like about ClausNet. I have made some great friends and great contacts. I was given good advice about how get ready for Santa school. I have found great information on how to answer many of the questions that kids ask Santa while on his lap. I have learned a lot - and am still learning. Did you know there was a whole thread on how to make paper snowflakes? That was fantastic! The more you take time and wander around the more you find! There is an awful lot in the archives! If you ask a question you get a lot of good insight from others who have already dealt with your situation and have insight - that is powerful. And there isn't a rivalry - everyone is here to help each other and promote a positive image of Santa. Another wonderful thing is that the members support and encourage each other - they will share concerns and requests and pray for each other! I don't think I have ever found that in any other group I have been involved with - there is a tangible level of brotherhood here that makes you part of the family. Of course, there is an amount of friendly antagonism - I am guilty of that - but I have made some good friends and enjoy the banter. It’s nice to slip back to my desk from time to time during my work day and take a minute or two and pop on the site, even just to ‘Count to a Million.’ I appreciate that ClausNet is here - I don't think I would be where I am today without what I have gained from this site." 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? Drosselmeyer: "I can't answer that question. If I tried, I would end up leaving someone out - not because I meant to, but because there are too many great Santa's out there. As soon as I joined ClausNet, Schwindy reached out to me. Felix Estridge offered me some great advice on how to approach going to CWH as a newbie, and then also offered to help me with beard whitening. Duane Cooper and his wife befriended me at CWH. Bruce Geron took me under his wing and encouraged me to get singing again. Jerry Owens also took time to share with me a lot of history about the Oath (and how to properly carry my pocket watch!) Eileen Strom has been very patient and helpful with several projects. Michael Rielly gave me good advice on how to incorporate Santa into the ministry. Of course, I have to give due credit to my wife Dawn, without her volunteering me way back when I wouldn't be here now. I could keep going. There are an awful lot of good folks who are genuinely interested in helping others grow in their portrayal. I am thankful to you all." ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus? Drosselmeyer: "Be patient. Breathe. Have fun. It's going to be OK. If you are approaching your Santa from a foundation of love and joy, you will be fine. We all make mistakes, and we all learn from them. That's OK. There are a lot of very talented and experienced Santas and Mrs. Clauses who are more than willing to shepherd you and help you grow in your character and portrayal. Constructive criticism is not bad - accept it and learn from it. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop caring - that is what makes wearing the red suit special." ClausNet: Anything else you would like to add? Drosselmeyer: "I think I have babbled on quite long enough. But I would like to say thank you for ClausNet. It has been a source of inspiration and a breath of fresh air. I would not be where I am today on my Santa Journey without this site and you my friends. I will not ever be able to pay you back, but will do my best to pay it forward." Thank you Doug! Everyone, please join me in congratulating Drosselmeyer, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for March 2019!
  3. 12 points
    What you'll hear from me on this issue... Crickets
  4. 11 points
    U.S. Postal Service to Issue Classic Santa Stamps this Christmas Art Features Images from 1950s Coca-Cola Ads PRNewswie-USNewswire June 26, 2018 EXCERPT: It's beginning to look like a classic Christmas! This October, the Postal Service will ring in the 2018 holiday season with four Sparkling Holidays stamps featuring character-rich close-ups of Santa Claus. The Santa images are from Haddon Sundblom paintings created for The Coca-Cola Company holiday advertisements that ran from the 1940s through the early 1960s. Sundblom, a famed commercial artist, depicted a rosy-cheeked, smiling, grandfatherly man in a red suit that came to embody the very essence of "Santa." The Sparkling Holidays stamps will be issued as Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Additional details will be announced before the stamps' release. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. SOURCE: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-postal-service-to-issue-classic-santa-stamps-this-christmas-300672388.html
  5. 10 points
    The issue with the "I don't do that" thing was just another item that this Santa was misrepresenting on purpose for these 2 children. Do you not all remember that at the end of the night when he dropped them off when he made the sleigh fly after giving Teddy his hat to keep? When Teddy asked Santa how he would be able to get around without his magic hat, Santa's reply was, "I'm Santa," and he made the sleigh fly by just holding his hands up. To me, that night was all about Teddy. I took it that the entire point of the night was to get Teddy back on the straight and narrow after his father had passed given the path he was already on. So Santa told some fibs & had an "accident" to help mold Teddy back into what he should be by Teddy & his sister thinking that Santa needed their help that night. When he took off in the sleigh and came back around down their street, he left with a loud, "Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!" which was the ONLY time he did it that entire night with them.
  6. 9 points
    It wasn’t a deliberate decision, but for the past two years I’ve been on Santa sabbatical. It’s felt a little weird, especially this year; kind of like the feeling an active church-goer gets when they’ve missed worship for a few Sundays. It’s like the rest of the week feels a little off when you’ve missed church. Stress has been a factor, along with my wife’s health struggles, and a recent transition from care center chaplaincy to serving a new church in a new town. I did some of my best “Santa-ing” at the care center, but also felt the biggest push-back I’ve ever experienced, from people whose strongly-held religious beliefs had convinced them that Santa was an inappropriate person to appear there (and that a pastor-type person had no business portraying him). There’s a lot more tolerance at my new setting, and health concerns aren’t nearly as big as they’ve been. So let’s raise a toast to the New Year, 2019, with the hope that it’s going to be a great year for all us Jolly Old Elves, Mrs. Clauses, elves and reindeer! Peace! Health! Love! Santa Dan
  7. 9 points
    I absolutely loved the movie. Maybe not my all-time favorite Christmas movie, but definitely near the top. I loved Kurt Russell's take on Santa. The coat was very close to what I originally planned (attempted & so far failed) to make for my outfit. As far as "I don't HO HO HO, that is a myth!" I just took that as the writer's way of saying: get ready-- this is NOT the Santa you think you know! I also may steal the line - I agree - HO HO HO never sounds genuine. But seeing Santa as a man of action, with style and attitude, and more than a little mischievous...HECK YEAH! The movie certainly wasn't perfect. I, too, hated the elves...but, I get it. It's a family movie. They had adult dialogue; stuff for the teens, tweens, and YA crowd, and hey - it's about Santa! They had to get something in there for the little ones. Familiar enough, yet different enough, to hold their attention (and probably market some toys, too). I don't have any little ones in my household right now, so I don't know if it worked; but I get it. The "big fight scene" in the chop-shop was ridiculous as well - that scene flopped, IMO. But there was so much that did work! The characters were relateable (ok - in a Hallmark movie kind of way). The chase scene, restaurant, police interrogation scene, etc. were genuinely fun. And the unexpected musical in the holding cell? That is now one of my all-time fave scenes in any movie, ever! Was the plot sappy, predictable, hackneyed; and did it over-do the pulling at the heart-strings? Sure - but isn't that de rigueur for Christmas movies, anyway? The big question though - did it work? And I gotta say: Yeah, it worked. It managed to warm this crusty ol' cynics heart a little and wake the Christmas spirit up. Can't wait for it to come out on disc - this one is going in my collection
  8. 8 points
    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 April 2019 is Santa Dan! Santa Dan Featured ClausNet Member – April 2019 Profile: Santa Dan Real Name: Daniel Location: La Porte, Indiana USA ClausNet member since: December 5, 2017 Community Reputation (as of today): 199 – Excellent! Facebook: Santa Claus of New Carlisle Our Featured Member of the Month for April was chosen by our members. When we asked the community for suggestions on Member of the Month, several members contacted us and suggested Santa Dan. Dan is from the great State of Indiana. And he first put on the red suit 25 years ago. We caught up with Dan 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 Dan: "It has now been 25 years since I first wore my “Red Suit”. I was having a hard time dealing with some issues while in the military. I was leaving the Commander’s Office for the second time in a week when my First Sergeant turned to me and asked if I would be interested in being Santa for the base Christmas party for the children on Kadena Air Base in Japan. I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea. I have had developed anger issues I couldn’t get rid of and being around children hanging on me, it would end badly I told him. He kept asking me until he came up one day and pointed to this arm and asked how many stripes does, he has on his shoulder and how many strips do I have (a clear reference that he out ranked me). He said he would ask me one more time… I decided to volunteer. I remember being in the felt (yes, actual stiff felt for art projects) ”suit” as I was being driven to the event and thinking this was so ridiculous. Everything changed when I walked through the double doors and saw that everyone there (adults and children) had a look of excitement, happiness and a pure joy. Here I was in a stiff fabric costume with a cotton ball beard and everyone was allowing themselves to believe and enjoy the moment. After that event, I ordered a suit from Sears I believe and have used it every year. I bought two suits this year but still wore the original for part of an event because it has been like a friend to me. A friend that has shown me how to allow myself to feel more than just the grayness and anger I lived with for 3 years. Being Santa was as huge for me than it was for the people I met wearing this magical suit." ClausNet: What or who are your influences on your portrayal of Santa Claus? Santa Dan: "I was kind of thrown into this by circumstances out of my control. I didn’t really think of using someone as an influence. I just wanted to touch the people I met in the most loving way I could. I have always loved Santa from the Miracle on 34th street. He had this quality about him as playful and almost childlike but still had an inner strength that came across with the feeling you know he had everything in control, even when it didn’t look like events were controllable. I can say now that I look to many of you on this board and enjoy reading the past topics and posts. I have also enjoyed the Professional Santa Claus podcasts. It brought many of you to life as I could hear the passion and drives on the various subjects that were talked about." ClausNet: What do you enjoy most about being Santa Claus? Santa Dan: "Making a difference in this world. I don’t know any other way to affect so many lives in a positive way and to be blessed to take part in the positive memories of families is so humbling. Families will be talking about a photo, video or experience they had with Santa for years! How awesome!" ClausNet: What is your most memorable visit? Santa Dan: "So many that touched my life in various ways. It could be my first event I got volunteered and discovered this wonderful path. It could also be a visit I had at a local hospital where I saw this child of maybe 4 years old that had tubes going in and out of him. He had opened his eyes just enough to see me and reached out to hold my fingers as he fell back asleep. The mother was the one I remember to most. She was tired, stressed obviously distraught. After I gave her a hug, she looked at me and made the cross symbol over her heart and asked if I was a Christian. I told her yes and she asked, through my wife’s interpretation if I would pray for him. I told her I would pray for them both. Afterwards, she was so thankful. Being Santa gave me a chance to pray for them and give her the encouragement she needed." ClausNet: Do you have a favorite gig? Santa Dan: "LOL, shortest answer to a question here; The gig where I am wearing the red suit." ClausNet: What is your dream gig? Santa Dan: "Hmmm… That’s a good question. I just truly love being wherever I am at. Being Santa at Santa Claus Indiana… Yeah… That would be amazing." ClausNet: What keeps you busy when you are not being Santa? Santa Dan: "I am working on my North Pole, developing stories for the people and my amazing reindeer. Fixing up my suits, researching what outfits I want to add along with why I want to add them. Working on basic vocal and speech exercises, etc... I have enough for several lifetimes of work and I am happy of that." ClausNet: What are your hobbies / interests? Santa Dan: "I enjoy sandblasting/etching as an art. I have also started carving into wood. Also love to go camping with my family." ClausNet: What is your favorite color? Santa Dan: "Seems to be a battle between blue and purple. I had to look in my closet and I do seem to have a lot of blue shirts. Purple I like because of how it sounds in Japanese, Murasaki (Muda-socky). I liked that word so much, I almost named my eldest son Murasaki. Murasaki Trent has such a powerful ring to it, however I thought I would be staying in Japan while raising my children and thought better of naming my child Purple Trent… One of my better choices naming him Johnathan." ClausNet: What is your favorite food? Santa Dan: "With traveling to so many parts of the world it’s hard to come up with a short list (anyone looking at me would instantly know that this guy is a lover of food. I do love some Okinawa Soba or actual Raman noodle soup! I can do some serious damage to Tacos! BBQ, southern, Northern, Eastern, Korean, Mongolian… All good. Cooked meat = meaning of life." ClausNet: Coke or Pepsi? Santa Dan: "More of an uncola guy myself. I can take or leave either choice." ClausNet: What is your favorite cookie? Santa Dan: "The one within arm’s reach or freshly baked." ClausNet: What is your favorite movie? Santa Dan: "I do not really have a standout favorite. Most of the time, a movie I like will be due to other factors such as Lord of the Rings because of my childhood friends and I made our living room into a “Movie Theater” by turning off all the lights and placing bedsheets over all the windows and ate popcorn. All of the Harry potter movies my daughter made me watch over and over until the DVDs quit working ." ClausNet: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Santa Dan: "Yes." ClausNet: What is your favorite Christmas song? Santa Dan: "Another tough question to answer. I would say Silent Night or Away in a manger. I love to sing Christmas songs. I live by the Bible verse saying, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” So glad it says nothing about singing in tune." ClausNet: What was the last book that you read? Santa Dan: "Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn – I have been enjoying this interesting take on Santa." ClausNet: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Santa Dan: "Is there a profession where I can sit by a campfire near a river and or lake doing little crafts?" ClausNet: What profession would you not like to attempt? Santa Dan: "Atom Bomb drop malfunction inspector. I remember hearing about how the scientists were studying the effects of “Atom Bomb” and how they had a guy whose job it was to go out and inspect the bomb if it didn’t drop." ClausNet: What were some of your favorite toys as a child? Santa Dan: "Erector sets that let you snap together girders to frame out your building and then had plastic rectangles that had various looks to them to finish your building. Also liked the Lincoln Logs. Always enjoyed building a town or city." ClausNet: What is your most memorable experience of Santa while growing up? Santa Dan: "I don’t have any Santa memories other than what was on TV. I do remember one year where my mother was dead tired from working that she asked me to wrap and bring the presents down. I had a red robe that I was wearing and after I brought down all the presents, I was filling the stockings with candy and some pennies I had when my youngest brother half woke up and said “Hello Santa” and drifted off to sleep again. I knew that he was going to tell the other brothers that he saw Santa and they would tease him. I went out with two chairs which I used to stand on one while moving the other in from so I could make it out to the yard and eventually made sleigh and reindeer tracks. I even took chocolate morsels and warmed them in my hands until they looked like something left behind by the reindeer. I got some big boots and left one track going to the house and leaving the house. I remember making sure each step to move the boots so that it appeared to be bigger than any boot my other brothers may try to show may have been made from someone other than Santa. I even left tracks in the kitchen with the boots and some dirt. I even made sure to cover the holes made by the chairs using a broom to smooth the area. I do tend to over think things. I youngest brother did tell the others that he saw Santa and I was right in the fact that they teased him about it. He noticed the foot prints and eventually they saw the landing and takeoff area of the Sleigh as well as a knocked over trash can (I didn’t do that) that must have been knocked over during Santa’s take off. I haven’t thought of that Christmas in many. Many years. Thank you for these questions." ClausNet: What is the hardest question you have gotten as Santa Claus and what was your response? Santa Dan: "I have been lucky to not have many questions that have been hard to answer. What did I get last year would be one that I hear the most. I get excited and ask them how they like their gifts and which one the enjoyed the most. That usually gets them to tell me and I have a follow-up question on a color or some detail I wanted to make sure was the right one and they are happy." ClausNet: What is the strangest request you've gotten as Santa Claus? Santa Dan: "I was asked to break into a house when no one was home, drop off some presents, eat a sandwich, leave the sandwich on the counter and then leave. The family was gone for the weekend and when they returned, the parents found the food on the counter and yelled at the kids for leaving food out, worried about bugs and mice, how could they leave food out, etc.… When the children state that they didn’t do it, the parents ask them “Then who did?”. Eventually they see the presents and the parents talk to each other saying that the alarm was on so how anyone can get it. Then they check the video from the house cameras (it was a real high-end home) with the children and they see Santa bringing in presents, trying to get the TV to work (my idea. LOL), make and eat a sandwich and then leave. The family loved the video and said it will be special for many years. I did enjoy this visit with no one to visit." ClausNet: How did you find ClausNet? Santa Dan: "I was looking at possibly buying another suit and found this amazing site during my web search. Didn’t buy a suit but gained many new friends and an endless supply of useful knowledge." ClausNet: And what do you like most about ClausNet? Santa Dan: "Seeing so many different ways to share joy, love and magic of Santa and his gang with others." 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 Dan: "As of right now it is a Santa Co-Op type of inspiration. All of you who have posted, commented or otherwise given of themselves on this board have been incredibly helpful to my growth and development as Santa." ClausNet: What advice can you give to a first time Santa or Mrs. Claus? Santa Dan: "It would be nice to have the best suit, the best beard and all the props you could possibly dream of. All these things will do nothing without having the heart and mindset of Santa. I have been Santa in a suit that a nice lady made from felt in that Military Arts and Craft center with cotton balls as a beard. Some could say that this was an insult to Santa and broke the realness of the great man in red. All I can say is that first, I saw Santa touch the loves of children and adults in a positive way and second, most likely it saved me from going down a dark path I may not have made it out of. You be Santa in the best way you can with all of your heart, and you will make the difference." ClausNet: Anything else you would like to add? Santa Dan: "I just want all of you to know that you are appreciated. I appreciate every thumbs up, every word of advice and every post made. All of you make this board alive. Without the interaction off all of you, this site would not be here, and I would of missed a huge chance to be a better Santa. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and know that all of you are loved! Also, Michael Rielly for President! You are amazing and truly are an inspiration to me." Thank you Dan. I'll settle for benevolent dictator. Everyone, please join me in congratulating Santa Dan, our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for April 2019!
  9. 8 points
    I can appreciate that in studying my bearded-ness they used monkeys as a control group - that is probably reasonable. and my wife too - HATES the beard - but I am stuck with it . . . . . do you understand what I would look like if I shaved ????? or even......
  10. 8 points
    Neighbors Keep Christmas Alive for California Man Who Woke From Coma NBCBayArea.com By Artie Ojeda and Monica Garske February 7, 2019 Residents of the famously festive “Christmas Card Lane” community in Rancho Penasquitos kept their holiday decorations on display to welcome neighbor Ryan Caine home from the hospital Wednesday since he missed Christmas due to illness It may already be the first week of February, but on Christmas Card Lane in San Diego's Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood, it is still Christmas – and with good reason. Each year, the homes in the famously festive community along Ellingham Drive go all out with holiday light displays and decorations. The displays typically stay up through the end of the holiday season but, this year, many residents kept their decorations up well into the New Year for one simple reason: to bring happiness to a neighbor who missed Christmas due to severe illness. On Dec. 12, 2018, Ryan Caine, 24, was rushed to a local emergency room with flu-like symptoms. He was diagnosed with pneumonia. Ryan Caine's illness quickly took a turn for the worse. His pneumonia turned septic, and he went into cardiac arrest. Ryan Caine slipped into a drug-induced coma that lasted six-and-a-half weeks. He was placed on life support, with his chance of survival meager. SOURCE: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international/Rancho-Penasquitos-Christmas-Card-Lane-Late-Holiday-Party-Ryan-Caine-505457271.html
  11. 8 points
    I haven't seen the articles, so I can't comment. My guess would be that my comments would be unprintable anyway.
  12. 8 points
  13. 8 points
    Marty -- I am sorry this has happened. I will check our logs and respond in an email to you. Everyone -- Let me be perfectly clear on this... Any attempt to hack into this site will be taken very seriously and violators will be blocked from ClausNet.com and reported to authorities. When we first launched ClausNet, we had a few instances where members were logging in using someone else’s credentials for nefarious reasons. Ten years ago, our back-end server tools for detecting this activity were not as sophisticated as they are now. Today, our server records every single device, operating system, browser, IP address, and other information when someone (or something) attempts to access this site. This includes successful and unsuccessful logins. Even with all the tools at our disposal here, I still recommend that you change your password often. I change my passwords about once a month. When creating your password, be sure to make it difficult to crack yet, easy to remember. And be sure to use different passwords for different sites. If you feel like someone may be accessing your ClausNet account, please contact me or Felix immediately. We are here to help. We can block IP address, change your password, and even your username if necessary. I have never understood why people do this. Maybe it’s because they have too much time on their hands. Or perhaps they have a poor self-image and spoofing accounts makes them feel better about themselves. I don’t know. But if a person's life revolves around hacking, spamming, or trolling, I feel sorry for them. Obviously, there is something going on in their lives that drives them to this behavior. In my opinion, anyone who does this, does not deserve the title of Santa or Mrs. Claus. As I mentioned we have taken steps to greatly reduce this crap here on ClausNet. Sadly, a lot of this is still happening on Facebook. I think you would be surprised to learn how many “Santas” and “Mrs. Clauses” you may be interacting with in the various Facebook groups are not who they appear to be. This is one of the reasons why I have stepped away from most of these groups on Facebook. With all the recent news about Facebook, it should be obvious that Facebook Group admins do not have the same level of control or the tools to monitor this activity – nor will they ever. Facebook Groups are the property of Facebook, not you. As always, if you have any issues, concerns, questions, comments, or complaints, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  14. 7 points
    I don't know if this topic has been done before. I"m not asking about Christmas specials like "The Grinch..." or "A Charlie Brown Christmas," I mean episodes of favorite television series. I have so many but right up at the top has to be the Andy Griffith holiday episode titled, "Christmas Story," which aired on December 19, 1960. This is the one where Scrooge-ish store owner, Ben Weaver, demands that Andy lock-up moonshiner, Sam Muggins, on Christmas Eve. Andy then hatches a plan to arrest Sam's wife and kids on conspiracy charges so they can spend Christmas with him in the jail. Then he brings Aunt Bee, Opie, Ellie, and Barney (who plays Santa) into the courthouse for a Christmas party. Ben’s heart is finally melted and he wants to be part of the festivities, so he tries to get himself arrested too… I won’t be a spoiler and tell the end, just in case someone hasn’t seen it.
  15. 7 points
    Bethlehem aims to upgrade Christmas decorations WFMZ News By Josh Rultenberg March 26, 2019 EXCERPT: The city of Bethlehem prides itself on being the Christmas City, but some are worried the decorations may be out of touch. The city is hosting a public meeting next week along with a consultant they've hired in preparation for a multi-year plan to reinvigorate the holiday spirit. City of Bethlehem officials say the holiday season is "a major economic driver of the city's economy." Even though they anticipate expensive renovations, they say it's worth it. "Christkindlmarkt had 89,000 people in 2017 alone," Allyson Lehr, Bethlehem's Housing & Community Development Planner, said. "We're welcoming that amount of people into the city each year. We need to make a really good first impression," she said. Officials are looking to upgrade to the overall decor and lighting over the next five years. "Which could be everything from the trees that you see on the poles to the trees that you see, the static trees around on Payrow Plaza," Lehr said. The city has contracted David Weiner Design to create a proposal. Weiner typically works with music festivals, but has experience with Christmas and large-scale installation. He's got already got some ideas on how to beautify Bethlehem. "There is something about nostalgia and something about the history of Bethlehem and its history with Christmas and Christmas decor and the way it draws people to the city that's something that we want to explore," Weiner said in a phone interview. Lehr is impressed with the designer's direction so far. "He's found historical postcards from Bethlehem, actually in a Boston library, watercolor postcards and it depicts the city at Christmas," Lehr said. "He's looking at those and seeing what elements were used and trying to draw on that." Officials are hoping Weiner can find a theme to tie in the entire city while accentuating its uniqueness. "We have very different feels on both sides of the river. This is the very traditional historic Moravian District and the south side's a little arts district, a little funkier and interesting so there's a way to have a cohesive identity through the city but yet bring out the two distinct feels," Lehr said. Lehr says the city paid for the planning study with a grant from Northampton County along with private donation and money from the general fund. The city hopes to pay for the installation of these modifications in a similar fashion.
  16. 7 points
    Kurt Russell and the Ultimate Santasy MyMerryChristmas November 25, 2018 Jeff Westover EXCERPT: There’s a new Santa in town. Everyone is talking about him. Over Thanksgiving weekend Netflix debuted their new Santa-driven Christmas film they dub, probably because they will make this a regular holiday thing, The Christmas Chronicles. In others words, it’s a story – a Christmas tale. This one is a Santa story – a fantastical, magical story as most Santa stories are. It is a Santasy. Suiting up for Santa this time is Kurt Russell. The previews for weeks have raised the eyebrows of men and set a-tingle the hearts of women. The Christmas Chronicles with this casting suddenly made this must-see family viewing. My friends and family, upon seeing the trailers, immediately asked me my opinion. They know very well my almost-sacred reverence for the Big Guy. The trailers make this Santa out to be anything but reverent. Those who know me smelled an epic rant about to pour forth on these pages. After all, I’m the guy who dissed Jim Carrey as The Grinch and Will Farrell as Buddy-the-Elf. Chill. I like Wyatt Earp as Santa. Netflix reached down deep into Santa’s bag to touch many nerves on this one for me. Kurt Russell was just the first of many right decisions. But viewer beware: there is some formulaic Christmas slop you have to wade through in The Christmas Chronicles. SOURCE: https://mymerrychristmas.com/the-christmas-chronicles/
  17. 7 points
    The 2018 Christmas Eve edition of the ClausNet Gazette is now online! Download your copy today! DOWNLOAD
  18. 7 points
    For this topic, I have verbiage that cannot be posted here. The short answer is NO to their PC BS.
  19. 7 points
    After watching the movie together, my wife wants me to let my hair and beard grow. She is convinced I would look like Kurt Russell with long hair and a beard. lol
  20. 7 points
    I saw the Christmas trees and decorations up in Walmart today, so it's just a matter of time before the Christmas Creep Complainers start in...
  21. 7 points
    As the Public Information Officer of a Fire Department in Georgia, I ask that each one of you take a moment to remember all the firefighters and police officers who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. It is a day that I will never forget and it was a time when our nation came together united as one. It didn't matter that day what the color of our skin was, or what political party that we belong to or what church you were a member of. We came together as Americans in one nation whose common purpose was love of country and our freedoms. Take a moment to remember and let us never forget!
  22. 7 points
    The following was posted on January 11, 2009 in Santa Rielly's blog, A Right Jolly Old Elf Well, it was bound to happen. Christmas 2008 will be the year I remember as the year I told my daughter that I was Santa Claus – or rather, to be exact, one of Santa Claus’s Ambassadors. I guess I should be thankful I got this far. After all, Meghan is almost 11. My son made it to 12! He only found out it was me after reading a newspaper article that mentioned my name. Back in 2006 she was wavering. I decided to see if I couldn’t get at least another year out of her. So I appeared in Meghan’s bedroom at midnight. I woke her up and handed her an American Girl Doll that she really wanted. I told her she had been doing really well in school lately and I wanted to give her something extra special for working so hard. She really wanted that particular doll and they were sold out everywhere, so handing her the doll made me feel especially like Santa Claus. I sat next to her on the bed for a while and we talked about school and her friends. After a few minutes I said that I had better be getting on my way and told her to go back to sleep. I wished her Merry Christmas and told her that I loved her. Meghan said good night and told me that she loved me too. The whole visit lasted maybe 10 minutes. But those 10 minutes got me another 2 years. Fast forward to Christmas 2008 - a few days before Christmas my daughter was looking at a few pictures. Meghan noticed that Santa Claus’s eyes are the same blue as Dad’s and that Santa Claus has a tiny birthmark on his cheek – also just like Dad. She then decides to interview (more like interrogate) everyone in the family. With a pen and notepad she starts jotting down her “clues” and after a thorough investigation, she comes to the conclusion that I must be Santa Claus. Although she cannot explain how I go from whiskers to clean shaven and back again, Meghan was convinced that I was Santa Claus. But Christmas Eve was the clincher. During the Homily at the Christmas Vigil Mass at our Church, Santa Claus made an appearance. Santa came out and greeted Father and wished all the Parishioners a Very Merry Christmas. He went on to discuss the true meaning of Christmas. Meghan and her brother were Altar Servers for the Mass. They sat only a few feet from where Santa delivered his Christmas Eve message. Later at the end of Mass after Meghan changed back into her street clothes, she and her brother met me at the back of the Church. As parishioners exited, a few of them would wink at me or thank me as they exited the Church. At one point my daughter was standing beside me when one of the Parishioners said to me “nice job”. Meghan immediately gave me a look and said; “I know why she said that!” I was caught. But I had a backup plan. Later in the evening, Meghan put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots and lichen for the reindeer. She also wrote a very sweet note to Santa. In the note she invited Santa take a little break cookies and milk break and to please give the carrots and lichen to the reindeer. In the note she also mentioned that she thought that her Dad looked like him and left a little area for a reply. Her note to Santa was very cute and Santa’s reply was perfect! I’ll have to post that next time. Christmas morning came and Meghan ran down from upstairs. The cookies and milk were half eaten and the carrots and lichen were gone. She read the reply to her note that Santa had left on the coffee table next to empty plate of cookies. From there she went over to her stocking. As she reached for the stocking, she noticed something near the hearth of the fireplace. It was a heavy gold button with “SC” in the center and “North Pole” over the top. Attached to the button was some red thread. She reached down and picked it up. She recognized it immediately. "It must be one of Santa's buttons!; she said, “It must have gotten caught on the fireplace! I'm going to take it to school and show it to my friends that don't believe in Santa!” As you can imagine, at this point, I am thinking that I may have just gotten past another Christmas. But by December 26, the little wheels in her head started turning again. She decides to re-open her “investigation”. After several attempts to get me and her brother to admit that I am Santa Claus, she starts to get upset that we won’t tell her what she knows must be true. I can tell she is getting frustrated. So I decide to tell her the truth – that I am one of Santa’s Ambassadors. I tell Meghan that I have something very important to tell her. But before I tell her I make her promise that she cannot tell any of her friends and especially not her younger cousins and that this is our secret. She agrees. I hand her the letter to me from Santa Claus. I tell her to open it and to be careful because it is very old. As we roll it out her eyes widen. It smells old. It looks old. Clearly this was written a very long time ago. It’s dated December 24, 1974. It’s practically a relic! After she reads the letter, I explain to her how Santa Claus has a few men stand in for him when he can’t be there in person and that it is our job to spread joy and happiness to children. I told her that now that she knows, she could come along with me as one of my Elves. She loves the idea! I asked her what she thought. She told me that it was “cool” that I was Santa Claus. She asked me if I had my own sleigh or if I had to borrow Santa’s. She also asked me if I get to go to the North Pole every once in a while to see Santa. Apparently she thought that, that’s where I was going on all these business trips. That one caught me off guard a bit. When I was a boy, I only knew one Santa Claus – my grandfather. My parents never took me to see Santa at the mall or to a party where Santa was appearing. Every year, Santa would visit me and my brothers a few days before Christmas. We always felt honored that Santa would make a special visit to our house. After all, he always arrived with a police car and fire engine escort. Lights flashing and sirens blaring, Santa was usually accompanied by a policeman and my Dad (also a policeman). Santa sat with us for no more than 15 minutes and he was whisked off to another appointment. To this day, my parents never sat down with me and said, “ya know there is no such thing Santa Claus.” In fact, when I moved out of my parent’s house at 19, there were still gifts under the tree and presents in my stocking from Santa Claus. No one ever told us there was no Santa Claus.
  23. 6 points
    Children prefer simple objects over toys because they’re “not limited” to being a single thing For kids, versatility might be the way to go — as far as toys are concerned, anyway. Zime Science May 2, 2019 by Alexandru Micu EXCERPT: I have it on reasonable authority that kids are very likely to ignore a particular toy and make a starry-eyed beeline for the box it came in. I haven’t got any of my own, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of that, but I do have a cat — so I can relate to how confusing such an experience might be. But fret not, parents around the world, for science comes to the rescue. A new study from the University of Alabama reports that children, particularly those at preschool age, are probably attracted to generic objects because they make for more versatile toys. “The inclusion of generic objects like sticks and boxes may allow children to extend their play because the generic objects can be used as multiple things,” said lead author Dr. Sherwood Burns-Nader, UA assistant professor of human development and family studies. “Pretend play such as object substitution has so many benefits, such as increased socialization and problem solving.” A cardboard box can become virtually anything in the mind of a child, the researchers say. In contrast, a spaceship or unicorn toy — despite being much more visually appealing — is doomed to remain a spaceship or unicorn for as long as you play with it. And therein lies the reason why children, especially younger ones, would generally prefer to play with the box. Children often substitute one object for another during play. A stick can become a sword, a rifle, or a pen. But such substitutions aren’t made lightly — the object has to have a passable resemblance to the one it’s being substituted for. As such, an object’s features such as shape or markings can disqualify it completely for a certain play-task. ... SOURCE: https://www.zmescience.com/science/children-toy-simple-objects-2353545/
  24. 6 points
    While I'll be a monkey's uncle... Not so sure about this one - my wife hates the beard! Would be great at my age though, if people looked at me and thought "hipster" instead of "hip replacement."
  25. 6 points
    Calgary Herald Christmas Fund 2018 campaign raises close to $750,000 March 15, 2019 Yolanda Cole - Calgary Herald Excerpt: Twelve local charities are receiving more than $60,000 each as a result of the 2018 Calgary Herald Christmas Fund campaign, the agencies learned at an announcement Friday. The total raised through the campaign launched in November was $746,465, translating to $62,205.41 for each of the organizations. The 12 charities also received support from the Calgary Firefighters Charitable Foundation through a New Year’s Eve event that raised $15,516 for the Christmas Fund campaign. *** In the 28 years that the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund has been operating, it has raised more than $27 million for local charities. SOURCE
  26. 6 points
    My mother’s father was a wiry old cuss, more elf than Santa but for one thing: he was a story teller. I guess he had to be, raising ten kids on an old dairy farm in the rocky hillsides of middle upstate New York during the Great Depression. He had an amazing ability to sit down with children and spin a bedtime story out of thin air on the spur of the moment, sometimes starting with something mundane that had happened the same day, but never telling the same story twice. We kids were spellbound as we listened quietly—probably the only quiet time during the day—to Granddad tell his bedtime tales. Ah, what I would give for a book of those stories today! This was no sentimental softy charming the children. He had a grip of iron when he squeezed your knee, and his word was law when settling squabbles. He had been a lumberjack, a plumber, a furniture re-upholsterer, and eventually a dairy farmer to feed his kids while others stood in bread lines. Skinny as a rail and tough as nails, none of my larger uncles would stand up to him. But he had a soft spot for kids, and an imagination to rival Mother Goose. He also had an old red dog named Fritz. Nobody knew what kind of dog Fritz was, but he was about the size of a border collie, covered head to toe with long rusty red hair, and his tail held up like a flag. This was a farm dog: twice a day Granddad would make a small hand motion telling Fritz to go get the cows. That sleepy red dog would suddenly tear out of the yard like a tornado, streaking down the hill, across the creek and up through a distant pasture. A half hour later, he’d bring 60 dairy cows slowly into the barn for milking. Fritz was an amazing dog, quick to find the cows, but never rushing them to the barn, so they never lost their milk. And he never left one out to pasture, bringing in every stray. One cold, stormy Christmas Eve, Granddad told a bedtime story about his forgetting the cows had been shut in the barn all day due to the weather, and sending Fritz out to bring them in for milking by mistake. Fritz was off like a flash, skidding around the corner of the barn to find the cows. He was gone an unusually long time. After awhile, Granddad remembered the cows were still in the barn. He began to wonder what was taking Fritz so long to figure it out and started milking, when suddenly there was a loud commotion at the barn door, which remained open about a foot. Granddad looked up to find a mob of every goose, chicken and barn cat on the farm squeezing through the door opening, carefully herded by that red dog Fritz. Not finding any cows in the pasture, Fritz had done the best he could, bringing everything else he could find into the barn. Apparently Fritz had a rather strong herding instinct, and wanted everyone to be included. We kids all laughed and marveled at this story of the red dog with a determined but gentle Christmas spirit. Then we went quietly to bed.
  27. 6 points
    Hallmark Channel showing Christmas movies all year long WTOL By Claudia Seibert February 7, 2019 It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it is acceptable to watch Christmas movies all year long? This year, the Hallmark Channel says yes. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the channel’s Countdown to Christmas, they will be airing holiday movies every Friday night all year round, according to their Countdown to Christmas Facebook page. Hallmark could basically be dubbed the Christmas Channel, so if they say it’s okay to watch Christmas movies when June rolls around, they’re probably right! It’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together, from January to December! SOURCE: http://www.wtol.com/2019/02/07/is-it-acceptable-watch-christmas-movies-all-year-round-hallmark-channel-says-yes/
  28. 6 points
    Santa Claus crawls on the floor to help a blind boy with autism feel the Christmas spirit CNN December 14, 2018 EXCERPT: FORT WORTH, Texas — A Texas mom says her 6-year-old son met “the real Santa” last week at a Fort Worth sporting goods store. Matthew Foster is blind, has autism and hates posing for pictures, but he’s really interested in Santa, his mom, Misty Wolf, told CNN. Wolf said she wanted to get to the Cabela’s store early to avoid the crowds and minimize the stares if Matthew or his 20-month-old sister Lilly had a meltdown. The plan worked and they were able to walk right up to see Santa. Wolf said Matthew does talk, but he doesn’t interact with people unless he feels comfortable with them. “Santa had his trust right away,” she said. “I keep saying that he met the real Santa. That was the real Santa for Matthew.” When Wolf whispered to Santa to explain Matthew’s condition, he raised his hand and said, “Say no more.” “He knew exactly what to do,” she said. “He was just so good at getting through to Matthew and letting Matthew have that learning experience.” Santa walked over and knelt next to Matthew and invited him to touch his coat, its buttons and his hat and explained what he was feeling. He got in the floor, so Matthew would be more comfortable and carried him over to a taxidermied animal in the display to touch its antlers. ... SOURCE: https://myfox8.com/2018/12/13/santa-claus-crawls-on-the-floor-to-help-a-blind-boy-with-autism-feel-the-christmas-spirit/
  29. 6 points
    There are some Christmas decorations that are just worth leaving up all year long...
  30. 6 points
    Well, the Christmas Season doesn't end in the Catholic Church until the Baptism of the Lord, which is on January 13th this year so we still have a week and a half until the season is officially over. plus I keep a small tree up year around, so I always have a little bit of Christmas going. SO MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
  31. 6 points
    Raymond Joseph "Jim" Yellig Santa Claus, IN February 18, 1894 - July 23, 1984 One of the most beloved and legendary Santas of all time, Raymond Joseph Yellig (better known to his friends as Jim), was known as the Real Santa from Santa Claus, Indiana. Born in the small village of Mariah Hill, Indiana, just a few miles north of Santa Claus, Yellig would become the face of Santa Claus, Indiana, for 54 years. He served in the United States Navy prior to and in World War I. While aboard the U.S.S. New York in 1914, Yellig started the career for which he would become world-famous. While docked in Brooklyn, New York, the crew of the ship decided that they would like to do something nice for the underprivileged children of the area. A Christmas party was planned and since Jim was from the Santa Claus area, he was selected to be the jolly old elf. Yellig was so touched by the children’s happiness that he prayed, “If you get me through this war, Lord, I will forever be Santa Claus.” Yellig stayed in the Navy after World War I for a short time, serving over 17 years. After leaving the service, Yellig married his childhood sweetheart, settled in Chicago briefly, and worked for Commonwealth Edison. He returned to Mariah Hill in 1930 to open a restaurant. During this time Yellig would drive the short distance over to Santa Claus and talk with his old friend, postmaster James Martin. Over the years, Martin had begun answering the letters of children addressed to Santa Claus; he soon enlisted Jim's help. In 1935 Yellig organized the Santa Claus American Legion Post to act as Santa's helpers. He also started to dress the part of Santa Claus and became a fixture in and around the town of Santa Claus. Yellig appeared at Santa's Candy Castle and Santa Claus Town, the nation's first themed attraction, in the late 1930s and continued to answer letters from children who wrote to Santa. As an active Legionnaire, Yellig added to his fame by appearing in American Legion Christmas parades in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In 1946, Yellig became the resident Santa at Santa Claus Land, the world’s first theme park. At Santa Claus Land, Yellig was the main attraction. He was in costume over 300 days a year and his deep voice and hearty "Ho, Ho, Ho," is remembered fondly by all who met him. He wrote his own book in the late 1940s called, "It’s Fun to be A Real Santa Claus." Yellig also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, from "What's My Line" to "Good Morning America," and in many print ads. Yellig spent 38 years at Santa Claus Land. Even into his late 80s, Yellig would drive over to Santa Claus Land from his home in Mariah Hill to spend four to five days a week visiting and greeting children of all ages. Even in the months prior to his passing at the age of 90 on July 23, 1984, Yellig was still Santa at the park and continued to answer letters from children. Without a doubt, no Santa before or since has visited so many children in person as Jim Yellig. To many a generation he is simply Santa Claus. Source Phillip L. Wenz See also... Santa Claus Museum Holiday World Town of Santa Claus, IN Santa Claus Oath Map of Santa Claus, IN
  32. 6 points
  33. 6 points
    I was not keen on watching this movie, yet I ended up enjoying it. Too modern? In some ways. Hip? Yes. However, in a pure entertainment sense, it was entertaining. It seemed to stimulate my fantasies about Santa and all he stands for. When I was 12, Santa Claus the Movie came out. Although it would have been better had it not focused on the kids and Dudley Moore, the beginning stimulated the fantasy side of the viewer. Kurt Russell's movie seemed to do the same. The kids trying to catch Santa reminded me of my son's desire at 3 to catch one of Santa's reindeer. The car chase was entertaining, the elves were just plain odd, and as a firefighter I could relate to the anger a child feels when a parent is killed in the line of duty. Occasionally people and/or Hollywood seeks to bring a new aspect to Santa and all he stands for. The Santa Clause changed how kids think of Santa's workshop and Tim Allen's life upon becoming Santa. Edmund Gwenn taught my mother's generation that one must believe in Santa. My generation had Santa Claus the Movie and was a little disappointed but at least could see how Santa got his start. My 20 year old and 13 year old thought it was "Cool". My wife loved it and thought Goldie Hawn's appearance was fantastic. Of course she and I grew up watching Overboard. As in everything, there was good, there was bad, and at least it was a movie that a family could watch without a load of immoral things trotting across the screen.
  34. 6 points
    The first thing I said to my wife after we finished watching the film: "I'll bet you any money, there will be a flood of Santas asking to have a suit made like his..."
  35. 6 points
    There have been women that have put on the red suit, but they also make themselves LOOK like what Santa is supposed to look like when they are doing it! Like Patrick above, my comments mostly wouldn't be printable, but that said, this gender neutral stuff is pure cow dung, and like Hubcity states above, there are (stupid) people everywhere, and if you search hard enough, you can find idiots that will agree to just about anything these days. But the very small population % of nut jobs that thinks this (Santa should be gender neutral), just goes to prove that they ARE Nut Jobs, and hopefully will not be adding to the gene pool.
  36. 6 points
    I didn't know anything about this, so I of course had to see how the world just might be going crazy. And in fact it is doing just that. How would they rearrange the past?! I guess Hollywood would be pushing this change though it didn't say that yet. But they try to push everything else down our throats. World is going crazy here is the proof Does anyone remember on a Monday night football broadcast, one of the men bringing the game said something LIKE "You can take me now Lord I've seen enough" I forget who said it, when it was said, but I do remember it. I feel the same way after so much of the things seem to be going sideways in LIFE. Everybody in the media as well as people who say we need to think of everybody else, yet the rules that started this country, the laws to protect this country, the traditions that help form this country, ALL SEEM TO HAVE BEEN OR ARE TRYING TO BE REMOVED from this country from the inside out?! If this happens, the Santa thing, I truly do feel, it's time to kindly ask for a ride home. Where I hope things will make more or better sense, instead of the way this crazy world is heading.
  37. 6 points
    I thought this was a watchable Christmas movie and Kurt Russell did a good job as a modern take on a classic legendary figure. The cgi elves were just ok. The ending was predictable but well executed with a great cameo for the finish. Although panned terribly by critics, I say watch it and make up your own mind. My family loved it.
  38. 6 points
    Mixed feelings... Elves: Reindeer, explaining the way Santa could travel all over the globe, general overall storyline: Costuming: Santas snarky behavior: But his overall view of Christmas spirit: Do I feel it ranks up there with other Santa based Christmas classics: Would I watch it again: Having Goldie as Mrs. Claus as a surprise at the end:
  39. 6 points
    Santa for Awhile Unpublished © 2018 Douglas Billings I didn’t ‘officially’ don the red suit until last year, after I returned from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. I had portrayed Santa Claus for a small local country church for a few years before, but I had to borrow the cheap and tacky suit they owned, which did not fit me very well. It had seen too many volunteers stuff themselves into it over the years and the poor thing was flawed in spots. Thinking about it, the kids that I saw at that church didn’t see the problems and issues of the suit that I saw. They were just thrilled seeing Santa in the building; with no regard, as to how his wardrobe appeared. The years have slowly and methodically transformed me into whom many perceive as Santa Claus. I had achieved the long beard years before, but Father-Time has added the white to the thing. He has also increased the girth of my mid-section, so subtly, I never realized it was happening. At some point, the necessary combination of white beard and belly became my new trademark, my calling card, if you will. When the transformation was complete, the public began to see me and treat me differently. It was the children who reacted first, and it was happening anywhere, any time of the year, no matter how I was dressed or where I was at the time. One day, I noticed small children pointing at me and whispering to each other as I walked by them. I didn’t think anything about it at first, but then one day I overheard what one was saying to the other. “Psst, look, look, it’s Santa Claus.” I stopped in my tracks and turned to face the informant. His lower jaw dropped open and his eyes seemed to grow out of their sockets. When his eyes met my stern stare, I grinned really big and gave him a wink, then I continued on my original course. It’s been like that for many years now, only today I have to add the adults as well. I work in a middle school in West Tennessee. I started there in 2007. Back then, I had a lot of color still in my hair and beard. In those days, a lot of people called me ZZ-Top and a few years later, the students referred to me as Duck Dynasty. Eventually the colored follicles were replaced by the white I now sport and along with it came the references of Santa Claus. One of my colleagues at the school is raising her granddaughter, whose name is Alicia. I have known her since shortly after her birth. Granny would bring her to after school functions and everyone would do what we do around a little bundle of baby—we would oooh! and aaah! the precious child. As the years continued on, Lil’ Alicia started to walk on her own and then one day she was old enough to start kindergarten. One day, I was in our gymnasium after school, supervising some kids playing on the court. Granny walks in and following her was Lil’ Alicia fresh off the bus from her school. When she saw me in the distance, she screamed, “S-a-n-t-a!” and began running towards me, as fast as her little legs could carry her. I turned toward her and threw out my arms and she buried herself in me. I gave her a gentle squeeze and she looked into my eyes and never broke contact. She began to study every feature I had, constantly fixated on my eyes. I felt a glorious warmth run through me, and I’m convinced she felt it too. From that moment on, I AM Santa Claus to Lil’ Alicia. I’m still teaching at that same school and Lil’ Alicia still comes over every afternoon to meet up with her granny, only now she is not so little anymore. She is getting to that age where she is questioning the true existence of Santa Claus. She walks by my classroom every day on her way to her granny’s locale. I always meet her in the hallway and she still runs up and gives me a hug. She tells her friends that I am Santa Claus and just recently a few of them started telling her that Santa isn’t real. Luckily, she doesn’t believe them and I am still the lucky recipient of heartfelt and loving hugs from my biggest fan. The other day, I spoke with Alicia’s grandmother and told her that I dread the day she no longer believes in Santa Claus. I have cherished the opportunity to be hers and no matter what, she will always be ‘Santa’ Doug’s most special fan. The inevitable is just around the corner with Lil’ Alicia and there is nothing anyone can do to stop nature’s course. But, the spirit of Santa Claus will never be lost in the grown child, as long as Lil’ Alicia keeps the thought and memory of her Santa in her heart and soul, for always. I will only be a Santa Claus for a short while, but Santa Claus will be forever. ‘Santa’ Doug’s Biggest Little Fan!
  40. 6 points
    Went with the Senior Adults of my church to a Hymn Sing today. During the program, we stood to our feet and sand "God Bless American" and "America the Beautiful." It was a truly moving experience to hear over 400 Senior saints lifting their voices together singing these songs as we remembered all these people.
  41. 6 points
    I could care less about where your beard comes from. If that’s the only reason that you joined IBRBS, for the name? that’s just makes me sad and I don’t know why the board is working so hard to volunteer and to try and provide something more. This is not a move being pushed by the traditional bearded Santas, they are not knocking on the door. Why would they? Not when they do not feel welcome. This move is a moment for the Christmas community to come together. It’s no surprise that some of the most respected Santas in the community are wanting this change. I want a group that has the best of the best or at least welcomes them. I was a traditionally bearded Santa and later grew a beard; my heart is the same, my dedication is the same, my love for doing this is the same. I am not a better Santa in my heart for having a real beard. At some point does this international group evolve to work together for all Santas and truly become international for all those that take on this vocation? I certainly hope so. Take a look at the Santa Claus Hall of Fame, take a look at our history, IBRBS can mean more and I’d love to see a time when we welcome all that take this work seriously. “Real Bearded Santas” are primarily a contemporary US novelty and a marketing move. If we are truly to be an international group, we need to vote “YES” on the bylaws change. Six years ago, this was voted with the majority wanting to include and redefine IBRBS. Six years ago, the majority of IBRBS members did not see the change they wanted because a super majority was not reached. It should be time now. I find all talk on conspiracy theory and financial gain rediculous and insulting, people put too many selfless hours in behind the scenes for that. This change for me, and as a board member, is all about coming together and it should be time. Our historic Santas like Jim Yellig and Charles W Howard defined this work, both traditionally bearded, the Charles W Howard School’s Dean, traditionally bearded, writer of the Santa Claus Oath, traditionally bearded, the founder of Clausnet, traditionally bearded, just about every famous Santa seen in film, traditionally bearded. Personally speaking, any Santa Group that thinks these individuals would not bring value to our organization and not want to do whatever possible to welcome them and learn from them, just to keep things outdated exclusive and solely based on a beard...this is just sad and I pray that this community can be better at making the right decisions for the future of IBRBS. I celebrate all Santas and Mrs. Claus. We stand on the shoulders of the men and women before us when ego was not a big deal and when social media played no part. I’m working on a future podcast, a historica series. They cared about the vocation...not their facial hair...not how much their beard cost...and not their gender. They cared about children and the tradition. Today I cast my vote. When you cast your vote, think of them...not yourself. Look through the eyes of a child. Santa and all Christmas performers should look at it from their perspective...not our own. Is this about me and my ego...or about the tradition and what this is really about? Santa is for everyone, all believers and All Santas are for children, that is my hope. IBRBS has the potential to mean more, we just need to take the necessary steps to do that. I believe this with all my heart and I have thought long and hard about this vote. We move forward regardless and I will look towards finding ways to improve each day and be a support to this community. I am grateful for IBRBS and I am so very grateful that some in the world humble me by calling me “Santa Claus.”
  42. 5 points
    So this year I have had a great time with folks, but just the one or two complaints about charging got stuck under my saddle. I thought about posting a Facebook thing about what I do and why I do it. I changed my mind but decided to chime in on this forum as a way to vent and also to ask others what they say or do. I take great pride in having a nice suit that wasn't just off the rack velveteen. It was maybe 450.00 but then I had to have it altered to fit just so. I found boots that are big and have the fur so they cost nearly 100.00. The belts and buckles just don't last so I had a saddle-maker help me get a nice large belt and buckle that has very nice finish work that cost 100.00. Colored contact lenses and prescription reading glasses just for the season, yep another 150.00. I get the suit cleaned and sanitize it between jobs so I am not carrying any cold or flu if I can help it. I spend nearly 100.00 on beard and hair bleach and whitener products to keep the authentic full facial expressions and head of hair that people are surprised to see is real. I get the flu and pneumonia vaccine along with the DIP/TET whooping cough vaccines to make sure parents of newborns don't have to worry. Then I bought insurance and had a background check done for anyone that asks about it. I do it because I love the season, I love the message, I love sharing the magic of Christmas as much as I can. I also don't mind recovering the costs involved and making a little to spend on Christmas presents for friends and family. I do what I do because I love it, but I go the extra mile so that even when I charge, people feel like they are getting a truly unique and special experience. *I would never disparage another person for doing Santa appearances for no charge, and I would ask that they extend the same courtesy to me.
  43. 5 points
    It's always Christmas in North Pole, Alaska May 16, 2018 by Amanda Bohman - Daily News Miner Excerpt: FAIRBANKS - North Pole’s town motto is “Where the spirit of Christmas lives year round,” and the city website—www.northpolealaska.com—has a counter showing how many days are left until Christmas, but there’s more to do in North Pole than check out where Santa Claus lives. The community 14 miles southeast of Fairbanks down the Richardson Highway has a network of trails, including an exercise path with stations for doing different kinds of strength training, a new library and a growing inventory of parks, including a music park, a dog park, a newly-expanded skate park and a new memorial park dedicated to people in uniform who have died in the line of duty. **** The Santa Claus House, the red and white building beside a 42-foot tall, 900-pound Santa Claus statue, was originally a trading post and served as the first post office in North Pole. It’s now a gift shop and a top attraction along the Richardson Highway, where visitors can meet St. Nick and pick up some Christmas treasures. The Christmas-themed town of about 2,000 people is home to a large concentration of military veterans and hosts one of the most patriotic Fourth of July parades in the area. A street fair follows with games, family-friendly activities and vendors. One of the features of the block party is an ice-carving demonstration. SOURCE
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