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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/24/2019 in Posts

  1. 10 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!
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 5 points
    When I was a kid, Granddad, whose name was Guy, was one of many dairy farmers in hilly middle upstate New York where milk was transported every day, or at most every second day, over dirt roads to a creamery. No farmer in the area had a cooler with storage capacity for more than one day’s worth of milk. Granddad had a large stake-back truck in which his and his neighbors 10-gallon milk cans were transported by my uncles to the creamery. Winters then were harder than today, often with a few feet of snow drifting across the hilly dirt roads, sometimes making them impassable. When this happened, the milk couldn’t get to the creamery, it spoiled and farmers suffered loss of income. For many years there was talk of the need to pave these roads, so milk could be gotten safely to the creamery. Funds were collected and budgeted for this purpose. Plans were drawn up identifying roads that needed paving. There was general agreement this should be done, but when it came to deciding which roads would get paved first, agreement was lacking. Everybody wanted their road to get paved first, nothing got done, and the milk continued to spoil in bad weather. Finally, Granddad got impatient and stood for election to the County Board of Road Supervisors. Well known in the county as a dairyman, he was easily elected. After determining how many miles of road could be paved with budgeted funds, at the last meeting before Christmas of the Road Supervisors, Grandad moved that one mile of each road be paved each year until they were all paved. This amounted to about 20 miles per year of new pavement, one mile at a time, on 20 dirt roads used to transport goods farm-to-market. It quickly became evident at the meeting that nobody who wanted the roads paved could oppose this proposal without opposing paving the road they most wanted paved. After lengthy discussion, the motion passed unanimously. Over the next six years, all the farm-to-market roads in the county were paved, one mile per road per year, and Granddad retired from the County Board of Road Supervisors after earning the title “Santa Guy” for bringing paved roads to the farmers that Christmas.
  5. 4 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
  6. 4 points
    Toy wheelchairs 'boost self-esteem' BBC News March 3, 2019 A new toy wheelchair is hoped to help "boost the self-esteem" of children with disabilities. The model has been designed like a real wheelchair by not-for-profit organisation Toy Like Me. Founder Rebecca Atkinson said existing model wheelchairs "tended to be grey, and fell over when played with". The Norwich-based organisation believes more toys should reflect disabilities in a positive way. The new prototypes have been tried out by children with disabilities at The Hamlet centre in Norwich, Norfolk. SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-norfolk-47404044/toy-wheelchairs-boost-self-esteem
  7. 4 points
    'Evelyn's tree': River Heights Christmas lights lit to remember late community member By Erick L Graham Wood February 25, 2019 Herald Journal News EXCERPT: Evelyn Ellis loved to sing the 1977 song “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone. She would sing the words, “‘Cause you light up my life; you give me hope to carry on. You light up my days and fill my nights with song,” to herself and to her family members. However, for residents of the River Heights community, Evelyn lit up their lives not only figuratively but literally with a 30-to-40-foot blue spruce known as “Evelyn’s tree” that adorned her front yard with bright Christmas lights shining for every occasion. Evelyn, 95, died Feb. 16, and her tree shines at her home on 400 South to honor her memory. “We were returning a few of her things to her home when my husband (Evelyn’s son, Rod) decided to light up the tree again,” Lisa Ellis said. “It’s like a flag at half mast or Old Main turning blue. Everyone knows what the tree means.” The tree, which lit up for its first time in November 2013, was more than just a Christmas gift from Evelyn to the community. The tree lit up again after the holiday season on Dec. 31, 2013; Evelyn’s 90th birthday. “The tree was something Evelyn wanted to light up for years,” Lisa said. Specialized Pest Control and Lawn Care offered to light Evelyn’s tree to the delight of much of the community. “The Herald Journal ran a story five years ago,” Lisa said. “We got phone calls, and the response was huge. Then we lit the tree up for Evelyn’s birthday, and the guys came around to take the lights down, but Evelyn decided she wanted to keep them up for good.” Lisa said that Evelyn was losing her sight and mobility over the last five years, and the lights were connected to a remote control in her home. “It’s almost as if lighting that tree gave her a sense of purpose in the community again,” Lisa said. “She lit it up for everything from birthdays to anniversaries to USU football games. My birthday is in June, and she would call me up and say, ‘I’m turning on the tree for you,’ and she did.” The tree has become a staple in the River Heights community and will remain lit for at least the upcoming week. “It’s known as ‘the happy tree’ or ‘the birthday tree’ or just ‘Evelyn’s tree,’ and it was planted 55 years ago,” Lisa said. Evelyn, a Utah State University graduate and founding member of River Heights’ Daughters of Utah Pioneers group, took care of the tree for 42 years after the death of her husband, Dean. Evelyn’s funeral was last week, and many who knew her came out to pay their respects. “Evelyn knew a lot of people, and the kids of people she knew showed up on Saturday,” Lisa said. “She was grand marshal at the parade last year and Resident of the Year in 2009. Her service in the community is what made her so well-known, and this tree was another one of those services.” Evelyn’s family took care of her in her home for the last few years before she was hospitalized in January. Currently, a visitor to Evelyn’s home will find dozens of paper hearts with messages of love taped to the front door, with more added each day. “Sister Ellis will always hold a special place in the hears of our family,” reads one note left by Jason and Dana Thompson. “Evelyn, you definitely had heart! Thanks for adding to my life,” read another from Kirsty Scott. Another read, “Evelyn, my example of pure love” and another, “I’m a lucky person to have known you.” Lisa said that new neighbors would wonder why Christmas lights were shining in May or July, but they would find out quickly. Lisa’s family is currently building a new house and plans to plant an “Evelyn tree” of their own on their property. Several of Evelyn’s family members are looking at moving into her home, and the family said that they want to maintain the tradition of keeping the lights turned on in the future. Ross Peterson has lived three doors down from Evelyn since 1971. “She and her husband are the epitome of what community means,” Peterson said. “They served and gave back and participated and got involved in the community. They did a lot to make it a special place.” Dean was the mayor of River Heights for eight years, and Evelyn sponsored the Dean Ellis Memorial Tennis Tournament in his honor. Evelyn is survived by her four children and their spouses, 16 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. “They were very inclusive,” Peterson said. “Evelyn had friends of all ages,” Lisa added. “She really had a knack for interacting with everyone, even if they aren’t family. She would adopt them into her family.” Peterson said that she had an “unbelievable ability” to remember birthdays and events going back as far as friends that she went to high school with. “She would call each of them,” Lisa said. “She would call and just say, ‘I’m turning on the tree for you.’” SOURCE: https://www.hjnews.com/news/local/evelyn-s-tree-river-heights-christmas-lights-lit-to-remember/article_725cf4b4-6fcb-5116-b066-093b89af3a96.html
  8. 4 points
    Christmas returns to Market Square February 23, 2019 By Jack Shea Newburyport News EXCERPT: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas again in Market Square. Newburyport Department of Public Services workers were busy hauling in and installing a new holiday tree in Market Square Friday morning, in order to accommodate the Hallmark Channel, which plans on filming at least part of its movie “A Ring For Christmas” in the coming weeks. Hallmark Channel is known for producing dozens of family-themed movies, many of them set during Christmas. Among the movies recently released by the studio were “Valentine in the Vineyard” starring Rachael Leigh Cook and Brendan Penny, and “Magical Christmas Ornaments” with Jessica Lowndes and Penny. Jamie Tuccolo, deputy director for DPS, said the production crew will be decorating the tree next week, and the filming should take “about a week” afterward. In total, Tuccolo said the new tree will be up for “a couple weeks” before it is taken down. Tuccolo also said that Hallmark hopes to have “A Ring for Christmas” air during the 2019 holiday season. In the meantime, he said he hopes residents will be able to temporarily rekindle their holiday spirit. “Having the tree up in February I think is going to be different, but I think it’s pretty exciting that a movie production will be taking place,” he said. SOURCE: https://www.newburyportnews.com/news/local_news/christmas-returns-to-market-square/article_3e614672-ea9e-595e-b6e2-169bb1456f39.html
  9. 3 points
    My mother’s Dad lived on a small dairy farm in the hilly country of southern upstate New York, and there was an old one-room schoolhouse on the farm where kids of all ages from nearby farm families were taught by my Grandma. Over the years, the schoolhouse fell into disrepair, and the local school board met repeatedly to try and figure out how to fix it. As usual, the principal issue was money. Nobody wanted to spend any more than they had to, so when one of them proposed to build a new schoolhouse, that idea came in the front door and went out the window, as Grandma used to say. This happened repeatedly, until a vote was taken by the school board turning down the proposal to build a new schoolhouse. Eventually, the school board had a showdown. Meeting in the schoolhouse on Christmas day, discussion among school board members was opened by one of them complaining that the roof leaked, saying it needed repairs. Arguing if they couldn’t have a new schoolhouse, at least they should keep the kids dry, Granddad made a motion to repair the roof. After lengthy discussion of the least expensive way to do this, a vote was taken and they agreed to shingle the roof. Spying a glimmer of opportunity, Granddad noted many of the windows were cracked or broken, causing heat loss in winter and making it difficult to keep the kids warm. A motion was made to repair or replace all the cracked or broken windows. After lengthy discussion, a vote was taken and they agreed to repair the windows. This lead to discussion of the inadequacy of the old wood stove used to heat the one-room schoolhouse. Noting the hinges on the door to the stove were broken, Granddad moved to replace the old wood stove with a new coal burning stove. After some discussion, a vote approved this proposal. Looking down at the old, worn wooden floor of the schoolhouse, one board member noted the cracks between the boards were getting large enough to let bugs and mice in, and a lot of heat out in winter. A motion was made to replace the floor of the schoolhouse, and a majority voted in favor of it. Next the wooden board and batten walls came under scrutiny, because the old newspapers that had been pasted across the gaps between the boards were peeling off as the wood shrank and the gaps got wider, allowing cold winter air in. A motion was made to insulate the walls and cover the insulation with drywall on the inside. After lengthy discussion, a vote of the school board approved this motion. The entryway to the schoolhouse was through a small mudroom with an old, cracked wooden door hanging from one hinge so it was hard for kids to open and close securely. With kids coming and going, the door was often partly open, letting heat out and cold air in. Granddad moved the entryway be enlarged and a coat room added with a new double door, and the motion was passed. The hour was getting late when Granddad reviewed what the schoolboard had done during the meeting, totaled up the estimated costs, and suggested all the repairs might cost more than building a new schoolhouse. Then he made a motion to build a new schoolhouse, saying it would be less expensive to build a new one than to repair the old one. The motion was passed unanimously. Eventually, a new schoolhouse was built. My grandparents and most of their kids are long deceased, but the little one-room Christmas schoolhouse where my Grandma taught my Granddad to read still stands.
  10. 3 points
    When I first started, I used to struggle with the notion of charging and what should I charge for. Then I heard a piece of general advice on the radio which I find really useful; " Don't run your Business like a Charity - chances are you'll pretty soon go bankrupt! And that won't help anyone. Run you business like a business, be successful, and then you can afford to be charitable." Of course all of this is open to interpretation but it's a principal which has stood me in good stead of working full-time performing for children for 35 years.
  11. 3 points
    Struggling Toy Store “Santa’s Toys” Makes Marcus Lemonis’ Nice List March 12,2019 by Jennifer Weyant - Business 2 Community Excerpt: Santa Claus, Indiana is a special town that embraces the magic of Christmas all year round. One of their local retail attractions, Santa’s Toys, reached out to Marcus Lemonis for his assistance in growing their business. Their goal is to be able to create a refuge where kids can come and feel the magic of Christmas all year long. With the toy business undergoing some major changes in the past few years, Mark and Heidi Schmidt are in desperate need of some guidance so that they can remain competitive and continue to expand their business. Marcus is surprised when he entered Santa’s toys. He expected to walk into a store that resembled Santa’s workshop, but instead found a retail space that was cramped, dark and uninviting. Throughout the store, 16 security cameras and accompanying signs reminded consumers that they were being watched. Instead of a fun environment where people can play and fall in love with toys, he felt there was a staunch surveillance feel in the storefront. The brand did not match the business. **** A busy day for Santa’s toys would net about $5-6K but there are days when they do not sell a single item. This is especially true in the summer months when people are not focused on Christmas shopping. Marcus asked if they have considered closing seasonally, but they feel they have an obligation to their customers to be there for the whole year to cover everything from birthdays to get well soon presents. Marcus suggests that they launch a proper website that can work for them 365 days a year. This will also help to supplement their family income through the slower months so they do not have to worry about their financial stability. After reviewing their financials, Marcus was impressed that they learned how to run a business in two years that is financially healthy and does not have significant debt. He decides to make them an offer to invest $75,000 in their company with a stipulation that half of the money will go into the store and the other half of the money will go into the website. In exchange for his investment, he wants 50% of online sales. He wants them to keep 100% ownership of the physical store. He feels that the store will help to build their brand and will ultimately drive web traffic as well. His expectation is that they will stock inventory and ship it out in branded, Santa Claus packaging. He wants the brand to exemplify joy, family, and Christmas. They agree to the terms and agree to enter into a business agreement with Marcus Lemonis. In beginning their store-front makeover, their first step was to remove the slow-moving product and liquidate it. Marcus decided to purchase all of these items to donate to charity. This also allowed that portion of the money to flow directly back into the business. They also decided to redesign the space by putting in new lighting, floors, signage, and fixtures. This updated and opened the floorplan allowing them to stock double the amount of product while increasing the physical organization and flow for the customer. They also decided to turn some of their wasted storeroom space into Santa’s workshop to add to the appeal of the business. SOURCE
  12. 3 points
    Hello to all UK Santas, Although I've performed for children for over 35 years this will be my first season as a Santa Claus. I stumbled across Eileen Strom who has been incredibly helpful in getting me started. I have made a couple of Santa Sacks based quite heavily on her duffle-bag design. I've had a great response to the bags I've made and I have quite a bit of spare fabric so I'd be happy to make some sacks for my fellow Santas if anyone in the UK is interested. I'm not intending to make this a new business venture but I enjoyed making them and it occurred to me that this could be something which might be of interest. These two bags are about 110cm tall and have a diameter of about 40cm - I got two double size duvets into each one so they're very roomy! The seams are all double stitched and the strap is reinforced with a nylon webbing strap hidden inside.
  13. 3 points
  14. 3 points
    Congratulations, Santa Doug, on a well deserved honor!
  15. 3 points
    Congratulations, Doug! Welcome to MOTH.
  16. 3 points
    Congratulations and welcome to the MoTM club! Now that you have said: “I will not ever be able to pay you back, but will do my best to pay it forward." I am sure that you will enjoy mentoring many newbie Santa’s at CWH this year. Great job Santa Drosselmeyer & now your Mrs. Claus too! 🎅 🤶🏻
  17. 3 points
    When I saw who it was ........ The selection for March 2019! My heart filled with HAPPINESS GREAT FOR YOU Doug! Honestly and truefully! NICE!! Welcome to the club and a great CHOICE! DOUG!
  18. 2 points
    A child about 7 years of age, just beginning to learn about the value and uses of money, was given a few dollars and a list of siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents for whom to purchase Christmas presents. Not having a “wish list” for any of them, or knowing what they might like for Christmas, the child didn’t have a clue what to get them but examined gifts in a local drug store. There he found a brightly painted tin replica about four inches tall of the squat, curved-top U.S. mail box that stood on many street corners, with a letter deposit flap that opened to accept coins. It appeared to be a small bank. The child thought he would like to receive one as a gift, and believed others would also. Very inexpensively priced at 15 cents, the child thought it would make an attractive gift, so he bought 20 of them, enough to give one to everybody on his Christmas list. He took them home and carefully wrapped each one, being careful not to allow anyone to see what he had bought. The problem of gift buying solved all at once. On Christmas day, the family drove to his grandparents farm in the country to celebrate the holiday. After a large dinner that made everyone sleepy, gifts were exchanged and opened. As each relative opened their gift from him, they exchanged glances with the others, admired the mailboxes, and thanked the child profusely. Each was appreciative of the gift, with the possible exception of a couple siblings who thought it strange that everyone had received the same gift. As he watched them open their presents, the child also thought it looked a bit weird for everyone to be opening the same gift. Now a bit unsure of himself, the child asked his mother if he had done the right thing, giving everyone the same gift. His mother, spying a teaching moment, told him everyone appreciated his generosity in giving a gift he liked, and told him giving, not receiving, was what the holiday was all about. Having given, the child was happy and joyfully played with the other children on the living room floor. The following week, the child received a few thank you cards and letters from some of the relatives he had given mailboxes as presents. A few envelops contained a coin with the letter, and others asked if he had given them mailboxes because he was lonely? Still puzzled, they had overlooked the point his mother had explained, and were seeking deeper meaning. Still only 7, the child shrugged them off and went out to play in the snow.
  19. 2 points
    Tickets for Christmas trips on 'Polar Express' train go on sale March 18,2019 Maryann Struman, Detroit Free Press Excerpt: Sure, spring weather is finally creeping into Michigan — but it's only nine more months till Christmas. Tickets are on sale for the 2019 season of the North Pole Express, featuring round-trip on the Pere Marquette — the historic locomotive made famous in the film "Polar Express." About 4,000 people take the North Pole Express each season, according to the train's operator, the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso. The trips, which run on Saturdays and Sundays, are a four-hour, round trip excursion from the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso to the nearby Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas. Passengers enjoy a one-hour train ride each way to and from Ashley, choosing one of five different classes of service, from vintage coaches to historic cabooses. In Ashley, passengers disembark for a two-hour vintage-themed Christmas party featuring live music, photo opportunities and Santa himself. SOURCE Editors note * Same train and run we had at the CW Howard Santa School.
  20. 2 points
    Common sense can escape us all when our livelihoods are in jeopardy. Thank God Granddad kept his wits about him.
  21. 2 points
    Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we went as children on Christmas day, after opening stockings and an early breakfast at home. Grandma’s house was about 50 miles away on a small dairy farm in the hills of southern upstate New York near Binghampton. Five kids with parents in an old station wagon would sing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs most of the way there until we ran out of songs, sometimes singing the same ones more than once. Those were happy days. Jingle Bells was popular. I recall one Christmas close to 65 years ago when I was about 7, my older sister 10, and our younger siblings 5, 4 and 2, when and the snow was fresh and deep as we reached Grandpa’s hill maybe a mile from the farm, and slowly slipped off the unplowed dirt road into a drift covering a ditch in a shower of snow. This was before cell phones and my father had to walk some ways down a side road to a neighbor’s house to call my Uncle Paul for help. After he returned, telling us help was on the way, we sat in the car as it got colder and waited what seemed like forever, anxious children day dreaming about a second set of stockings hung by the chimney with care. The singing had stopped as we watched the top of the hill, expecting an old red farm truck to come and pull us out of two feet of fresh snow. The stillness of new fallen snow surrounding us was suddenly broken by the sounds of a vehicle laboring up the other side of the hill until, low and behold, here came Santa in red costume driving a large old green tractor over the hill, waving hello! At first too far away to see clearly, it was my Uncle Paul, a usually taciturn lifelong bachelor nearly as wide as he was tall, dressed as Santa with barn boots on, coming to our rescue in what appeared to us kids to be a Christmas miracle. Imagine what a vision he was to us through foggy windows, driving that old tractor down the hill, pulling us out of the ditch, and towing the car the rest of the way over the hill to Grandma’s house. He reveled in it, every few minutes turning that broad back in the tractor seat and waving with a loud “Ho, ho, ho” all the way to a happy second breakfast in the woods, on a day us kids would remember the rest of our lives. He was so into the spirit of the holiday, we’ll never forget.
  22. 2 points
    Something about "not seeing the forest for the trees."
  23. 2 points
    Not a good situation Ideally it should be reported - if you have any suspicions regarding any category of abuse you can report - it is not considered an accusation - but states have resources to investigate these circumstances....you need to know what you can do in your area - in this situation it would be hard unless you have some contact info for the child..... Most teachers, healthcare workers, etc have mandatory requirements to report...
  24. 2 points
    And no matter what you earn as Santa doesn't stop you from being charitable, does it?
  25. 2 points
    The March 2019 issue of the ClausNet Gazette is now online! view online
  26. 2 points
    Congratulations and welcome to the MOtM Club!!
  27. 2 points
  28. 2 points
    Congratulations and welcome to the MOTM Club!!
  29. 2 points
    Congratulations Doug on this wonderful achievement!!!
  30. 2 points
    Unbelievable, couldn't have happened to a more unbelievable individual. Congratulations again.
  31. 2 points
    These are the kinds of things I would love to be a part of. Thank you for sharing!
  32. 2 points
  33. 2 points
    What I never understand is, why is getting paid for your business expenses completely antithetical to our services being about the children? We aim for 30% free visitations each season and wind up with 50% but we charge well for those that do pay. We do not love one child more than the other. The one family makes us available to the other. We do not have great wealth. We NEED to partner with EVERY child we see gets the very best of us whether we are paid or not. If it really IS about the children, then being paid does not negate that.
  34. 1 point
    After visiting Indonesia several times, Michael found that residents of North America are often surprised to learn that many Muslims there celebrate Christmas too. Probably this is no surprise to our colleague Santa Roger Malaysia. Indonesia is the largest Muslim populations of any country in the world today, and one of the most moderate, providing a bit of an antidote to others elsewhere. Christmas is the same as here, but is celebrated differently there. Instead of celebrating at home, most ballrooms in large urban hotels are booked for Christmas dinners and parties for extended family and friends, complete with lavishly decorated evergreen trees from the mountains of central Java, cookies, cakes, and exchange of greeting cards and presents for eager children. It’s a most festive occasion. There’s not much dancing, but lots of conversation and kids running around having a gay time. In effect, this is often an occasion for reunion of families otherwise scattered to the winds. Santa often shows up, if with a somewhat different complexion and stature (shorter and thinner) than is common in the U.S., his bag of presents always full. What Michael found most fascinating was the manner in which Indonesian children respond to Santa, with wonder, respect and affection in their eyes and voices—very like in North America. Michael thought this all ran directly counter to many stereotypes folks in the U.S. and Europe have about Muslims. How could this be happening? As he learned more, he found that, surprising as it may seem, Indonesian Muslims generally hold Christ in the highest regard. He is revered by many Muslims as a true prophet and moral leader of all people, not just Christians. His teachings are read and often embraced with enthusiasm in Indonesia. Michael began to understand that, perhaps in many areas of belief, we have more in common than we realize. For example, Michael was told that Ramadan is a month long period of fasting from dawn to dusk designed to encourage introspection and engender empathy with the poor on the part of better-off Muslims, in some ways paralleling Western values and norms concerning self sacrifice, charity, and generosity during the Christmas season. In this context, Michael discovered jihad has no connotations of interpersonal violence whatsoever, but concerns an individual looking within to identify, suppress or expel all internal sources of wrong-doing towards others, what some Muslims maintain is the original meaning of the term. He also learned that Ramadan is observed by Muslims all over the world in the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, so it moves about our calendar from one year to another, rarely coinciding with Christmas. During that month, Muslims are expected to fast every day from dawn to dusk, refrain from impure thoughts, use of “unclean” words, and avoid behavior that may be considered immoral. Muslims are supposed to make up for any missed fast days, by fasting at some point in the future, and if that isn’t possible, by giving food to the poor. Michael learned it’s important that participants are charitable to others. The paying of alms to benefit the poor and less fortunate is especially important during this month. He learned Ramadan is concluded with a large celebration, known as the Feast of Fast Breaking or Id al-Fitr, usually lasting for 3 days, during which gifts are exchanged and sumptuous meals are shared with friends and family. Noting it is not quite the same as the Twelve days of Christmas, Michael wondered if it didn’t sound a bit similar? Then he remembered the looks in the children’s eyes when they saw Santa, and decided it must be all good. Peace and good will towards all.
  35. 1 point
  36. 1 point
    Dear Santas: I want to relay experience to each of you in hopes of getting some answers to what appears, to me, a complicated social issue. Last Christmas, was my first Christmas as a full-time Santa. I met many kind folks and lots of curious and excited children. On this occasion, there was quite a line-up, and a woman and child approach me from not the regulated way but actually through the exit and behind the camera set up. The woman had a bruise over her right eye and, I noticed, the boy had the same marks on his face. As they approached, I motioned to the elves to stop the other children coming in. Which they did, and I began to visit with the woman and the boy. I was about to reach into my red sack for a toy for the boy when a man approached from the same direction as the woman and boy did. He was obviously intoxicated and smelt of booze. He suddenly grabbed the boy and pulled him up by up off the ground by the boy’s wrists and began to swing the boy to and fro like a pendulum. My heart went sick! I wanted to report the situation and my concerns but did not. I was caught up with being Santa, the incident got blurred by the busy day. I would like to have your take on this situation or similar circumstances. I need advice and I am sure this is not an isolated case of abuse. But what can a busy Santa do when something like this occurs? Santa Robquill
  37. 1 point
    This is exactly the stuff wonderful memories are made from. Thanks for sharing!
  38. 1 point
    These are very helpful and logical suggestions and I will gather more information as I research my Santa rights.
  39. 1 point
    I think you have to consider who your client is.
  40. 1 point
    The article shows it's bias straight away by using the word 'rake' as opposed to the neutral non judgmental 'earn'.
  41. 1 point
    Unbelievable, Thanks once again for all the work and quality that is in this website. All the unseen work, not just with the normal maintenance, but also the time it takes to produce the Gazette. Tell your wife a BIG thanks also. You would not be able to do it without her support.
  42. 1 point
    Good issue, Michael. Thank you!
  43. 1 point
    Congrats, @Drosselmeyer; and well-deserved, too!
  44. 1 point
  45. 1 point
  46. 1 point
    I love, love, LOVE hearing stories like this! Thank you for sharing
  47. 1 point
    Looks like people like us will be taking over the world...
  48. 1 point
    can you see one of the elves saying... " I'll be your huckleberry " to the thug leader.
  49. 1 point
    That part I liked. That at the end it really wasn't the hat. Again, my only problem with the movie was the elves. I don't understand why they had to go in that direction. Clearly they were a furry version of Minions. I was okay with the suit and even the beard and hair -- which I think was his own if I am not mistaken. I wish someone would buy the rights to Jeff Guinn's Santa Claus trilogy and turn that into a movie. In my opinion his books are the closest to what I believe the real Santa would be like. I love how he uses actual history to tell the story of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Someday when I am a multi-millionaire I will produce that movie. And no I wouldn't cast myself in the role of Santa. I think Phil Wenz @Legendary Santa Claus would be the perfect casting...
  50. 1 point
    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.
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