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  1. 18 points
    Seeking recognition is a downward path for a legend who performs his tasks in the veil of night. Recently, a fellow portrayer of Santa posted an image on Facebook that they constructed to look like a magazine cover with him on it and several story snips like many publications have on their covers. You may have seen it if they are your friend on Facebook. It looks okay. The composition is good, but the rendering when uploading it to Facebook became distorted it and it is quite pixelated when you look at it from a development standpoint. What got my goat was his choice of accompanied text, “Finally got a little recognition…”. Let me say that his post was all in jest, I am certain. This man is one of the kindest, gentlest, giving souls you will come across. I love him as a brother. Yet his unintended incursion on the spirit of the Claus legend got me more than a little flustered. And I know it would be last thing he would want anyone to get from this posting. If you are in this to seek recognition, get out. Plain and simple. It’s the last thing that the real Santa Claus would have wanted. It’s the antithesis of St. Nicholas, for whom Santa is mostly based. More and more, I see the ego of man rearing its ugly head in the Claus community. And this comes from one of the vainest individuals you would ever loath to meet. My mother, rest her soul, would chuckle and get all sorts of entertainment over my time in front of the mirror as a youth. As my hair fell out and turned grey and I stated portraying Santa, it became less of an issue of ego and more of an asset to putting forward the best portrayal I know how. And yet attention to Felix Estridge is the last thing I want. Last year, I was elected as President and Executive Director of the Board for Lone Star Santas Charities, Inc.® I tried to refuse but the Board felt it was best moving forward with the group as the current President & Executive Director was retiring from guiding the organization. I still felt awkward in that it might bring me some kind of recognition that I did not ultimately want. But, for the good of the organization and at their begging, I accepted. When asked for my name after having had news footage or news photos shot of me as Santa, I tell them “Kris Kringle” and wait for the response. I will never give my real name unless I am forced to do so, and, even then, I have been known to refuse. I always tell them that the magic for people remains in the mystery of the legend of Santa Claus. They then understand. And all who portray him should strive to keep that magic alive. As I recently defended, I am no one’s arbiter, police, or any authoritarian on portraying Santa. I merely offer this perspective as a personal opinion from simple observation over time. I am less learned than many, many others. I just happen to be passionate about this issue. I will never give up trying to protect the legend. Do no harm to the legend.
  2. 18 points
    One night in December, my child came to me “My friends say there’s no Santa, dad. How can it be? Please tell me the truth, so I may understand.” He sat in my lap, held tight to my hand. I looked in his eyes, and thought for a while, Then told him these words, with a difficult smile, “A long time ago, a man walked this earth. They say he was special, from the day of his birth. Born in a manger, for you and for me, One day he would die, to set the world free. His name was Jesus, the Son of God Well you know the story?” He smiled with a nod. “Well many years later, another man came, He, too, kind and caring, St. Nick was his name. He was born into fortune, and his money he spent To give to the needy, wherever he went. He loved this man Jesus, and so he tried To be a good Christian ‘til the day that he died.” My child seemed confused, so I skipped all the history And tried to get right to the point of this mystery. “Each Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, And giving a gift is just one special way To remember the gift that was born on that night Midst angels and shepherds and bright starlight. We also remember St. Nick once more, Because of the way he gave help to the poor. So Jesus and St. Nick still live in our heart, And the world only knows them if we do our part. We all can be Santa, wherever we go, And we all can share Jesus, with all that we know.” He gave me a hug, and ran off to play And I knew that more questions would be coming some day. But for now I could rest, enjoying the season, Content my child knew that Jesus is the reason.
  3. 18 points
    You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen; Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen. But do you recall how the most famous reindeer of all came to be? Surprisingly, many are unaware of the fact that the character of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer actually began as a story book from Montgomery Ward. While working for Montgomery Ward, copywriter Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939 as an assignment for the company. May penned the story of Rudolph in the style of the poem by Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit From St. Nicholas (T’was The Night Before Christmas). Over 2.4 million copies of Rudolph's story were distributed by Montgomery Ward in its first year. Sadly, because May created the story of Rudolph as an employee, he did not own the license. However in 1946, in one of the most generous decisions ever made by the head of a large company, Montgomery Ward Chairman Stewell Avery, gave all rights back to Robert May. A year later the mass-market release of the book made the Montgomery Ward copywriter a rich man. Learn more about the Creation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Here is the original poem by Robert L. May: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer By Robert L. May ‘Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the hills The reindeer were playing, enjoying their spills. While every so often they’d stop to call names At one little deer not allowed in their games. “Ha ha! Look at Rudolph! His nose is a sight! It’s red as a beet! Twice as big! Twice as bright! While Rudolph just cried. What else could he do? He knew that the things they were saying were true! Where most reindeer’s noses are brownish and tiny, Poo Rudolph’s was red, very large, and quite shiny. In daylight it sparkled (The picture shows that!) At nighttime it glowed, like the eyes of a cat. Although he was lonesome, he always was good- Obeying his parents, as good reindeer should! That’s why, on this day, Rudolph almost felt playful. He hoped that from Santa, soon driving his sleighful Of presents and candy and dollies and toys For good little animals, good girls and boys, He’d just get as much (and this is what pleased him) As the happier, handsomer reindeer who teased him. So as night, and a fog, hid the world like a hood, He went to bed hopeful; he knew he’d been good! While way up North, on this same foggy night, Old Santa was packing his sleight for its flight. “This fog,” he called out, “will be hard to get through!” He shook his round head. And his tummy shook, too! “Without any stars or a moon as our compass, This extra-dark night is quite likely to swamp us. To keep from a smash-up, we’ll have to fly slow. To see where we’re going, we’ll have to fly low. We’ll steer by the street lamps and houses tonight, In order to finish before it gets light. Just think how the boys’ and girls’ hopes would be shaken If we didn’t reach ‘em before they awaken!” “Come, Dasher! Come, Dancer! Come, Prancer and Vixen! Come, Comet! Come Cupid, Donder and Blitzen! Be quick with you suppers! Get hitched in a hurry! You, too, will find fog a delay and a worry!” And Santa was right, as he usually is. The fog was as thick as a soda’s white fizz. He tangled in treetops again and again, And barely missed hitting a huge, speeding plane. Just not-getting-lost needed all Santa’s skill – With street signs and numbers more difficult still. He still made good speed, with much twisting and turning, As long as the streetlamps and house lights were burning. At each house, first checking what people might live there, He’d quickly pick out the right presents to give there. “But lights will be out after midnight”, he said. “For even most parents have then gone to bed.” Because it might wake them, a match was denied him. Oh my, how he wished for just one star to guide him. Through dark streets and houses old Santa did poorly. He now picked the presents more slowly, less surely. He really was worried! For what would he do, If folks started waking before he was through? The night was still foggy, and not at all clear. When Santa arrived at the home of the deer. Onto the roof, with the clouds all around it, He searched for the chimney, and finally found it. The room he came done in was blacker than ink, He went for a chair, but it turned out a sink! The first reindeer bedroom was so very black, He tripped on the rug, and burst open his pack. So dark that he had to move close to the bed, And peek very hard at the sleeping deer’s head, Before he could choose the right kind of toy – A doll for a girl, or a train for a boy. But all this took time, and filled Santa with gloom, While feeling his way toward the next reindeer’s room. The door he’d just opened – when, to his surprise, A soft-glowing red-colored light met his eyes. The lamp wasn’t burning; the light came instead, From something that lay at the head of the bed. And there lay – but wait now-what would you suppose? The glowing, you’ve guessed it, was Rudolph’s red nose! So this room was easy! This one little light, Let Santa pick quickly the gifts that were right. How happy he was, till he went out the door, The rest of the house was as black as before! He went back to Rudolph and started to shake him, Of course very gently, in order to wake him. And Rudolph could hardly believe his own eyes! You just can imagine his joy and surprise At seeing who stood there, a paw’s length away, And told of the darkness and fog and delay, And Santa’s great worry that children might awaken Before his complete Christmas trip had been taken. “And you,” he told Rudolph, “may yet save the day! Your bright shining nose, son, can show us the way. I need you, young fellow, to help me tonight, To lead all my deer on the rest of our flight.” And Rudolph broke out into such a big grin, It almost connected his ears and his chin! He scribbled a note to his folks in a hurry. “I’ve gone to help Santa,” he wrote. “Do not worry.” Said Santa, “Meet me and my sleigh on the lawn. You’d stick in the chimney.” And flash he was gone. So Rudolph pranced out through the door, very gay. And took his proud place at the head of the sleigh. The rest of the night…well, what would you guess? Old Santa’s idea was brilliant success. And “brilliant” was almost no word for the way That Rudolph directed the deer and the sleigh. In spite of the fog, the flew quickly, and low, And made such good use of the wonderful glow That shone out from Rudolph at each intersection That not even once did they lose their direction! At all of the houses and streets with a sign on ‘em. The sleigh flew real low, so Rudolph could shine on ‘em. To tell who lived where, and just what to give whom, They’d stop by each window and peek in the room. Old Santa knew always which children were good, And minded their parents, and ate as they should. So Santa would pick out the gift that was right, With Rudolph close by, making enough light. It all went so fast that before it was day, The very last present was given away. The very last stocking was filled to the top, Just as the sun was preparing to pop! The sun woke up the reindeer in Rudolph’s hometown. They found the short message that he’d written down. Then gathered outside to await his return. And were they surprised and excited to learn The Rudolph, the ugliest deer of the all, Rudolph the Re-Nosed, bashful and small, The funny-faced fellow they always called names, And practically never allowed in their games, Was now to be envied by all, far and near. For no greater honor can come to a deer Than riding with Santa and guiding his sleigh. The Number One job, on the Number One day! The sleigh, and its reindeer, soon came in to view. And Rudolph still led them, as downward they flew. Oh my, was he proud as they came to a landing Right where his handsomer playmates were standing. The same deer who used to do nothing but tease him Would now have done anything, only to please him. They felt even sorrier they had been bad When Santa said, “Rudolph, I never have had A deer quite so brave or so brilliant as you At fighting black fog, and at steering me through. By you last night’s journey was actually bossed. Without you, I’m certain, we’d all have been lost! I hope you’ll continue to keep us from grief, On future dark trips, as Commander-In-Chief!” While Rudolph just blushed, from his head to his toes, Till all of his fur was as red as his nose! The crowd clapped their paws and then started to screech, “Hurray for our Rudolph!” and “We want a speech!” But Rudolph, still bashful, despite being a hero, Was tired, His sleep on the trip totaled zero. So that’s why his speech was quite short, and not bright, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” And that’s why-whenever it’s foggy and gray, It’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed who guides Santa’s sleigh. Be listening, this Christmas, but don’t make a peep, ‘Cause that late at night children should be asleep! The very first sound that you’ll hear on the roof That is, if there’s fog, will be Rudolph’s small hoof. And soon after that, if you’re still as a mouse, You may hear a “swish” as he flies ‘round the house, And shines enough light to give Santa a view Of you and your room. And when they’re all through, You may hear them call, as they drive out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
  4. 18 points
    Normally I don't pay much attention to any of the Santa Facebook groups. Wading through all the egos, tantrums, and prima donnas is nothing less than exhausting. There is so much chest thumping going on over there it won’t be long before one Santa climbs to the top of the Empire State Building. Of course as soon as the first one starts his climb, it wouldn't be long before others joined in – all claiming to have thought of the idea first. And instead of Faye Wray, the Santas would be carrying their business cards – stuffing them in every window as they all raced to the top. But I digress. There is a Santa on Facebook, let’s call him “Santa Munchausen”, who compares what he refers to as "fake bearded Santas" to “fake hamburgers”. His logic is difficult to follow, but it seems what his trying to say is that anyone hiring a traditional bearded Santa is somehow being cheated out of the “real” experience. He compares it to someone ordering a hamburger, but is disappointed when they are served a soy-burger instead. Nice job Santa Munchausen. Not only have you managed to insult me and my fellow “fake” bearded Santas, but you’ve also managed to insult countless vegetarians who prefer veggie-burgers over hamburgers. And as if his insult to the millions of vegetarians around the world wasn't enough, he continued his rant, boasting how he could easily unseat any “fake bearded Santa” from any gig because he is a “real Santa”. Quick! Someone check the top of Empire State Building. I think we have a winner. Sorry Santa Munchausen, but portraying Santa Claus is a lot more than just hair growing on your face. Just because a guy looks like Jerry Garcia, doesn’t automatically make him Santa Claus. Any “real Santa” will tell you that. I’ve been a “fake beard” Santa for 21 years now and proud of it! Unless of course I do the creative counting like some who include all the years since first putting on a Santa Claus suit. That would be 41 years by the way. And although my beard is very realistic, I don’t rely solely on the whiskers to pull off being Santa Claus. It takes a lot more than that to convincingly portray Santa Claus. Any real Santa will tell you that too. As a “fake bearded Santa”, I’d say I'm in pretty good company: Jim Yellig, Charles Howard, Edmund Gwenn, Phil Wenz, Tim Allen, not to mention the entire 2010 inaugural class of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. I would like to see you pull a gig away from any of them. My grandfather was Santa Claus for sixty two consecutive years. And we’re not talking about 62 years of one or two appearances a season. This man made appearances all year round. During the busiest times of the year he would make over 30 separate appearances in a DAY! My grandfather was a “fake bearded” Santa Claus who SHAVED his real beard to portray Santa Claus. Isn’t interesting, that in all the letters to him from United States Presidents, Members of Congress, celebrities, and even His Holiness Pope John Paul II, there is never mention of a “fake beard”; only words of praise, sacrifice, and gratitude. Maybe it’s because the “beard” only matters to those who have nothing else but a beard.
  5. 17 points
    The Santa Claus Oath I will seek knowledge to be well versed in the mysteries of bringing Christmas cheer and good will to all the people that I encounter in my journeys and travels. I shall be dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both children and adults. I understand that the true and only gift I can give, as Santa, is myself. I acknowledge that some of the requests I will hear will be difficult and sad. I know in these difficulties there lies an opportunity to bring a spirit of warmth, understanding and compassion. I know the “real reason for the season” and know that I am blessed to be able to be a part of it. I realize that I belong to a brotherhood and will be supportive, honest, and show fellowship to my peers. I promise to use “my” powers to create happiness, spread love and make fantasies come to life in the true and sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend. I pledge myself to these principles as a descendant of Saint Nicholas the gift giver of Myra. All words, contents, images, and descriptions of the Santa Claus Oath including the Santa Claus Oath Crest are copyrighted under an attachment with Arcadia Publishing 2008 by Phillip L. Wenz. ISBN # 978-0-7385-4149-5 and LCCC # 2007925452 - All rights reserved.
  6. 14 points
    Who is Santa Claus? by Edwin Osgood Grover, 1912 Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows; who shares his joys with those who are sad; whose hand is never closed against the needy; whose arm is ever outstretched to aid the weak; whose sympathy is quick and genuine in time of trouble; who recognizes a comrade and brother in every man he meets upon life’s common road; who lives his life throughout the entire year in the Christmas spirit.
  7. 13 points
    ClausNet has, in my opinion, has always been an informative resource to Santas of all levels. In comparison with other social media, FB and other inter web Christmas enthusiasts sites and groups I get the perception that ClausNet is much kinder. Sure, we have spirited and vastly divided topics that are discussed. Some of which become very passionate and polarizing and emotionally driven. Let’s face it, as a Christmas enthusiast, we have certain levels of passion. Without that passion, I would not be motivated to blog, and you would not take the time to read it. Recently (not on CN) I have noticed an upsurge in what appears to me to be a bunch of old guys hanging around waiting for Christmas again and since its not here yet, have become grumpy or perhaps that is their natural tendency. I doubt they would participate in a poll or survey on my assumption but that if neither here nor there. On FB, in the last few weeks I have noticed Santa posting photos or their new suit, new boots, or something trade related. In variably someone chimes in with criticism. Blasting the poster photo, what he bought, how it fits, how they should NEVER wear boot spats, never this beard or that. Yes, granted some are asking outright for thoughts on the photo. This is good, its how we learn, how we make the best of what we got. To see someone (supposedly a brother in red) tear into their photo with a vengeance. There are ways that constructive criticism can and should be offered. Destructive criticism however, can suck the spirit right out of someone. It can cause hurt feelings, and in the very least not help. By using constructive criticism you can say the very same thing as a destructive critic without sucking the spirit out of someone. I am very glad that ClausNet offers more information than any school provides, the knowledge base is huge and growing daily. The information is here, you do have to work to seek it out it is not spoon fed and it is like finding that golden nugget that gives you that “aha” moment. ClausNet is so much Kinder and Gentler than most places but, it can only remain so by those who participate who keep their minds on being helpful and not hurtful. Thanks for reading. Santa Marty santaforhonolulu.com
  8. 12 points
    I have had enough of the chest beating like a gorilla in the wild trying to intimidate their perceived competition. I am posting text from a website. To me, this text is profound. It is what we who portray the legend and spirit of Christmas (Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, or whatever name you choose to give the legend) should embrace every single day. I am fairly certain I know who owns the site. From the text below, you can tell you they do not want to be identified. And that (being unidentified) is the purpose. "The real Santa Claus worked in secret. And he worked to remain anonymous, too. His interest was in giving — not taking. He had nothing to sell. Money was the furthest thing from his mind. Many people have tried to change that over the years. But Santa — the REAL Santa — has not forgotten where he comes from." - Anonymous When you dress as Santa for every day public view and it is not as a contracted/scheduled appearance, you do this for yourself. You may say that you do it for the children, but that is a passive aggressive way to boost your own ego. We are ruining the legend when we do this. Seeing Santa everywhere in every possible location makes him so much less than special. It dilutes the mystery tremendously. And hundreds if not thousands of men are doing it daily with no respect or regard for that legend. Its all about them. And it does nothing more than drive people away from the real reason for the season, too. And He is why we have this celebration. The sacrifice of His Son is also disrespected when we push ourselves on others. The ego in men's hearts and minds is killing the legend. What a shameful lot we have become. I am to the point where I know where Jesus came from when he drove the money changers out of the temple. I feel like I should pick up a stick at get to clearing out the temple myself.
  9. 12 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.
  10. 12 points
    Charles W. Howard Albion, NY June 15, 1896 - May 1, 1966 Charles W. Howard was truly an American Original. Howard's professional Santa career is that of legend. He was born in the house that he would live in his entire life. The small town boy never left Albion, New York, except to venture out to be Santa. Howard first played Santa as a boy in a classroom play. As an adult he found himself asked to help a friend out and play Santa in a store front window in downtown Albion. This experience helped Howard's urge to perfect the role of Santa Claus as much as he could. In his early career Howard caught the train next to his farm in Albion and commuted to Rochester, New York and then Buffalo, New York to be Santa in department stores. It was about this time he started to develop the idea for a "school" for Santas. Howard's first school was in the fall of 1937. Howard also appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1948 through 1965. Oddly, he never worked as Santa in the New York City flagship store. From 1948-1964, Howard flew from New York City to Kansas City, Missouri to be the Santa at the Macy's store there. In 1965, his last Christmas season, Howard worked at Nieman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. In the late 1940's, Howard started to convert the three barns behind his house in to what became "Christmas Park." This small amusement park became known all over the Northeastern United States. The park included the classroom and dressing rooms for the Santa Claus School. Before using this facility, Howard taught his school in his living room of his house. (With some exceptions, Howard's three session school held in Santa Claus, Indiana in 1938 and the schools held at the St. George Hotel in NYC after WWII.) Student from all over came to Albion. Stores like J.L. Hudson's in Detroit, Gimbel's in Philadelphia, Foley's in Houston, and Dillard's in Little Rock all sent students and executives to the school. Howard was even asked to go to Australia in 1965 to teach a special school there. Appearances on television, in magazines and newspapers included: What's my Line, To Tell the Truth, The Tonight Show, Life Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post. He was also hired as a consultant for Miracle on 34th Street. The contributions of Howard's work are embedded in the Santa Claus world today. One of Howard's most memorable quotes sums it up... "To say there is no Santa Claus is the most erroneous statement in the world. Santa Claus is a thought that is passed from generation to generation. After time this thought takes on a human form. Maybe if all children and adults understand the symbolism of this thought we can actually attain Peace on Earth and good will to men everywhere." Charles W. Howard passed away on May 1, 1966 at the age of 69. Source Phillip L. Wenz See also... The International Santa Claus Hall of Fame The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School The Official Charles W Howard Website Santa Claus Oath Map of Albion, NY
  11. 11 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
  12. 11 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
  13. 11 points
    Every year around this time, some variation of this poem is circulated online. The poem is generally credited to “a soldier stationed in Okinawa” or more recently since September 11, 2001, “a Marine stationed in Afghanistan”. However, the poem’s true author is Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt. Originally entitled, “Merry Christmas, My Friend”, Corporal Schmidt wrote the poem in 1986 while serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington, D.C. That day the poem was placed in the Marine Corps Gazette and distributed worldwide. Schmidt’s poem was later published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991. Below is Corporal Schmidt’s original version as printed in Leatherneck in 1991. Merry Christmas, My Friend by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone, In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone. I had come down the chimney, with presents to give and to see just who in this home did live As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand. On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land. With medals and badges, awards of all kind, a sobering thought soon came to my mind. For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen. This was the home of a U.S. Marine. I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more, so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door. And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone, Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home. He seemed so gentle, his face so serene, Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine. Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read? Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed? His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan. I soon understood, this was more than a man. For I realized the families that I saw that night, owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight. Soon around the Nation, the children would play, And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day. They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year, because of Marines like this one lying here. I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home. Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye. I dropped to my knees and I started to cry. He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice, “Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more. My life is my God, my country, my Corps.” With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep, I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep. I watched him for hours, so silent and still. I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill. So I took off my jacket, the one made of red, and covered this Marine from his toes to his head. Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold, with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold. And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride, and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside. I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night, this guardian of honor so willing to fight. But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure, said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.” One look at my watch and I knew he was right, Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
  14. 11 points
    There are moments we who are storytellers, we who don the Red Suit are touched by. There are moments we never forget. Standing in front of hundreds of children, dozens of children or just around a campfire and tell stories to make kids laugh or making them jump with a sort of scary story is great fun. to have boys and girls say, "that was so cool, Mr. Storyteller" is rewarding enough. But donning the Red Suit, that is different. All storytellers have magic moments. Moments when the audience breathes as one. Moments where time is suspended and not one sound is heard other than the storyteller's voice. There are other moments that are more than magic. Moments when you are humbled. Moments when tears well up in the corners of your eyes, to be wiped away by the white gloves you wear with your Red Suit. Moments like this one in the photo from Storytelling Santa's friend Jenny Daws. A hushed moment as a Mama and Daddy push a wheelchair up and gently lift a frail little angel out and carefully place her in Santa's arms. Santa moves around in his chair so his shoulder supports the head of the little angel, her eyes closed, not moving at all. She is aware something, someone is different and her face shows concern, but Santa whispers to her and she relaxes. He continues to talk with her in whispers the whole time, lost in that place, just Santa and the angel. He forgets the photographer, forgets to look at the camera. He pushes his beard back so it doesn't tickle her face and he whispers and softly sings a Christmas carol. The photographer takes their photo and the parents thank Santa. He thanks them for sharing that moment with him... a beggar in a red suit. There are more kids, some hurting, some barely aware, some smiling and excited. They are all someone's baby, someone's promise. A treasure in a little package. Oh my, they break your heart when the only thing they ask for is "just one more Christmas with my whole family". Or the little girl who asked, "Can you bring my Daddy home from Afghanistan?" "I miss my Grandma in Heaven. Can you tell her I love her?" "Santa, I wish my Mommy and Daddy would stop hollering at each other." They don't always ask for toys, you see. They Believe. They are filled with hope and joy and wonderment. And then, Santa's mind is drawn back a year or two, an evening visit in a community building, sponsored by a local church. Dozens and dozens of little ones have sat on Santa's lap. He recited "The Night Before Christmas" and many of them joined in as he spoke those magical words. Just before Santa is to leave a disheveled mother comes in, hair a mess, clothes not clean, disoriented (someone whispers she smokes crack all the time). She asks if there is still time for her three little children to see Santa. All are under 10. Of course there is time. This night Santa has all the time in the world. The children don't ask for I-pads, cell phones, Transformers, baby dolls or even Legos. They ask for socks, a robe, a new shirt no one has ever worn. Did you hear me? A new shirt no one has ever worn. That is his Christmas wish. And the last of the three, a little girl about 6 or 7 sits on Santa's lap as Church Folks find food, bags of cookies and hot chocolate for the other two. This little sweetheart in clothes that don't fit is so happy to sit on Santa's lap.(and her clothes have not been washed, which angers and saddens at the same time). She just sits there and leans in to his chest for a minute. Santa's lap is a "safe place", you see. She leans against the Red Suit, content and safe. Finally she gets down to business... "Now, what would you like for Christmas?" Santa asks. "I don't know, Santa. (she pauses) Maybe, if it would be alright, a Toy? Just a Toy?" Her ask is a question, a plea, a dream that her crack ridden mother will not, cannot fulfill. Unless someone else finds the way to their door all the extra money will go up in the smoke of a crack pipe. Her eyes plead as she looks into Santa's eyes and asks for a toy, a single toy. Santa wonders how long it has been since she had a toy? What do you say? What would you say? Santa never promises anything, of course. He listens, hugs and gives them candy canes. He has no real magic. He has no toys to hand out. He has only peppermint candy canes. He is just a beggar in a red suit. A myth brought to life for a moment in time. Nobody important. Just a pretend. Oh, that his red toy sack was everlastingly full of toys. If only he could fly with his reindeer to a workshop at the North Pole and bring a toy to every little one, food for hungry bellies of children everywhere. Buy, you see... he depends on me, on you. There weren't any toys in Santa's vehicle that night. From that day till this Santa always has Teddy Bears hidden in his truck, ready for occasions where he knows a little one needs a bear to hug. He, like others, tries, not always successfully, to wear the mantle of Saint Nicholas of Myra (in modern day Turkey), the first Santa. As he leaves Storytelling Santa often lifts families, children that sat on his lap in prayer. For that is the only gift he can truly give.
  15. 11 points
    Born in 1908, James (Jim) D. Rielly was a lifelong resident of Bristol Rhode Island whose love for his country and his community was immediately evident when you met him. In many ways, he was Bristol’s unofficial Ambassador. To paraphrase Yeats: There were no strangers to Jim Rielly; only friends he had not yet met. Jim Rielly was well known throughout New England for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts. He was featured in the New York Times on multiple occasions and in hundreds of other newspapers throughout the United States. In 1982 he appeared on the television news program, PM Magazine hosted by Sheila Martines and Matt Laurer. In recognition of his efforts, Jim Rielly was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and an honorary member of the Bristol Rotary Club, which presented him the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. He was a life member of the Bristol Elk Lodge No 1860 and the Cup Defenders Association. He also received awards from the Bristol Jaycees, the Rhode Island House of Representatives, the Leonardo DaVinci Lodge, Sons of Italy, and the Seabees of Davisville. The Coast Guard Cutter Spar honored Jim Rielly for the loving and compassionate time he shared with crew members and their families. He also received awards from the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point, the US Naval Construction Battalion Center, the USS Hammerberg and the USS Essex. In 1989, the Bristol Town Council presented Jim Rielly with the Bristol Citizen of the Year Award. Over the course of his lifetime, Jim Rielly received numerous letters of recognition from celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world including: Eleanor Roosevelt, Senators Theodore Francis Green, Claiborne Pell, and John Chafee, Presidents Dwight D Eisenhower and Richard M Nixon, and even his Holiness, Pope John Paul II. For 10 years Jim Rielly portrayed the character Charlie Weaver, appearing in Bristol’s Fourth of July Parades and at various places throughout Rhode Island. He once received a letter from the real Charlie Weaver, Cliff Arquette, who wrote “Keep up the good work but don’t take any checks”. In 1976, the year of our nation's Bicentennial, the town of Bristol appointed Jim Rielly as official Town Crier. His duties were to call to order the Patriotic Exercises and officially begin the Military and Civic Parade. As Town Crier he participated in all Bristol Fourth of July Parades from 1975 to 1989. He also participated in the official capacity of Town Crier in numerous other community and civic events. But Jim Rielly’s most notable role was that as Rhode Island's own "Santa Claus." His first appearance as Santa Claus was in the beginning of the Great Depression. In 1928 at the age of 19, Jim Rielly appeared as Santa Claus for a family living in an abandoned chicken coup. For more than 60 years, he would visit various orphanages, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, churches, charitable organizations, military bases and the State House. As Santa Claus, he traveled by helicopter, plane, Coast Guard vessel and sleigh to bring joy, laughter and cheer to literally hundreds of thousands of people. Accepting no payment for his appearances, his only fee requirement was that we share the true meaning of Christmas by loving one another. Close to his heart were those occasions when he spent time at the homes with mentally and physically handicapped children. In 1970, the town of Bristol named a street in his honor, Rielly Lane, and in 1975 the town dedicated the James D. Rielly bench at Rockwell Park. In 1979, the United States Senate entered his name into the Congressional Record for his kindness to people as “James D. Rielly, A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island.” And on December 22, 2010, James D. Rielly was honored posthumously as one of the inaugural inductees into the prestigious International Santa Claus Hall of Fame in Santa Claus, Indiana. Today, at the entrance of Bristol’s Town Hall, hangs an oil painting of Jim Rielly; welcoming visitors to his beloved town as Bristol’s unofficial Ambassador. James D. Rielly died on November 26, 1991 at the age of 83.
  16. 11 points
    The Empty Workshop by John Gable What’s in Santa’s workshop? Let’s take a look around. They should be busy making toys, But no elves can be found. One should hear tiny hammers, See bouncing balls and bears, But all the shelves are empty, The tables and the chairs. There’s not a doll or train in sight. No jump ropes or toy cars. No Jack-in-boxes, building blocks, Toy drums or toy guitars. Perhaps we should be worried At this toy making reprieve, But for tonight we’ll worry not For this is Christmas Eve! The toys are packed and ready Up there on Santa’s sleigh. Tonight we rest , and then start work For next year’s Christmas Day!
  17. 11 points
    An International Group with members in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. We are a Brotherhood of like minded men that feel truly called to spread the joy of Christmas to children and adults alike. Our Mission Statement: The primary objective and purpose of this Association is to provide opportunities for its members to enjoy social interaction, to promote the positive image of Santa and to serve the community by providing Santas for as many community service groups and organizations as possible. We seek to enhance the spirit of Christmas and the joy of being Santa by fostering the spirit of fellowship among our members with social gatherings throughout the year. www.IBRBS.com
  18. 10 points
    Here's my Santa Claus promo video for 2016!


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