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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/17/2019 in all areas

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 2 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 2 points
    Common sense can escape us all when our livelihoods are in jeopardy. Thank God Granddad kept his wits about him.
  10. 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.
  11. 2 points
    Something about "not seeing the forest for the trees."
  12. 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...
  13. 2 points
    And no matter what you earn as Santa doesn't stop you from being charitable, does it?
  14. 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.
  15. 1 point
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful news with us. Always great hearing about wonderful things going on!!!
  16. 1 point
    Thank you so much for your comments. It's all true. Interesting to me how many fine stories seem to revolve around the holidays. Maybe its the mood people feel then, the spirit of the season? Seems so to me. Many fond memories from long ago, and even recently.
  17. 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
  18. 1 point
  19. 1 point
    This is exactly the stuff wonderful memories are made from. Thanks for sharing!
  20. 1 point
    Awesome topic, thanks for bringing it up. As a 1st season Santa myself I was constantly thinking about that type of scenario every time I suited up last season and what would I do. Very interested in hearing opinions cause I know what I’d like to do, but what should I do?
  21. 1 point
    Wonderful story, thanks for sharing it for us to enjoy!
  22. 1 point
  23. 1 point
    that was fun - thanks for sharing
  24. 1 point
    These are very helpful and logical suggestions and I will gather more information as I research my Santa rights.
  25. 1 point
    Ah, the good old days. Thanks for sharing.
  26. 1 point
    For the future, perhaps you should discuss this very situation with the site management or whomever is in charge of the event to see how they would like it approached. In my opinion, Santa should not be involved if it is happening in the moment. Santa should, however, give his perspective after his time in the chair is over, temporarily or for the day, and he is out of public view.
  27. 1 point
    I think you have to consider who your client is.
  28. 1 point
    It's been awhile try again . . . "Only a story my gran used to tell us, sir. Back home in Ireland. She used to say that on Christmas Eve the veil between this world and the next thins out. And that’s when the spirits cross over, and walk among us."
  29. 1 point
    The article shows it's bias straight away by using the word 'rake' as opposed to the neutral non judgmental 'earn'.
  30. 1 point
    Not sure why anybody would pay $200-$300 for a custom Santa belt and buckle when a high-quality hand-made 3" leather belt with solid brass buckle can be had for $60 plus postage, and a 4" belt with stainless steel buckle for $72. Shoot, a leather belt to fit one's own buckle can be had for $52-$64. Now if you get into fancy hand-made buckles it can get expensive, but how much does one need to spend to hold up one's pants? Maybe Forbes just doesn't know where to look?
  31. 1 point
    Hoping they find the financial backing needed to keep doing your cities parade. Unfortunately I’m hearing more and more Christmas events getting scraped from city budgets. Our local parade route was cut in half last year and it was a total disappointment. Cheers to better news coming!
  32. 1 point
    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
  33. 1 point
    '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
  34. 1 point
    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.
  35. 1 point
    Read the article and see who they are interviewing. That should tell you everything...
  36. 1 point
    Last year, my daughter and grandson called to invite me to join them for a local Christmas parade in their town. This town really knows how to celebrate Christmas! Even though I am a real bearded Santa, I still went and we had a great time watching all the wonderful floats go by, decorated with lights and tinsel and all manner of design. But when Santa and his sleigh came by, Santa just sat there, nary a wave, barely a smile. Then recently, I was paging through a talent agency website looking at various Santas represented by that agency. I’ve got to say, there are a quite a few of us I would not hire if I was looking for someone to appear at my party. I’ve been a Santa now for 10 years and every year have worked hard to improve my appearance and talents. I was a commercial photographer for 37 years before I retired. In that job, I not only had to learn to use a camera and design a photograph, but since I also worked with models (often amateurs), I had to learn how to direct them to get the best shot. When I photographed someone in a shot that demanded a mood of ‘excitement’, I studied what other artists and photographers had done to show that. I directed and worked with the models to get gestures and moods and expressions like happiness, joy, sadness, depression, anger and so on from them. I was prepared for what looks I needed to inspire when I walked into my studio or on set. And over time, it became second nature to me to coax various expressions from my models to even get images that were not planned but still became great shots. I use those skills I learned as a photographer and director. As Santas, we too need to do this. We need to look at what photographers and models have done with expression to get such wonderful shots. And I don’t mean just Santas photos either. The best sources I have had through the years was Lucille Ball and Dick Van Dyke. These two actors had rubber faces and knew how to engage their audiences. They could instantly transform their faces and gestures from that of someone who was being sneaky to one of laughter to embarrassment. I encourage you to create a file of fabulous faces and practice them in the mirror yourself! Think through the kind of engagements you have had with children and what great expression would have made the visit for them AND the picture even greater! Of particular note, practice and learn facial expressions such as joy, surprise, a great laugh, empathy, and even sadness and compassion. Learn them and use them regularly even in the off season. It isn’t just about facial expression either. Learn to use your hands and gestures to further enhance your look! Again, watch what the great pros have done. Perhaps most important is pay close attention to your visitor and learn to give a great Santa expression that meets the situation. I’ve learned to do that even when I am in the same chair for 5 to 8 hours visiting with hundreds of children. I even tell my photographers to be ready to shoot because the interactions come fast. I want those parents to leave with a picture of Santa and their child that they will really cherish and say, “That was the best Santa we ever had!” Now I realize that facial expressions and gestures are not really the ultimate goal. The real goal is to fully engage with the child or visitor if even for just a minute. Several years ago, I had an 11 year old girl come to visit me. She was a delight in every way: beautiful and bubbly and every bit engaging. She wore an absolutely beautiful Christmas dress of red velvet and white fur. We talked for a couple minutes. I complimented her on her beauty and dress and she told me how she was doing and what she wanted for Christmas. Mom took several pictures with her camera of us just talking and my reactions to what her daughter was telling me (surprise, joy and happiness and laughter…). A few days later, Mom came back by the set to get my email so she could send me some of her pictures (she loved them!). As I gave it to her, she was telling me more about her daughter and I learned her daughter was dying of leukemia. I didn’t have to put on a expression at that point. It was truly there. A couple of days before Christmas, Mom and Dad brought their daughter to visit with me again. I recognized her immediately. We had a delightful time together that time as well. But I believe what brought her back was her first visit with Santa. I had made the first visit such a delightful time and Mom had taken so many fun pictures that this time, they wanted the whole family photographed with Santa. This past year, I have been mentoring a man who decided to become a Santa. He is a great fellow and our friendship has deepened significantly. He has a truly great chuckle and very white hair and long beard. He has spent a small fortune having a custom suit, belt, buckle, boots and such made. All well and good. The man who becomes Santa is all about giving of himself to bless those who come to him. My friend will make a great Santa! All things considered, it isn’t the suit, it’s the man!
  37. 1 point

    From the album: Eileen Strom - Stuff I have, make, etc

    Another LSS member wanted a vest like the one I made for Dave, but with different embroidery on the pockets.
  38. 1 point

    From the album: Eileen Strom - Stuff I have, make, etc

    Gold lining and Snowflake Buttons
  39. 0 points
    A good Santa Claus can rake in $15,000 for the season By Jade Scipioni December 10, 2018 FOXBusiness EXCERPT: It might not be the easiest gig in the world, dealing with massive crowds of kids – some of which end up crying on your lap – but being a Santa Claus for hire could be extremely lucrative. According to Mitch Allen, partner at HireSanta LLC, a company that places hundreds of Saint Nicks throughout the U.S., most Santas typically rake in around $2,000 to $15,000 per holiday season, starting around Thanksgiving and ending on Christmas Day. “Most make $3,000 to $7,000, but it really varies based on how much Santa wants to work and the type of work he wants to do,” Allen told FOX Business, adding that many Santas may see a big boost this year due to the economy. “We have seen a dramatic influx of requests this year than last year,” he added, while noting that the hourly rates have unfortunately remained the same from last year. Walt Frasier, a freelance Santa from New York, said he made around $7,000 for the month last year combining all his corporate, public and private home appearances. “[I typically charge] $150 to $250 an hour depending on the day and time. On Christmas Eve, I charge $300 an hour and as much as $500 for Christmas Day,” he told FOX Business last December. Lynn Allen, aka Santa Allen, who has been a professional Kris Kringle for nearly 10 years in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, wouldn’t disclose how much he makes in a season but said he is on the higher end of the pay scale. “I work about five days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The number of hours varies greatly, from more than 12 hours on Saturdays to just a few on the weekdays,” Allen said, adding that he avoids traditional mall work altogether to focus on higher-paying private and corporate events. “My ideal client is an event that needs a performing Santa, a larger-than-life Santa with a magical look. I work with many large event planning companies that use Santa in their productions,” he added. The biggest reason why many opt out on the mall work is because it’s the lowest paying. According to a survey from Payscale last December, mall and department store Santas make around $30 an hour on average, with the high-end earners making as much as $75 an hour. Allen, whose company debuted on ABC’s “Shark Tank” earlier this month and has been picked up by investor Barbara Corcoran, said the reason mall Santas get paid significantly less is because they typically need their leading men in red for several hours, and most malls can’t fork over premium rates, especially since many are struggling to stay afloat themselves. And, while the pay is good, there are some downsides to pursuing good ol’ Saint Nick as a career. The suit alone could run up to $1,200, and many jobs require that Santa hopefuls go to Santa school, which could run an additional $250 to $500 in expenses. “Good off-the-rack suits are $300 to $500 while custom suits are $700 to $1,200-plus. Most good Santas have a custom belt and buckle that are $200 to $300 and boots are around $100 to $1,000, so it can be expensive. Most professionals would probably say that it’s $1,000 for a suit all-in, and many of them have two to three of them or more,” Allen said. SOURCE: https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/a-good-santa-claus-can-rake-in-15000-for-the-season Edited for News Formatting ## this came out on one of the news sites today I don't like how the article focuses on $$ more than service
  40. 0 points
    This was taken from the organizing committee on Facebook for Parade of Lights in Edmonton Santa's Parade of Lights March 13, 2019 @ 10:07 AM · Edmonton, Alberta "With sad hearts we announce that RWE Events will no longer produce Santa’s Parade of Lights. Thanks to all the sponsors, participants and most importantly, people of Edmonton for their support. We’re proud of our little parade and the joy it brought to so many people." SOURCE: I have been the Santa in this Outdoor Parade since it started in 2015. Of course I feel sad about #1, Edmonton losing a parade (Calgary has not had a parade for 6+ years) #2, That a big emotional thrill is now gone from this Santa's life. (Anyone who does a major parade in a large city, especially a Capital City, can attest to the emotions involved in getting ready for and actually partaking in the annual parade.) I got this email back from the people who have staged this parade in the last 4 years... Hi Carlo, We share your disappointment, believe me. Unfortunately, though, we just couldn’t get the financial commitment we need to keep it going. As you know, Canadian Tire dropped out as title sponsor last year (we don’t know why), and there just isn’t anyone else stepping up. Plus, we applied for a grant from the City and didn’t get it. It is very discouraging that there wasn’t enough support overall in Edmonton for this parade. However, we loved doing it and especially loved working with you every year! We really will miss that! Anyway, I enjoyed our experience last year and at the same time, anything is possible! Someone might step forward and make this happen. But for now, so long! Enjoy your Santa duties elsewhere this year. And remember – if we ever do resurrect the parade, you will be first Santa we call! Take care and thanks for your kind words, Carlo!
  41. 0 points
    Report: Sex offender posed as elf, took photos with kids at PCSSD school Man's arrest comes two months after event at elementary school PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. - A Level 3 sex offender faces a new charge after authorities say he posed as an elf to take pictures with children at a Pulaski county elementary school. Deputies arrested Joshua Duvall on Wednesday. According to a report filed with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, Duvall dressed as an elf and went with a man dressed as Santa to a photo event at Lawson Elementary on Dec. 18. The man dressed as Santa was known to school staff and is a grandprent of a student at the school, the report states. On Dec. 21, a parent notified the school's principal that the man dressed as an elf was a known sex offender. The principal reported this information to PCSSD security officers, but "no actions were taken" until Feb. 8 when the principal notified deputies on campus and filed a report with them, according to the sheriff's office. The sheriff's office says a warrant was issued for Duvall. He faces a charge of being a registered offender on a school campus, according to court records. The sheriff's office report indicates that Duvall should not have been allowed to be at the school. The Pulaski County Special School District addressed the issue for the first time on Thursday. PCSSD Superintendent Dr. Charles McNulty did not make himself available for an interview, but released the following statement through a district spokesperson: "Protecting children is of utmost importance at Pulaski County Special School District. To that effect, it is PCSSD policy that any individual who wishes to interact with students in a volunteer capacity must fill out a volunteer application. Those volunteer applications are run through a background check. This event in December fell outside of our normal process of vetting personnel that we allow on district property. We will insure that all processes are followed as we move forward. Jessica Duff, Executive Director of Communications for PCSSD, is drafting a district memo to be shared with administrative staff and PTO presidents advising of them of the policies when it comes to volunteers in any PCSSD school." The following quote from McNulty was also a part of the prepared statement: “Sadly, we live in a time where past practices to ensure our students' safety cannot be limited to just our school personnel and volunteers. We will work diligently with our partners to provide that same umbrella of protection for all events." We spoke to the man dressed as Santa by phone. He told us he was not aware of Duvall's sex offender restriction. He says he and Duvall have been friends for years and Duvall has helped him set up haunted houses in the area. In the report filed by the sheriff's office, the man dressed as Santa says he only sees Duvall "around Halloween and Christmas time."
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