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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

January 2012

Volume 4, Issue 1

Welcome 2012!

By Michael Rielly

Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of the ClausNet Gazette for 2012!

Normally, we like try to get the newsletter out the first week of every month, but like all of you, the last couple of weeks of December are pretty busy for me.

First off I would like to thank you all for being part of this community! With over 2,500 subscribers to the ClausNet Gazette, 1,037 Facebook Fans, and as of today 1,300 registered members on, we are by far, the world's largest -- not to mention friendliest -- Santa Claus community!

We have a lot planned for this coming year. As always, we try to keep ClausNet fresh, fun, entertaining, and informative. Look for several new features coming online over the course of 2012!

As always, please feel free to contact us with your comments, suggestions, or gripes. Also, if you have a product, event, or a story you would like to include in an upcoming issue, let us know!!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Santa gives back to place that turned life around

Reading Eagle -- It took 47 years, but Craig P. Berry of Sinking Spring finally got to be Santa Claus at the YMCA of Reading & Berks County Christmas dinner for homeless people and their family and friends.

"I saw the kids having so much fun at the last Christmas party and thought that would be pretty cool," said Berry, who works at the YMCA as a case manager assistant with four different programs run by the Y to help people with substance abuse problems. "I asked if I could be Santa Claus because seeing the happiness on the faces of these kids who don't have anything is pretty cool."
Read More »

Christmas Train Adventure a success

Press-Enterprise -- In December, more than 200 kids gathered at the Metrolink station in San Bernardino for BNSF Railway's Annual Christmas Train Adventure. Organized by Arrowhead United Way, the event brought together children from 10 area non-profit organizations that support underprivileged families.

Highlighted by a free, holiday-themed ride in a Christmas-decorated train, the event also featured live music, singing, gifts, balloon animals and magicians. Yet the event's most popular feature was the traditional visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, who brought gift bags and stuffed animals for every child in attendance.
Read More »

Woman?s Daughters and Parents Killed in Connecticut Fire

NY Times -- The three children and the parents of a well-known advertising executive were killed when a predawn fire tore through the family?s Victorian house in a neighborhood overlooking Long Island Sound.

Property records show that the house was owned by the executive, Madonna Badger, 47; Ms. Badger and a family friend managed to flee from the house, her screams for help overheard by neighbors who were awakened by the fire.

Ms. Badger?s three young daughters and her parents died in the blaze, Sgt. Paul Guzda of the Stamford Police Department said. A relative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Ms. Badger?s three children were Lily, 9, and Grace and Sarah, 7-year-old twins.

Neighbors recounted a chaotic scene as flames engulfed the house and firefighters tried to rescue those inside.

?My whole life is in that house,? Ms. Badger shouted repeatedly, as she was led away by firefighters, according to a neighbor, Charles Mangano, who said he was 15 feet away from her.

Ms. Badger was taken to Stamford Hospital; a supervisor there said that she was released Sunday night. Her friend, a contractor who was doing work on the house, was also taken to the hospital; his condition was not disclosed.
Read More »

Steve Jobs becomes an action figure

ToyNews Online -- The 30cm action figure (one sixth scale) features a detailed recreation of Steve Jobs' face on a 'highly articulated' body.

For the princely sum of $99.99 Jobs comes with his trademark black turtleneck, blue jeans and a pair of New Balance 991 trainers (and a belt and some socks to go with).

A stool and cardboard stage backdrop are included for recreating those famous keynote speeches, as are three pairs of interchangeable hands.
Read More »

Toy firms spoil movie plots?

ToyNews Online -- Artwork for the upcoming line of The Amazing Spider-Man Mega Bloks sets seem to have unveiled certain details of the movie.

The provisional packaging for three of the licensed construction sets appear to confirm previously rumored locations and scenarios from the film.
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Now Air Swimmers feature on The One Show

ToyNews Online -- The Air Swimmers shark and clown fish have become regulars on the small screen over the last few months and their latest appearance was on The One Show: Best of 2011, which aired on Friday December 30th.

Between presenting the best clips from the year, presenter Matt Baker and Alex Jones were opening presents from celebrity friends in the studio. One of which was a shark Air Swimmer, which Jones was seen steering around the studio.
Read More »

December sees first retail sales growth for seven months

ToyNews -- However sales are considered poor when compared to last year. Retail sales volumes grew in the year to December for the first time in seven months. However, research group the CBI said the sales poor this time of year. 41 per cent of companies saw sales increase on last December with 32 per cent reporting a fall, giving a 9 per cent balance.
Read More »

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Featured Member - January 2012

Each month, our Featured Member section profiles one ClausNet member.

Members are chosen totally at random by myself and the staff. Once selected as the ClausNet Featured Member of the Month, we interview the candidate and post the interview on This is a great way to get to know your fellow ClausNet members!

This month our featured ClausNet Member is MsCookieMaker!

I am happy to announce our first ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for 2012 is MsCookieMaker!

DeAnn aka ?MsCookieMaker? first joined us here on back in July of 2009. For those of you that don't know, DeAnn is Phil's better half. DeAnn is a wonderful Mrs. Claus and I had the pleasure of meeting her and Phil for the first time back in September 2008 at the Midwest Santa Workshop and Get Together.

ClausNET Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with the Legendary Mrs. Claus a few weeks back. Here's what she had to say...
Read the entire interview »

Missed an interview? Visit our Featured Members of the Month section to read past interviews!

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Santa Claus' 2011 'State of the Pole' Address

By Elf Without Jingles

Greetings, dear friends and fellow Believers throughout the Cosmos!

Once more, the time has come to journey back to the year just now concluded, to bring to you our annual assessment of the State of the Pole --- and, surprisingly enough, 2011 has proven to be the most routine business-as-usual year I've ever experienced! And it delights me to say that it could not have happened at a more magical time...

But it is also a time to look ahead as well. As you all know, the New Year begins in a few days; and, with the coming of 2012, the world will shortly cast its eyes upon London, England --- where, for the first time since 1948, and for the third time in its history overall, the United Kingdom of Great Britain will accept the challenge of welcoming athletes from more than 170 nations to the Games of the Thirtieth Olympiad. Will all this have a profound influence on Christmas, you ask?

I believe so.

For once again, History has begun to catch up with the Realm of Forever. As I speak to you even now, events proceed at a pace unparalleled in our Kingdom's time before or since; and, as always, the decisions made by you who have joined us here in our Throne Room tonight will make all the difference.

No one, I think, is more cognizant of this fact than our friends at Bakken in Klampenbourg, Denmark --- the oldest continuously operational amusement park in the world. As the World Santa Claus Congress observes its 55th Annual Session next year, doubtless London 2012 will portray a major role in their celebrations, along with how Britain's vast army of Santas will be able to cope with the coming spectacle of the Games. One can hope that those responsible for these forthcoming 16 days of competition, beginning on the weekend of July 27th, will properly recognize the spirit of the holiday season long after the Olympic Flame has been extinguished on the evening of Sunday, August 12th.

But before all that, we must consider the spring of 2012 --- and the two other significant events here in our Kringleverse which I must share with you. While both are scheduled to take place prior to the 55th Congress at Bakken, they're just as deserving, I think, of recognition for the greater benefit of all of us here in the Realm.

The first of these two events will once again see Gatlinburg, Tennessee awash in Santas, Mrs. Clauses, Elves, Helpers, Reindeer friends and other interested colleagues. They're calling it ClausFest 2012 --- and I'm certain that we gathered here in the Throne Room tonight will look to March 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st for what we think will be one of this coming springtime's more interesting Santa-related events.

Except, of course, for the weekend of April 19th, 20th and 21st. This time, the location will be the appropriately named Santa Claus, Indiana --- and this 3-day interactive forum, offered to all Santas worldwide, free of charge, is called the Jim Yellig Santa Claus Workshop. Here, our dear friends, Pat and Philip Koch and Mrs. Jane Holland --- all of whom have their special connections to the life and times of Raymond James Yellig --- will join the assembled delegates for a full weekend of make-overs, fellowships, vendor exhibitions ..... and even a Santa Claus Film Festival!

Please join Vivianne and myself as we salute the organizers of these two delightful events which, I hope, will shed new light into the odyssey and wonder of the Christmas spirit --- a spirit that can only burn bright if it is safeguarded, defended and cherished by all of us!
Read more »

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The Merry Network Update


By Jeff Westover

We take Santa Claus seriously. We believe in his goodness and we believe in his historical reality. We believe Santa Claus is a role model for children and adults. And we believe he should be represented and portrayed responsibly.

For those who believe as we do we present this resource as a means of helping families find safe and appropriate Santa representation on the Internet.

Santa was developed before Christmas 2011 as a public service of Merry Network LLC, a developer of websites located in Sandy, Utah. Merry Network operates a family of 35+ holiday related websites coupled with roughly 15 affiliates that service the largest Christmas audience on the Internet. Merry Network runs four of the busiest online year-round Christmas communities, two year-round Christmas radio stations and dozens of Christmas-related resources that have been developed and nurtured for over 20 years.

While is managed and produced by, a Merry Network LLC property, it is actually the work of many individuals connected to the Santa Claus community online. More than 60 individuals, most of them parents, were recruited to assist in the ongoing efforts to find and rate Santa resources online. Over time, we will develop an advisory board of key individuals to oversee the ongoing development of to keep it fresh and relevant.

Learn more at:

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Santa-America News

Happy New Year from all of us at Santa America!

By Santa Bob Elkin

We hope each of you had a busy and fulfilling season. I am sure each of you collected a lot of smiles from the children and the adults. I hope all of you had some memorable and special experiences this year, perhaps some of these were visiting with one or two of the thousands of special needs children in our midst.

We had hoped to be able to compile some reviews of the progress Santa America has experienced during 2011, but time was not available, hopefully in next month's edition of the ClausNet Gazette, we will be able to provide you with a detailed report.

Santa America Santas were called on to provide several Christmas visits to some very sick little children and we thank each of you for those referrals. We also did our best to offer help, guidance, suggestions to those Santa's also called on to visit the very sick children. We are certainly mindful that you are not required to be a Santa America Santa in order to provide a Santa visit to a very sick child and will offer SA assistance to any Santa who asks us. It is, when all is said and done, only about the children...

Collecting smiles with Love, Hope and Joy!

For more information about Santa-America, contact:

Santa-America, Inc.
Santa Bob Elkin
Vice President, Santa Relations
Vice President, Disaster Relief for Children

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What separates a hobby Santa from one that does this as a business

By Santa Gordon

To perform in any corporate setting such as a Mall or any retail business, there is now a demand for insurance by the business you will be performing in/at. If you work for a photo company you will have to provide a background check as well. It is the way they do business and is in no way a comment upon you personally.

Like your suit and boots, these two pieces of paper are part of what you need to have to perform as Santa in those environments. Depending on the company, you may have to provide them as you are an independent contractor dealing directly with the business OR the photo company covers the expense for you with their coverage and does the background check as well. In this case these are only valid for working while employed by that company.

There was a time, 30 years ago, when you did not need these forms to perform as Santa but because of problems with child molesters, folks suing the business or mall because Santa did something inappropriate, and the possibility for injuries while handling small children insurance is now demanded of those of us that want to perform in this arena. Don't want to take that step up into the mall or department store Santa leagues? You can still manage to get nice work doing private party work but if anything happens to dissatisfy the customer or one of the guests, you can still find yourself sued. Insurance relieves you of that worry.
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Santa Claus Hall of Fame

Each month we feature an inductee of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we profile William "Bill" Strother.

Bill StrotherMiller & Rhoads Department Store hired former Hollywood stunt man Bill Strother to fill Santa's big red suit in 1942. Strother brought with him many techniques from Hollywood and made the Miller & Rhoads Santa Claus a symbol of the Christmas season.

His makeup, designed by the famous Max Factor, took Strother about two hours to put on, and he was, without a doubt, the most realistic Santa Claus ever seen.

In addition, he devised a special Santa act. After appearing out of a chimney, he received children on his lap and by use of a concealed throat-mike on an assistant, was able to address each child by name. No act at any theater in Richmond ever drew the crowds, adults as well as children that flocked to see this Santa Claus appear out of a chimney.

Bill Strother not only became the most famous Santa Claus in the history of Virginia, he was also the world?s highest paid Santa Claus according to an article in the Saturday Evening Post in 1951.

"The role of a department store Santa is to entertain the children, but here at Miller & Rhoads we strive to create an experience that will last a lifetime."

William "Bill" Strother
Miller & Rhoads Legendary Santa Claus
1896 - 1957

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

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