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January 2013

Volume 5, Issue 1


Happy New Year ClausNet!
Happy New Year everyone and welcome to the first edition of of the ClausNet Gazette for 2013! May this new year be happy, healthy, and prosperous for you and your loved ones!

My apologies for getting this out so late. Seem like a lot of things really start to pile up in December for some reason.

This year marks the ClausNet Gazette's Fifth Year online! Hard to believe, I know. It does not seem that long ago that I started putting together this newsletter.

Last month we also saw another milestone. The ClausNet community welcomed our 1,500th registered member! Looking back a year ago, we had just welcomed our 1,300th member.

We have lot's of things happening on This month, we have our Live Chat session on January 19 at 9:00PM (EST). I'd like to thank Santa Brian for organizing our Monthly Chat sessions. He's done a great job managing these events!

I hope you enjoy this month's issue. As always, if you have any gripes, comments, or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Holiday World names Matt Eckert as President and CEO

Courier and Press -- While growing up in Eckerty, near Patoka Lake in Southern Indiana, a highlight of each summer for young Matt Eckert was a visit to Holiday World and Splashin' Safari.

"It has been, and always will be, a great place for families," he said on Tuesday, after accepting his appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer, by order of the park's Board of Directors.

Eckert, a staff member of the park since 2000, and a former Arthur Andersen & Co. accountant in Indianapolis, added that he plans no significant changes to the park.

"The park has been on a tremendous ride for the last few years in terms of expansion and guest visitation. That is definitely something that I want to see continue."

Eckert went on to say that, as the park continues to grow, the geographical region for marketing it will expand beyond the current focus on Louisville, Nashville, Indianapolis and Evansville.

The post ions Eckert now holds were in the hands of Will Koch until Koch unexpectedly passed away in a 2010 drowning incident. Since then, Dan Koch, Will's brother, has filled in as acting president. Dan Koch now plans to return to his law practice in Florida.
Read More »

Canadian Buses Under Fire for Saying Merry Christmas

Defend Christmas -- The City of Saskatoon received a vociferous complaint about the ?Merry Christmas!? greeting running across the top reader boards on city busses.

According to local media an activist named Ashu Solo declared the signs ?inappropriate? and ?discriminatory?.

The matter has been referred to a city committee on diversity and race relations for study.

?It makes many feel that Christianity is the religion of Canada,? Solo told the committee.

?It makes people feel like they have to be Christian.? A city council debate on the issue featured a reminder from the city mayor that the city of Saskatoon was founded 130 years before based on Christianity, a viewpoint that drew some criticism.
Read More »

Sealed Under Turkish Mud, a Well-Preserved Byzantine Chapel

New York Times -- In the fourth century A.D., a bishop named Nicholas transformed the city of Myra, on the Mediterranean coast of what is now Turkey, into a Christian capital. Nicholas was later canonized, becoming the St. Nicholas of Christmas fame. Myra had a much unhappier fate.

After some 800 years as an important pilgrimage site in the Byzantine Empire it vanished ? buried under 18 feet of mud from the rampaging Myros River. All that remained was the Church of St. Nicholas, parts of a Roman amphitheater and tombs cut into the rocky hills.

But now, 700 years later, Myra is reappearing. Archaeologists first detected the ancient city in 2009 using ground-penetrating radar that revealed anomalies whose shape and size suggested walls and buildings.

Over the next two years they excavated a small, stunning 13th-century chapel sealed in an uncanny state of preservation. Carved out of one wall is a cross that, when sunlit, beams its shape onto the altar. Inside is a vibrant fresco that is highly unusual for Turkey.
Read More »

False News of Bill O?Reilly Punching Santa Fools Haters

Defend Christmas -- The Daily Currant is not a serious news website. That does not stop the world from reporting what they read there as actual news.

On December 26th The Daily Currant posted a story about Bill O?Reilly getting arrested for punching out a Macy?s Santa Claus on Christmas Eve for saying ?Happy Holidays? to him.

Like everything posted at the parody website, it was not true. But that does not seem to stop the O?Reilly haters from, well, hating more.

The Twitter universe is alive today with plenty of heat for Bill O?Reilly, as reported at It just goes to show how ridiculous the other side in the War on Christmas can be, too.

O?Reilly is guilty of plenty of his own War on Christmas sins. But I can just imagine the phone call he got from his mother this week. ?Billy, did you really punch out Santa??.
Read More »

Santa Claus Hall of Fame honors High Point's Cliff Snider -- As Santa Claus, Snider has been delighting children for half a century.

Fifty years after Cliff Snider first began portraying Santa Claus, the 65-year-old High Point man has just been given the Christmas gift of a lifetime ? induction into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame.

Appropriately located in Santa Claus, Ind., the Hall of Fame will host a brief ceremony this morning to announce six new inductees, including Snider, into its prestigious ranks.

?I?m honored and yet humbled,? said Snider, who will become the first North Carolinian to be inducted. ?I could name a dozen Santas I know who are more qualified than I am. And then I look at the status of the other people who?ve already been inducted, and it?s such an honor to be among them.?

Snider will be formally recognized as a new inductee in March, during an annual Santa Claus workshop that takes place in Santa Claus, Ind. Previous inductees include the likes of Charles W. Howard, founder of the world-famous Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, and Edmund Gwenn, who won an Oscar in 1947 for his portrayal of Kris Kringle in ?Miracle on 34th Street.?

This year?s class of inductees also includes beloved actor Mickey Rooney ? who played Santa Claus in the animated Christmas classics ?Santa Claus Is Comin? To Town? and ?The Year Without A Santa Claus? ? but most inductees are men like Snider, who embody the Santa persona throughout the year in communities across the country.

Snider, who was nominated by a group of his peers, is being recognized not only for his longevity as jolly ol? St. Nicholas, but also for his emphasis on the spiritual side of Christmas.

He often promises to pray for children he meets, and sometimes he even prays with them as they sit in his lap.

?Cliff has a very strong conviction for keeping Christ in Christmas,? said fellow Santa Phil Wenz, a Hall of Fame spokesman (and previous inductee).

?He understands the true meaning of Christmas, and Santa is just a vehicle for him to bring that peace, love and joy. And it always comes from his heart ? he?s really kept his conviction to keeping the true message of Christmas in his Santa performance.?.
Read More »

Hasbro to launch Bejeweled games

ToyNews Online -- Hasbro is joining forces with PopCap Games in a deal which will see some of its hit properties transformed into 'physical' product.

The first fruits of the agreement will be two games based on PopCap's Bejeweled, which has sold more than 50 million digital units worldwide - due to launch in the spring.
Read More »

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Featured Member - January 2013

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 Santa Chris Capstone!

Our first Featured Member of the Month for 2013 is our very own Santa Chris Capstone.

Located in Tulsa Oklahoma, Chris joined ClausNet back in November of 2011. In addition to Santa Claus, Chris also performs as Capstone The Magician and Hobo Joe The Clown. This is Chris?s second year performing Santa Claus professionally.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We spoke with Chris a few weeks ago and here is what he 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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Cowboy Poem

By Santa Laureate

On a cowhands wages its kinda hard to buy Christmas gifts and Christmas cards. So for friends, family,boss and crew, this is what an ole cowhand will do.

He will whittle from a cottonwood bough a slingshot for his nephew and how. He will take a deer hide line it with fleece Make a pullover vest for his niece. He'll weld up used horseshoes and make a hat rack hang it in the bunkhouse for Tim, Nate N Mack.

He make a big wreath from a scotch pine tree and hang it on the main gate for passerbys to see. For the head wranger he'll get him a quirt. Last year he got him a shirt. For the Boos and his Lady, He'll get them something too. Sos all he has left is wishing A MERRY CHRISTMAS to you.

For more information, visit:
Show us YOUR Christmas »

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The beard is gone!

By Santa John in WV

Several months ago I had a conversation with my wife that had become pretty intense.

"Just once," she said, "I would like to have dinner with John and not Santa."

Between her words and so many eye opening events and lessons throughout 2012, I learned that not only did I want to do more in my life in other areas that perhaps I had neglected, but I also learned and felt how important it is to maintain and keep the magic of Santa sacred and somewhat secret.

Now, based on the response of my last blog entry where I announced my intentions I came away with the feeling that folks believed that if I shaved I would no longer be Santa. That is the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, for me it goes towards the opposite. I shave so I can be a better Santa.

As someone who is active in the community and who gives back to it, I can give and do things as both Santa and myself. And if I would ever (not planning to) slip up then Santa doesn't get tarnished. I am free to do things even as Santa discreetly as was St. Nicholas' original design.

Still, in a world where Santas are seen everywhere all the time (and not just in December) I personally feel that we do an injustice to children and to the magic of Christmas by mere overkill.

In my community I have been given the honor of being the Town Santa. Well, as such I want to make it as special as I can for the children. I don't want them to see me everyday and then turn around and say mundanely"Oh, that's just Santa" at Christmas because seeing Santa isn't special. I want them to have the magical visits that I remember having.

My mentor, Jay Long, never grew a beard. None of us need one, truly, because if we are truly Santa then the whiskers do not matter. What matters is the heart behind it. I have a lot of heart to give to this community, both Santa and my home one. Most importantly I gave a gift to my wife.

Last weekend I had an appointment with the stylist. As I have been cast as the Duke of Clarence for a production of Richard III by Shakespeare I am now sporting my natural color of hair and a matching goatee and mustache.

The beard is gone and I actually feel much better about the anonymity for this Santa Claus. As an actor, musician, minister and public volunteer I know and have already experienced doors opening.

As for Santa, the doors are open and all of my clients from the past year are positive about the transition. My heart is in the right place and they all know it.

New Years Eve was a special evening for my wife and I. As we sat at dinner I looked into her eyes and reminded her about what she had said those months ago.

"Here is your chance," I teased her. We smiled at one another and enjoyed the changing of the year together. Never be afraid of change, or a razor. Sometimes the best way to find out how to be better at what you do is by making a change. May we all learn more and spread the magic in our own ways in this new year!
Leave your comment »

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Santa's Wisdom

Confessions of a Santa. Am I the Only One?

By Santa Lou Knezevich

I have to confess. Many times a child will tell me what they want for Christmas and I don?t understand a word they have said! I know that isn?t a nice thing for Santa to say but I just don?t understand them.

I don?t feel I?m hard on my wearing apparel but there is always a lose button or some sewing which needs to be done. I always take my costumes to the dry cleaner during January and February so they are ready whenever needed. I have been using the same dry cleaner for about 6 or 7 years and he knows exactly what to do. Thankfully, I don?t have to worry about the fur turning red or damage to my apparel. It?s very important to find a dry cleaner that will use clean chemicals for your costume to avoid any damage. This is something you want to discuss with the dry cleaner, before you hand over your suits. In the long run doing so will save you time and money.

This is also the time I use to incorporate something new or improve upon things I have been doing. One thing I?m going to work on this season is my story telling. I always tell ?The Night Before Christmas? which is a perfect way to conclude my visit. A few seasons ago I told the story of the ?Polar Express? to a very large group of children and adults at a church?s ?Gingerbread House Night.? The site was at the church hall and trying to hold the attention of children who wanted to finish making their gingerbread house or delve into their candy was not easy. I learned a lesson about knowing your audience and selecting the right material. I would have been better of selecting a shorter story like ?the Night Before Christmas.?

This season I will have a few events for which ?The Polar Express? would be a very suitable story to tell. Children will be a little older and there will be smaller groups. I have small wooden train whistles which I?ll give to a child for sound effects. I also found some ?Polar Express? tickets on line which I printed to pass out as a souvenir of the story. I had bought a conductors hat and I plan to appoint one of the children as the conductor to pass out the tickets and of course say, ?All aboard!? My idea is to involve the children in the story to make it more interesting to them. I also have a small box in which I will put the bell and the note from ?Mr. C? and have a child open it at the end of the story. I know the secret to making this an outstanding story is for me is to practice, practice, practice.

The children will be a little older and it will be easier to hold their attention by getting them involved. I plan to use a magician?s change bag after the story to involve the children and adults. The ?Change Bag? is a very versatile easy trick to master.

Please contact, Santa Glen Heald who can furnish you one which looks like a Christmas stocking and explain how it works.

I plan to go among the children asking each if they believed in the spirit of Christmas. Upon reaching into the stocking they would pull out a bell that rang. I may ask an adult to do the same however, on the first try the bell will not ring. Eventually I?ll ask them to do it again to see if they found the Christmas Spirit. This time to everyone?s delight they will pull out a bell which rings. Using the change bag I will also be able to give each child a souvenir of the ?Polar Express.?

I hope this article will encourage you to expand your story telling or make it a part of your presentation

For more information on the Legendary Santa Mentoring Program, please contact Santa Lou Knezevich.

Santa Lou Knezevich is the creator of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program which furnishes free a 90 page instructional manual to new and seasoned Santas.

For more information on the Legendary Santa Mentoring Program, please contact Santa Lou Knezevich.


Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

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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 honor Tom Valent.

Tom ValentThe town of Midland, Michigan, not only has its very own Santa House but also its very own Santa in the form of Mr. Tom Valent.

Each year he spends his time bringing magic and gladness to children of all ages. Joining him in promoting the true Spirit of Christmas is his Mrs. Claus, Holly.

As a Santa of the highest integrity and ability, Valent?s efforts in the red suit have shared him with many news networks along with countless publications.

Valent is also a renowned educator of Santas through the legendary Charles W. Howard Santa School.

After the tenure of Nate Doan as Dean of the School, Valent took the reins in 1987.

From the Santa House in Midland, Michigan, to many different nations of the world, Valent conducts the Santa Claus School.

He gave the values and lessons that have become the backbone of the School to students from countries including Germany, Ireland, England, America, Norway, Canada, Australia, and many others nations.

Tom Valent
Santa Claus School Traditions
1950 - Current

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

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