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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

January 2014

Volume 6, Issue 1

Happy New Year!

By Michael Rielly

Happy New Year ClausNet!

Welcome to our January 2014 newsletter!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and you managed to find some time in between Santa visits to spend it with your loved ones!

I am very excited about 2014! We have some big plans for ClausNet this year. Look for some major changes coming to our community this year. We are kicking off some of the changes in this newsletter. You may notice, that our monthly newsletter is now sporting a fresh coat of paint and a few more pictures than in the past.

Speaking of our newsletter, if you missed last month's Special 2013 Christmas Eve Edition of the ClausNet Gazette, don't worry! You can download it and all our past Christmas Eve editions in our Newsletter Archive.

I would like to wish all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year! Thank you all for your contributions in making this THE greatest community for Santas, Mrs. Clauses, Elves, and Reindeer Handlers!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

'Rudolph's' Yukon Cornelius, Larry D. Mann, Dies at Age 91 -- Veteran Canadian actor Larry D. Mann, who logged dozens of credits in film and television, died Monday of age-related causes at the age of 91. Mann was perhaps most familiar to audiences as the voice of boisterous prospector Yukon Cornelius in the 1964 holiday classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

It was a family business; his brother, Paul, was a Golden Globe nominee for “America, America” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Mann started out as a DJ in Canada, then graduated to doing commercials.

His acting career spanned four decades, starting in the 1950s with appearances on children’s shows like Canada’s “Let’s See” and “Howdy Doody.” Mann then went on to gain small roles in movies including “The Sting” and “In The Heat of the Night,” as well as TV series including “Hogan's Heroes," "Hill Street Blues," and "Gunsmoke."
Read More »

Santa Claus surprised his arrest at Ontario Walmart went viral

Daily Bulletin -- 73-year-old Karl Hilgert, who was arrested outside of a Walmart Superstore during Black Friday as he was dressed as Santa Claus, did not think that being led away by police in handcuffs would create all that attention far outside the Inland Empire.

"It had been meant to be a local thing," explained Hilgert, speaking from his home at Pilgrim Place, a retirement center for people who are called to careers in religious and/or charitable non profits.

"But it went viral." Hilgert has had ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ since 1964, as well as being a member of both the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers, amongst other memberships and certifications.

Currently, he works with CHAP, the Claremont Homeless Advocacy Program.

But now, Karl Hilgert will probably become known as the Santa Claus who got arrested in the midst of a demonstration. Videos and photos of his arrest were posted and broadcast across the nation.
Read More »

Media Works celebrates 'Toys Through Time'

Toy News Online -- From the remote control cars of the 1960s to the Moshi Monsters of present day, House of Fraser has produced a time line looking back at the best selling toys of the past decades.

The info graphic includes facts, figures and statistics around the sales and popularity of the most sought after toys of each decade, including Rubik's Cubes and Transformers.

The visual also highlights the evolution of the children's wish list to Father Christmas, advancing from the hand-written notes of the 1960s to a child tweeting, critiquing correspondence of present day.
Read More »

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Featured Member - January 2014

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 Johnathan!

Our first Featured Member of the Month for 2014 is our very own Santa Johnathan! Johnathan joined us in December 2011 and has been an active contributor to the community ever since. I wish I had the opportunity to do these interviews in person because what I love most about these interviews, is learning how much we all have in common.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

Aside from the obvious love of being Santa Claus, Johnathan and I have share a lot in common. Music, movies, theater, love of Italian food... HA! Anyway, we caught up with Johnathan a few days 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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Twas The Day After Christmas

By Santa Freeman

T’was the day after Christmas, and all through the house, Every creature was hurtin' even the mouse. The toys were all broken, their batteries dead; Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.

Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, While upstairs the family continued to snore.

And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans, I went into the kitchen and started to clean.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a little white truck, with an oversized mirror.

The driver was smiling, so lively and grand; The patch on his jacket said "U.S. POSTMAN."

With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox. Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.

Bill after bill, after bill, they still came. Whistling and shouting he called them by name: "Now Dillard's, now Broadway's, now Penny's and Sears Here's Robinson's, Levitz's and Target's and Mervyn's. To the tip or your limit, every store, every mall, Now chargeaway-chargeaway-chargeaway all!"

He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work. He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk. He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road, Driving much faster with just half a load.

Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer, "ENJOY WHAT YOU BOUGHT! YOU'LL BE PAYING ALL YEAR!"

Leave your comment »

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What Makes Santa Magical?

By Santa Craig

What is Magical? I think when it comes to Santa and Christmas we all have a version of what constitutes “Magic or Magical”. While Webster defines magical as: a power that allows people (such as witches and wizards) to do impossible things by saying special words or performing special actions: tricks that seem to be impossible and that are done by a performer to entertain people: special power, influence, or skill.

Is this what “Magical” means in terms of Santa and Christmas?

Performing a trick may seem magical, and I guess it would cover part of the definition but slight of hand is not what I am talking about here. Santa shouldn’t pull a rabbit out of his hat or make a coin appear from behind ones ear. I’m sure some of these tricks are cute but does that make Christmas and Santa “Magical”?

In my opinion such stunts water down the image of Santa. To me what makes Santa Magical is the portrayal of a character that makes it seem so real, so lifelike, that even though you know it can’t be possible you think it is. Often times in my portrayal, I find that less is actually more. What do I mean by this? Well, if I come into a visit and light up one childs nose with a red light, then all the rest of them will want that lighted up Rudolph nose as well.

If I come into a house and call a child by name, then everyone to follow will expect this also. Personally speaking I try and avoid these “tricks” and let less be more. Pose questions that gets those little minds thinking. Dangle the proverbial carrot out in front of them just enough to spark initial interest, but leave a lasting question in their minds. To me that is what “Magical” means regarding Santa.

How does Santas reindeer fly? Instead of telling them the whole story, make them (the Children) part of the story. Here is how I do it for this situation. “My reindeer are naturally breed to be flyers, but they need some help. Just like your folks car needs gas, so do my reindeer. So what I want you to do is leave them something to eat on Christmas Eve…do you know what they like?

The responses are limitless now, as the little ones are thinking…you may get grass, or cookies, for answers or corn and carrots. You make the call on what they like to eat, but here is the magical part of it. “Yes, they love oats and corn and carrots, but what really gets them off the ground is “Magical peppermint dust”, you know what that is right?” “NO”, “Haha, let me tell you. Go get yourself a peppermint stick, you know a candy cane. With your folks help, grab one of those zipper bags like you put a sammich in and seal it up. Then take a hammer, or a couple of bricks, or your old number 12’s (lifting my boot up) and crush that candycane into one hundred million, catrillion, quadbillion, tiny shards of candy cane. Break it up until the pieces are as fine as the grains of sand you find at the beach, then sprinkle that magical peppermint dust all over the oats or corn or carrots, and sit it out in your yard.

Now when I arrive at your house and I’m inside putting gifts under your tree, the team will fly down off the roof and eat it. Just like when you eat Skettie, you know how the sauce sticks around your lips, well, haha, that is what happens to the reindeer, it sticks to their whiskers. Then when we are flying over Oklahoma or into Kansas and they need a boost of energy, they take their tongues and lick it right off, like you do that skettie sauce.

It is the way we gesture, the way we emphasis words and phrases, and weave tales that make the Season “Magical.” It is planting the seed of imagination into those minds of wonder that allow the most absurd to become real.

It is all in the presentation and the portrayal that anything is possible and once you hone your skills to perfection anything you say and do becomes Magical to them.

Santa's Wisdom

Happy New Year!

By Santa Lou Knezevich

As we usher in the New Year, it’s a great time to look towards the new Santa Season and reflect upon what has just passed.

So many people are resolving to reduce and I’m sure they are filling the coffers of many workout places and weight loss diet plans. If you are a Santa or Mrs. Claus you may have automatically lost weight by wearing your costumes in 70 degree temperatures while you posed next to a roaring fire place. My season started November 2nd and as of this writing I am about 14 pounds lighter then when I started. Of course I love seeing my doctor in January, just to have him give me an “atta boy Santa” for my weight loss. He may have to sew my mouth shut to keep these pounds off.

As I ready my costumes for the dry cleaner I reminded myself to mention to you, not all dry cleaners are created equal. I mean; a dry cleaner that doesn’t change the cleaning chemicals frequently or properly may just turn your jacket fur pink or red. It’s very disappointing to see reddish fur and a dry cleaner that is going to blame everything but his workmanship. It’s best to discuss your costume with the dry cleaner to determine if they can give you assurances they are experienced and they will do a professional cleaning job. You may also wish to check with other Santas for recommendations and/or their experiences. Keeping your costumes dry cleaned and neatly stored will extend the life of the garment.

This is also a good time for any repairs such as reattaching buttons, new zippers or resizing your hat. I would like to think my large head is getting smaller but that is not the case. It does seem my Santa hats are getting bigger. This year I had to use a “quick fix” of a few safety pins to make sure they stayed on my head. I will definitely be having my hats resized.

January will be a great month to purchase online costumes of various varieties. If you’re not near a seamstress or costume maker, online buying at discounted prices is a great way to add to your wardrobe. Use your imagination by envisioning; adding vestment trim or embroidery to the costume. This will be a great finishing touch to your costume and you will be proud to be in it. This may be just the time to purchase nontraditional costumes such as the “workshop look” or items you want for your ensemble.

We may be heading into January but it’s never too early to be ready for the Santa Season.

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 International Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we honor Phillip L. Wenz.

Phillip L. WenzIf ever there was a man born to be Santa Claus it is Phillip L. Wenz.

As a four-year-old child, he donned his first Santa outfit. By the time he was fourteen he was in his first parade and at the ripe old age of twenty-four, he became the year-round Santa Claus for the iconic Santa’s Village Theme Park in Dundee, Illinois. It is an association he has now had for more than twenty-five years.

Wenz has appeared in nationally televised parades in Chicago and Houston, in TV commercials, and at some of the nation’s largest corporate and civic holiday events.

Mr. Wenz’s resume also includes work in Santa Claus, Indiana at the historic Candy Castle, consulting on Christmas programs, and being a published author. He is considered a leading authority and historian on the Santa Claus legend, history, and folklore.

Wenz is, bar none, one of the most experienced Santas in the world and is the creator of the Santa Claus Oath, which is widely accepted by Santa portrayers across the globe.

Phillip L. Wenz
Santa from Santa’s Village
1962 - Current

Want to learn more?
Visit the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame website.

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