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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

January 2016

Volume 8, Issue 1

Happy New Year!

By Michael Rielly

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful season!

This year we begin our ninth year online. The ClausNet Santa Claus Network has been online since 2007 and we have grown exponentially ever since! As of today we now have over 2,200 registered members with over 3,200 subscribers to our monthly newsletter.

For 2016 we have added several new feature to ClausNet. If you haven’t visited in a while, be sure to check out our new Resources and Dowload sections. We’ve also added a brand new Store as well.

This week we kicked off our annual Picture Contest. This year’s theme is “Crying Babies”. We have a couple of nice prizes in our Prize Closet to give away to the winners. The contest is open to all registered members of So stop by and upload your best (or worst) pictures from 2015.

Thank you all again for making ClausNet THE greatest community for Santas, Mrs. Clauses, Elves, Reindeer Handlers, and Helpers!

I wish you all a very happy and blessed new year! May 2016 bring you and your families prosperity, happiness, and good health!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Orthodox Christmas Day -- In central and eastern Europe, as well as many other places around the world, today is Christmas Day. Orthodox Christians everywhere observe this day, January 7th, without the usual trappings of gift giving or the commercialized Christmas. In fact, Orthodox Christmas Day is usually a serious affair squarely centered on the birth of Jesus Christ and what that means.

Photo: Reuters

Why the different day? That dates back half a millennium when the Julian calendar was swapped for the Gregorian calendar. 11 days were dropped. Many people, especially in rural areas, did not accept the loss of these 11 days and preferred to use the Julian calendar.

Many Orthodox churches recognize the holiday dates according to the Julian calendar. Christmas is still on December 25 in the Julian calendar so the January 7 date is only valid between 1901 and 2100 The Gregorian date for Orthodox Christmas will be January 8 in 2101 if the Julian calendar is still used.

Regardless of the differences in date there are big differences in observance to note as well. It is very religious. There are community processions, midnight masses and constant references to all aspects of the Nativity story.

Orthodox Christmas Day is also a family celebration marked by food and recreational activities — as big a holiday as a holiday can get. Each culture brings a little something different to the table. Community and church leaders figure prominently in these events.
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What the Phrase Merry Christmas Means -- It falls from our lips without much thought: “Merry Christmas!” But what is it we are really saying? In an informal survey conducted recently more than 94 percent of Americans asked thought that the word “merry” meant “jolly”.

Taken in context, many around the world do indeed celebrate a “jolly” Christmas these days. But that contemporary interpretation is not exactly the traditional definition of the word “merry”.

In old England where the phrase originates the word ‘merry’ means pleasant or joyous. Alternatively, the word ‘merry’ also means to drink with great fervor. In some context, it is not a compliment to be described as merry or having made merry. This is one reason why even today in the U.K. the phrase “Happy Christmas” is more preferred over “Merry Christmas”.

In America there is no association with the phrase “Merry Christmas” with any excessive or indulgent behavior. It is intended solely as a greeting.

To wish one a “Merry Christmas” means to wish them well in celebrating a season of festivity or rejoicing. The 16th century carol (English, of course) “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” demonstrates the true meaning of the word ‘merry’ and, ironically, highlights how the word itself is oft times misinterpreted.

The comma after the word ‘merry’ in “God Rest You Merry, Gentleman” separates ‘merry’ from the noun “gentlemen”, thus not making it an adjective to describe those gentlemen. It is instead a command to be joyous, such as “God Keep You Joyous, Gentlemen”. So when we say “Merry Christmas” we are, in fact, wishing one a joyous Christmas season.
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Hasbro countersues over rights to The Game of Life

My Merry Christmas --Hasbro has denied the claims made by the widow of a toy inventor who says her husband created the hit board game The Game of Life.

Last year, Lorraine Markham sued the global toy maker, claiming that her husband Bill had invented the game in 1959 and that she was owed $2million or more in royalties. She said that her husband had struck a deal with another toy inventor, but Hasbro had taken credit for the concept, denying him his legacy.

However, in its first response to the lawsuit, Hasbro denied that Markham created or designed the game and said that his widow has no ownership interest in it. The firm went on to say n court papers that it owns copyrights and other intellectual property rights to the game and its packaging, not Markham.

Hasbro has now countersued, asking a federal judge to declare that it owns the rights to the game that has sold more than 30 million copies, and asking for attorney’s fees. Meanwhile, the other toy inventor Reuben Klamer has said that he is the sole creator of the game and hired Markham to make the game board.

According to Klamer, Markham only made a prototype to which he then made significant revisions before delivering it Milton Bradley, the firm that has since been absorbed by Hasbro. Markham’s lawyer, Lou Solomon, said that for years Hasbro had acknowledged that her husband created the game.

“It’s sad that a big company can try to outspend an inventor of such a valuable game,” said Solomon. The Game of Life was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2010.
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Featured Member - January 2016

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 of the Month is Santa Bob of Tulsa!

Santa Bob joined us only a few short months ago back in March 2015. Since then he has been a valuable contributor to our community. Santa Bob first donned the red suit 3 years ago and has some wonderful stories to share.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa Bob 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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The Story of Rudolph

By Michael Rielly

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen; Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen. But do you recall how the most famous reindeer of all came to be? Surprisingly, many are unaware of the fact that the character of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer actually began as a story book from Montgomery Ward.

While working for Montgomery Ward, copywriter Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939 as an assignment for the company. May penned the story of Rudolph in the style of the poem by Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit From St. Nicholas (T’was The Night Before Christmas).

Over 2.4 million copies of Rudolph's story were distributed by Montgomery Ward in its first year. Sadly, because May created the story of Rudolph as an employee, he did not own the license. However in 1946, in one of the most generous decisions ever made by the head of a large company, Montgomery Ward Chairman Stewell Avery, gave all rights back to Robert May. A year later the mass-market release of the book made the Montgomery Ward copywriter a rich man.
Read more »

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Santa's Wisdom

Every Child and Adult Deserves the Best from You

By Santa Lou Knezevich

I am very disappointed whenever I’m told how someone has witnessed a failed portrayal of Santa. This season, I have heard this mentioned far too often, casting a poor light upon our Santa Community.

We have a growing number of Santa Claus portrayers. Many men entered the Santa ranks seeking additional income with little thought to creating the character. Being Santa looks simple enough! You don’t need a license, diploma or background check. Buy or rent an inexpensive Santa Suit and “presto” you are Santa Claus.

What I hear the most is the lack of personality shown by Santa portrayers. It seems the universal complaint is Santa’s lack of interaction with children and adults. I think this also happens with Santas who have little experience. To be successful at a home visit it takes planning. If you’re a “Mall” Santa you just can’t sit in the chair like a piece of frozen equipment.

The first home visit I ever made was to a large Thanksgiving eve party. Walking up to the door I was panicky and my mind kept asking why and what was I doing here! Ringing the doorbell, I had no idea what to expect and I was scared! The door opened and I was instantly mobbed by children delighted to see Santa. They held my hand and led me to the chair by the fireplace where I heard each Christmas wish.

I had prepared for this event because I was scheduled for one hour. I brought the “Night before Christmas” which I read to all and we all sang some holiday songs. I brought some reindeer ears and red noses and therein evolved one of my trademarks. I made up a skit singing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” using the reindeer ears and noses much to the delight of children and adults.

I learned a very valuable lesson on this visit which is; plan and be prepared to meet the expectations of your audience. “Every child or adult has a mental image of Santa Claus and expectations of what Santa will do or say.” I would be remiss not to mention how important it is to children to hear from Santa if they are on the “Nice or Naughty List.” Every child wants to be on the “Nice List” as it is synonymous with the fulfillment of Christmas wishes.

How important is this? I remember talking to a circle of children and inadvertently missed telling a young boy that he was on the “Nice List.” An adult pointed this out to me as this young boy was crying however; I was able to right my mistake. I vowed I would never forget to tell a child Santa had their name on the “Nice List” in fact; “I have your name at the top of the page so everyone knows what a good (boy or girl) you are!”

When we don’t meet the expectations of our audience they are going to be disappointed and most certainly you will not be called back. You have to interact with everyone and bring to life the image of Santa Claus that they have in their minds. Costuming, make-up are all elements you need to pay attention too. If your costume isn’t presentable you’ll quickly find you aren’t going to receive a call back.

If you’re portraying Santa Claus because of the money and fame, then you have the “cart before the horse.” It appears to me the essence of why there is a Santa and why he brings happiness is lost in how to make money.

There are “Bad Santas” who would have you believe that by paying a fee, and following his methods, you will become “Rich and Famous”. In the end, it is he who made the money from you. You need to perfect your craft and develop a strong customer base, and then the rewards will follow.

Always remember, “It’s not about you, it’s about the children.”

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

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Christmas with the Super-Heroes (1975) DC Treasury Edition

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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 Haddon Sundblom!

Since the artist known as “Sunny” painted the iconic Santa Clauses for the Coca-Cola Company, beginning back in the 1930s, Santa portrayers the world over had tried to emulate the iconic look that he created.

Born to a Swedish family, Haddon Sundblom studied his craft at the American Academy of Art. From there he began to create paintings with such warmth and style that he was a natural choice for many advertising agencies and products, including Coca-Cola.

Sundblom’s Santa solidified the modern image of Santa Claus.In classic red and white, his larger than life representation of the warm, gentle Santa was different to the other interpretations of the time. These vibrant, lifelike paintings were an instant hit with the general public.

Though he is most remembered for these wonderful illustrations, he also created Sprite Boy for the Coca- Cola Company and the famous Quaker Oats Man.

For his works, Haddon Sundblom has a solid place as one of the 20th Century’s most influential painters of popular culture.

Haddon Sundblom
Chicago, Illinois
1899 – 1976

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

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