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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

February 2012

Volume 4, Issue 2


By Michael Rielly

Greetings and welcome to the February 2012 edition of the ClausNet Gazette!

This new year is really starting off with a bang! Three actually! Along with multiple local and regional Santa Claus get togethers this year, there are three major events for Santas, Mrs. Clauses, Elves, and Helpers to meet, greet, and er, eat! :)

Just this past month, the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas held theirFORBS Reunion XVIII in San Diego California. The event was a great success! Here on ClausNet, the mailroom received a very nice email from an unsuspecting spectator:

Dear Santa Helpers, You had your reunion this past weekend in San Diego. I have to say, I had a long weekend with my husband taking a class and it was very stressful. Saturday night my husband had to finish a project at work so I went to take his clothes to the cleaners. On my way, I saw Santa Claus, it put a huge smile on my face and I was very happy. I love LOVE CHRISTMAS! And I guess no matter what time of the year, Santa will always make me happy! Believing in the magic is not only important during Christmas Season but all year long. Thank you for boosting my spirits up and I hope you come back to San Diego for another Holiday break!

To read more about the FORBS event and other happenings, be sure to check in the FORBS Reunion discussion forum. You can also view a few videos and pictures from the event here in this newsletter and on

On deck is the ClausFest 2012 event in Gatlinburg Tennessee on March 18-21. To learn more, check out the ClausFest discussion forum on ClausNet or the ClausFest website:

And warming up in the bullpen, is the Jim Yellig Santa Claus Workshop (JYSCW) in Santa Claus Indiana, April 19-21. To learn more about this event, visit the JYSCW website or the JYSCW discussion forum on ClausNet.

A lot of planning and hard work has gone into putting together these events and other events. I wish I was able to attend all the events I get invited to. I love getting to meet everyone! Hopefully I will have the opportunity meet some of you at an upcoming event!

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

World celebrates 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth

BBC -- At St Mary's Church in Portsmouth, Callow read from David Copperfield, a coming-of-age story about an orphan boy that is largely considered to be Dickens's most autobiographical work.

"I really made the strong decision to come to the place where he was born rather than to Westminster Cathedral where he never wanted to be," actor Callow said, referring to Dickens's desire to be buried at Rochester Cathedral, instead of Westminster Abbey, where he was interred following a public outcry.

Celebrations in Portsmouth began earlier in the day at a ceremony outside the writer's birthplace, where his great-great-grandson, Ian Dickens, laid a wreath.

Ahead of the Westminster Abbey service, Prince Charles and Camilla visited the Charles Dickens museum in Doughty Street - which opened in 1925 in the house where the novelist lived from 1837-1839.

The Westminster Abbey service was attended by a large gathering of the author's descendants and also included readings from actor Ralph Fiennes, biographer Claire Tomalin, and another great-great-grandson, Mark Dickens.
Read More »

?Twas the month after Christmas and the Santas were talking shop -- The scene in Manhattan?s bar and restaurant on Adams Street on Saturday morning was improbable, to say the least. Inside were nearly 20 jolly men with red outfits and long white beards, some of them scarfing down ? you guessed it ? cookies.

The informal gathering is an annual Toledo tradition organized by Tom Pellitieri, a real-bearded 50-year-old Santa Claus from South Toledo.

?It?s a chance for Christmas professionals and volunteers in Ohio and Michigan to get together after our busy season and share ideas on what went well, and what could have gone better,? Mr. Pellitieri said.

Most of the men wore what one described as ?Santa casual,? or ?workshop.? No fur-lined suits or fuzzy caps, although red and white was still a must. Sweaters and vests were popular, maybe some candy-striped stockings for flair.

A couple of the more laid-back Santas even opted for Hawaiian shirts with a surfing Santa print.
Read More »

Lego reveals Lord of the Rings Minifigures

ToyNews Online -- Gandalf, Frodo, Legolas, Pippin, Merry, Samwise Gamgee, Boromir, Aragorn, Gimli, Gollum and many more characters will join the Lego line-up with the launch of the Lord of the Rings line.

To see the full range of pictures, Facebook users can click here, like the Lego page and head to the photos section of the site.
Read More »

US to to airlift all Barbie, Simpsons toys out of Iran -- It is widely believed that US Navy SEAL teams are already on the ground in various cities across Iran, emptying toy shop shelves of the dolls so they can be taken across the border to Iraq and flown back to safety as soon as possible.

The withdrawal of the toys is just the latest in a series of sanctions designed to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The US State Department has said Iran will be allowed to keep ?most? of the stock of Ken dolls they already have, but that no further shipments will be made.
Read More »

Disney changes dress code to allow employees to grow beards

LA Times Blog -- First, they could grow a mustache, just like Walt Disney. Now, they can grow a little more facial hair but not quite enough to be like one of the Seven Dwarfs.

Disneyland announced that it's loosened up its dress code -- known as the "Disney Look" -- to now allow employees to grow more facial hair. Beginning Feb. 3, employees can show up for work with a beard or a goatee without worry, just as long as it's shorter than a quarter of an inch and not a soul patch (a patch of hair just below the bottom lip).
Read More »

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Featured Member - February 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 Sinter Noel!

I am happy to announce our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for February 2012 is Sinter Noel!

Norman, aka Sinter Noel, joined us back in 2008. He's been Santa Claus for over 18 years and this past year he landed his first Mall gig!

ClausNET Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Sinter Noel few weeks back. Here's 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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Memories - A Visit With Santa

By Santa Caras

It's said that of the five natural senses, the sense of smell can be the most powerful for invoking memories. For some, the smell of fresh baked cookies brings to mind their Mother baking in the kitchen. For others, the scent of the morning forest awakens memories of hunting trips with both Father and Grandfather. The taste of warm soft cookies and cooked game long gone but the memories remain fresh, brought forth by scents on the breeze. For myself, the aroma of freshly baked bread holds the key to my memories of Santa Claus.

I grew up in north Texas just across from the Oklahoma border. The waters of the Red River, thick with clay, separating the two states. This in no way prevented nor held back those frigid northern winds from blowing through the area with gale like force in the month of December. It was such an evening that my parents chose to take my brothers and I to see Santa Claus when I was a young ripe lad of four or so.

During this long ago era, the Wonder Bread Company would set aside a portion of their parking lot for a Santa Christmas Town. Picture in your mind a thirty foot Christmas tree, filled with glowing lights, large shining ornaments, sparkling tinsel, and a huge Star of Bethlehem adorning the top. Surrounding this was an Elf village consisting of their gingerbread homes and Santa's Toy Shop on prominent display.

Looking inside, one could see how life as an Elf was lived each day at the North Pole. From little tiny beds to small fireplaces with Yule logs ready for a match. In the Toy Shop, tools lined the walls and shelves were filled with toys, ready to be delivered to all the good children of the world on that Magic Day. On Santa's worktable were toys still in the process of being built, surrounded by cast off wood shavings.
Read more »

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Santa-America News

A Hospital Visit to Remember!

By Santa Lou Knezevich

The Santa costume has been cleaned and put away while the memories of this past season bring a smile to my face. How wonderful it is to be a Santa and bring joy to the eyes of young and old.

I?m always a little ?moody? when the season ends and I find myself wanting to put on the ?Red Suit? one more time. Maybe you feel the same way and you wish there was something ?Santa? could do. I love being ?Santa? and I often wish I could portray the jolly character every day of year. Don?t get me wrong. I am Santa 24/7/365 by wearing red, keeping a snow white beard and acting the part. Of course the fun I long for is the parties and visits of November and December.

Although Santa has a lot of fun at parties and talking with children there is another side to his visits. There are many children who need the comfort and compassion that Santa brings. These are children who are hospitalized some with serious illnesses. I can?t think of a more rewarding experiences than to be a Santa to a child in hospice or one who is hospitalized. My first experience of this nature was a request by a coworker to visit a nephew in the local children?s hospital.

I was very unprepared for the series of events I would become a part of.

Carol came to me late in the morning and told me her nephew was having a rough time after intestinal surgery. He was in fact in the nearby children?s hospital. She related how the parents and staff were very concerned because the young lad would not take his medicine plus, he refused to eat. He needed to begin eating foods as part of being released from the hospital. Carol thought; if Santa made an appearance and talked to the boy he might cooperate. I wasn?t enthusiastic over the idea and felt it would not work. Besides, I was dressed in slacks with a red shirt and I didn?t feel I looked the part of Santa in any way. My excuses didn?t hold water with Carol and when lunch time came we headed for the hospital.

At the hospital Carol went into the child?s room while I waited in the hallway. I remember my apprehension over being there and feeling so inadequate. I had never done anything like this in fact, I was a brand new Santa who didn?t know anything. Suddenly the door opened and I was motioned into the room. I was so scared. There on the hospital bed was the cutest little boy who looked so lost among the hospital equipment. IV?s were in his arms while monitors steadily beeped as colored lights bounced along the display screens.

The room was dark except for the light over the bed which cast shadows over the concerned faces of the parents and grandparents. Seeing me the visitors parted and ushered me to the boys bedside.

When I spoke to him I could see and feel his unhappiness at being in the hospital. I can?t remember all my words but I found the right things to say and a smile came upon the child. I was sympathetic to his wanting a 4-wheeler and told him a few things he needed to do so he could leave the hospital I do remember I made a Santa request he take his medicine and really try to eat something. All the while we talked I held his little hand and he seemed to be comforted by Santa. We were not there very long and left after saying my goodbyes.

That afternoon Carol came to me in tears. I was alarmed and felt something had happened to her nephew. She had just received a phone call about her nephew. He had eaten a bowl of soup a cup of Jell-O plus he was happy and cooperative with all. Everyone was elated over the positive turn of events and how Santa had turned things around. I didn?t feel like a hero but I learned that day the magic that Santa has.

Maybe you?re wondering how you can touch the lives of children in hospitals or maybe Santa for the children of armed forces personnel. Santa America offers you this opportunity through these and other established programs in most States. We are looking for some great Santas who love children and want to bring, Love, Hope and Joy to all.

For more information about these programs and about Santa-America, please contact:

Santa-America, Inc.
Santa Bob Elkin
National Director of Santa Relations

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And Santa, don't Forget the Pepsi!

By Santa John

Each Christmas Season that goes by has its share of interesting events. Some are sad, some are happy, and some are down right funny. Also, as the years go by it seems that everything starts earlier and earlier. I always gauge the time of year by my birthday, November 5. Usually I begin the week after. However, this year I began the day before. So, my birthday found me sitting in the Picture Me Studio of my local Wal-Mart. For the sake of the following story alone I was happy to be spending my birthday in this way.

It started out as an ordinary shift of Santa pictures and the children were really excited to be seeing Santa. I had taken the contract through the Kringle Group to be at two of our local Wal-Marts in November for early pictures with Santa, also doing a shift at the local Sears store since the studios are owned by the same company. I arrived with bells on, literally.

The first few sessions went by rather routinely. The requests were for the usual things such as Barbie and 3DS Nintendos (I always like to get reactions from the kids so I always joke with those asking for video games that Santa is a real toymaker and ask if they would like a wooden soldier instead.) Of course, Santa must always be prepared for the unexpected.

Then he showed up, a young man of about six years of age with a blue turtle neck, a brown vest, and a smile as big as Christmas.

"Why hello there," I said.

"Hello!" he replied, coming to sit on my knee.

"What can I get you this Christmas?" I asked between shots.

"I want a plate of cheeseburgers," he said in a very serious tone.

"Are there any toys you might like?" I asked, trying not to giggle.

"Nah," he replied as we took our last photo.

As we finished our interview I reminded him to be a good boy and to be sure to listen in school and to his parents. He nodded his head yes and turned to leave with his mother. As he rounded the corner of the studio he turned and came back in a quick pace to me.

"And Santa," he said, "don't forget the Pepsi!"

Then he waved and was gone.
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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 Robert George

Robert GeorgeRobert George was Santa Claus to six U.S. Presidents and his year-round Christmas display charmed thousands of disadvantaged and disabled children at his home in Southern California.

George started life as a barber from Columbus, Nebraska. He started to play Santa in 1949 to disadvantaged and needy children. After retiring from cutting hair, he moved to Los Angeles in 1962 where he bought a home and decorated it as a permanent display called ?Santa?s Dreamland.?

He became the nations official Santa Claus in 1956 for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He subsequently accepted similar invitations from Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush.

A movie based loosely on George?s life called ?A Different Kind of Christmas? aired on the Lifetime Channel in 1997

"Santa is for everyone. He?s for your grandmother; he?s for a little two year old. He?s innocence, he?s beautiful and he has human emotion. Santa is not God, but is a man made symbol for the Christmas Spirit. Most importantly Santa exists for all of us that look for him in our hearts and souls."

Robert George
May 18, 1924 - July 1, 1998

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

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