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February 2013

Volume 5, Issue 2


Well after moving ClausNet to a brand new server and a blizzard that resulted in a widespread power outage in the northeast, I am finally getting around to the February newsletter.

As I mentioned we moved ClausNet to a new server this month. This will be our fourth server since our initial launch in 2007. With so many new members, we've outgrown our server - again!

Some of you may have noticed slow load times the past few months. We tried doing some optimization to the site, but finally realized it was time to move servers. Moving to a new server is never a fun thing and there are always hiccups. After the move we had a few issues, but in the end it all went well.

Thanks again for hanging in there with us. As always, the goal is to continue to make this site a fun, fresh, and enjoyable experience! With that, let me take a moment to thank all of you for being part of this community! Over the past few years, ClausNet has grown leaps and bounds and it is all because of our members! Thank you for making ClausNet part of your daily routine!

A special thank you to those of you who help support our community - not just through your generous donations, but also through your contributions to the community. The sharing of ideas, stories, information, and advice, AND the support for your fellow members, is what makes this a true community!

I hope you enjoy this month's issue and as always, if you have any comments, suggestions or even complaints, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Happy Birthday Jesus Sign Won’t Return to Utah Business -- Cafe owner Rick Lefler wanted to bring a little Christmas spirit to his business in downtown Ogden, Utah. So he hung a banner outside his small cafe that said “Happy Birthday, Jesus”. The sign immediately got attention. In one respect it got the desired results as community citizens came in to compliment the business on the sign. But others were offended and complained that the sign should be taken down due to its religious nature.
Read More »

Ayden man known for playing Santa charged with indecent liberties -- An Ayden man who's played the role of Santa Claus over the past several years at several community events is accused of taking indecent liberties with a child. The Pitt County Sheriff's Office says 62-year-old Norman McGraw is charged with 1 count of Indecent Liberty w/Child and 1 count of Tattooing a Person under 18 prohibited.
Read More »

Fisher-Price debuts first Thomas wooden railway line

ToyNewsOnline -- Mattel and Fisher-Price will be showing off the first products in the new Thomas Wooden Railway line at New York Toy Fair this week. The new product line marks a return to Fisher-Price's heritage in wooden toys.
Read More »

Etch A Sketch inventor dies

ToyNewsOnline -- The inventor of popular drawing toy Etch A Sketch has died. Andre Cassagnes passed away aged 86 on January 16th, the Ohio Art Company told BBC. The cause of death has not yet been revealed. The Ohio Art Company picked up the drawing tablet at the 1959 Nuremberg Toy Fair, which went on to become one of the top-selling toys in the US.
Read More »

Documentary, “They Wore The Red Suit” to Screen at Bristol Statehouse

Christmas Newswire -- The Bristol Statehouse will be hosting private screenings of the documentary, They Wore the Red Suit – the Director’s Cut, on March 9th at 1pm and 7pm and March 10th at 2pm.
Read More »

PlayStation 4 Coming for Christmas

Christmas Newswire -- It has been years since a new game system took over Christmas buzz but Christmas 2013 could change that. Sony will soon be announcing the launch of PlayStation 4. Sony is set to reveal its next PlayStation on Wednesday February 20th at an event dubbed ‘see the future’. Sony Computer Entertainment recently released a teaser video to announce the event.
Read More »

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Featured Member - February 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 Carlsbad Santa!

Our Featured Member of the Month for February 2013 is Carlsbad Santa.

Tom Myers aka Carlsbad Santa, became a professional Santa Claus back in 2002. He joined ClausNet in 2008 and has been a key contributor to the community on a variety of topics ever since. Santa Tom is also an accomplished ventriloquist and is sometimes joined by a cast of Christmas characters at appearances.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We spoke with Tom 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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They Wore The Red Suit Fundraiser

By Michael Rielly

If you ever have the opportunity to visit my hometown, you may notice a few things around here with the name RIELLY on it.

On the east side of town there is a tree lined street with a sign that reads: RIELLY LANE. Downtown, near the docks, where the Prudence Ferry arrives to shuttle passengers to and from the local islands is a beautiful park. Under one of the park's trees is an unassuming bench with an engraving that reads: JIM RIELLY'S BENCH. Hanging near the entrance of our Town Hall is a large portrait of an elderly gentleman. The senior citizen in the oil painting is my grandfather, James D. (Jim) Rielly.

Jim Rielly was well known throughout our town and much of New England. He was known for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts; but most notably, Jim Rielly was known as Rhode Island's Most Famous Santa Claus for 62 years. Throughout his Santa Claus career, my grandfather took no money for his appearances. As Santa Claus, Jim Rielly made more appearances in one day than most do today in an entire season; making visits to 20 to 30 homes in one day.

He was featured in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and on national television shows and received letters from celebrities, dignitaries, Presidents, and His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. In 1979, his name was recorded in the United States Senate Congressional Record as "James D. Rielly, A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island." In December 2010, James D. Rielly was honored as one of the original inaugural inductees into the prestigious International Santa Claus Hall of Fame in Santa Claus, Indiana.

My grandfather and I are featured in an upcoming documentary titled: They Wore The Red Suit. As a tribute to my grandfather, I am hosting three private screenings of the documentary in my town as a fundraiser for the film to be entered into Film Festivals in 2013. The event will include a discussion with director Larry Peter, on the making of the film and a discussion of Jim Rielly's life and Santa Claus career.

If you are in the area and would like to attend any of the screenings, you can purchase tickets online here:

Seating is limited so be sure to purchase tickets early. You can also contact me directly for tickets.

Saturday, March 9, 2013, 1:00 pm
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 7:00 pm
Sunday, March 10, 2013, 2:00 pm

240 High Street
Bristol, RI 02809

$20.00 at the door depending on availability

If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate to our event, please visit:
Private Screening Donations

I am personally funding this particular event so ANY amount -- even $1 -- would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much for your consideration!

Leave your comment »

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I Know Santa is Real

By Santa Laureate

Yes, as a child I knew Santa now as adult; I really know he is real. Santa doesn't come down a chimney. Santa is something you feel He is a lighthearted and spirited being, living well within Folks in the know, LOVE, SHARE and take time to HELP a friend.

Santa brought me many things as a child. Then older I became aware It was my folks who knew the spirit of Christmas and truly cared. So my friends its up to you this Christmas. What are you going to do? Share the bounty of your life. Or become a Christmas Scrooge?

We all have so much here in the land of plenty So why can we not share? Some families have very little so show them that we care. Life is passing quickly and my friend we have lots to do. Make a child happy this Christmas. I’ll leave this up to YOU.
© Santa Laureate

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My plan for financial success as a professional Santa

By Chris Capstone

There is no reason why Santa should be restricted to a short period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, since there are so many children who are afraid of Santa, I might be able to fix them by exposing them to Santa all year long. I have some great ideas on this.

First of all, why not have Santa on New Years? I mean Santa looks like Father Time. I could tell everyone that Father Time is REALLY SANTA! I could wear a big chain with a clock around my neck and sing Auld Lang Syne. I could probably squeeze quite a few extra bucks out of the week between Christmas and New years too. Then Santa will be just another part of all the New Year’s festivities.

And then there’s Valentine’s Day. Valentine is a saint and Santa is Saint Nicholas. Valentine’s Day is all about love, and of course we all know that the business of portraying Santa is all about love too. And there’s lots of red and white in Valentine’s Day decorations. It’s a perfect fit! I could even make extra money off a kissing booth at Valentines banquets. Everyone knows how much the ladies just love to kiss old Santa. I could even charge extra for a photo! Then Santa will be just another part of all the Valentine’s Day festivities.

We’re already to Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s another one of those “Saint holidays” and leprechauns are really just elves wearing green suits with flat topped hats instead of red suits with pointy hats. And leprechauns very giving just like Santa because they give away pots of gold. Wait a minute! Saint Nicholas gave away gold too! That makes it a perfect fit! Then Santa will be just another part of all the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities.

Now Easter is next. This might be tough because I’m going to have to compete with that stupid Easter Bunny. Wait, I have it! The Easter Bunny has white fur and Santa has white fur. They both come secretly at night and leave gifts for children. So, I could tell them that the Easter Bunny is really just a pagan version of the Christian Santa, and I am simply trying to restore Santa to his rightful place in Easter. I might even be able to take over the Easter Bunny’s photo operation at the mall! Besides, everyone knows kids like Santa more than the Easter Bunny. Then Santa will be just another part of the Easter Festivities.

Next is Memorial Day. It’s a bit of a stretch but I think I can do it. They always have parades on Memorial Day right? We all know that Santa must be in every parade. Who among us can pass up the ego trip of riding down Main street on a huge float and waving to thousands of our adoring fans? Of course it is Memorial Day and not Christmas, so Santa won’t be the big finale of the parade. But that’s OK. He’ll just be another float somewhere in the middle. Maybe they can put Santa right after those little Shiner cars and just before the local beauty queen. Then Santa will be just another part of the Memorial Day festivities.

Gosh, I’ve made it half way thru the year. I’ll probably need some vacation time in June because July is gonna be my second biggest paycheck of the year. Man, I can see all those big fat juicy “Christmas in July” BOOKING$$$$ just waiting to be picked! And since you can’t have a real “Christmas in July” event without a Santa, I can really stick to ‘em with the fees. Maybe I can make even more money in July by doing the count down to the fireworks shoot off on the Fourth. It’s really just the same as a countdown for a tree lighting ceremony. Then Santa will be just another part of the Fourth of July festivities.

Now in August I’ll have to take some more vacation from all that activity in July. Plus, I’ll need time TO COUNT ALL MY MONEY!!!

Next comes Labor Day in September. Now this might be a little tricky because Santa is management and the North Pole is a non-union shop. But I think I have an angle on it. Everybody has picnics on Labor Day right? They always eat lots of high fat and high carb foods at those picnics. Bingo! Santa loves to eat all that junk. That’s why he’s so fat! I can get booked to appear at all those picnics wearing my Santa casual shorts and Santa Hawaiian shirts and my red Crocs. It will be a blast! I’ll get all that FREE FOOD and GET PAID TO EAT IT! Then Santa will be just another part of the Labor Day festivities.

Now Halloween is easy. We have already established the fact that many children are afraid of Santa and love candy. Halloween is all about fear and candy! It’s a natural fit for Santa. I could change up the tired old red and white suit for an orange one with black fur. I could get booked at Halloween parties and scare those precious little ones just like I do at Christmas time! Instead of reciting The Night Before Christmas I could tell ghost stories and give away orange and black candy canes. And since everyone has to buy Halloween candy, I could make EVEN MORE MONEY by purchasing large wholesale quantities of orange and black candy canes and selling them to the parents. Then Santa will be just another part of the Halloween festivities.

Well, I finally made it! It was tough, but I got all the way to Thanksgiving with all its parades and lights-on ceremonies and the BIG BUCK$ of the Christmas season! And just think, not only did I make tons of money in the off season, I was also able to help so many little children not be afraid of Santa, since they got to him so often (well maybe not on Halloween, but I digress.)

So you see, Thomas Nast was an idiot. He had the stupid idea that Santa should live at the North Pole because it was a mysterious and far off place at the top of the world. Since nobody in his time could ever travel there it was a perfect explanation of why nobody ever saw Santa. Wait a minute, NOBODY EVER SAW SANTA?!?! If nobody ever sees Santa then how am I supposed to money out of this deal? What was Nast smoking in that pipe of his?

Heck, since I’m gonna spread my Christmas spirit all year long, why draw the line at a few holidays? I might as well let ‘em see Santa 365 days a year! I mean you can’t really have too much of a good thing right?

And then, when they’ve had so much Santa, that Santa is just another part of everyday life and no longer special, and all the bookings have dried up, I won’t have to worry because I’ll already be RICH off this Santa racket. And when I’ve blown all of my ill gotten gains on wine women and song I can go back to being…a magician and a clown.
Leave your comment »

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Santa's Wisdom

Mrs. Claus - She's the Best

By Santa Lou Knezevich

The costumes are dry cleaned and hung in the closet to await the next Santa event. My boots are packed away along with my belts and flowers for my hat. The past season is a blur of memories which I cherish so much.

This season Mrs. Claus was my companion and she brightened so many children's faces. In July and September of 2012 she had hip (each was replacement surgery. I'm so grateful and amazed at her recovery and ability to be so agile.

It's taken a long while for Mrs. Claus to gain some recognition plus I feel she is becoming more of the Christmas magic each year. I also hope Santas do not consider Mrs. Claus is taking away from their performance. That's very far from the truth.

I have found so many people are surprised to meet Mrs. Claus and are quickly drawn to her. While Santa is an imposing figure Mrs. Claus conveys a motherly and 'safe appearance." "Children will quickly confide in Mrs. Claus their Christmas wishes while they may be reluctant to talk to Santa. Many times Mrs. Claus will gain the child's confidence to lead them to and help them talk with Santa. These are golden opportunities which most surely would be missed without her.

Another area Mrs. Claus helps is with Santas credibility. For example, a child may ask for a "Pillow Pet." Mrs. Claus might say; Santa weren't the Elves working on them last Wednesday? Santa replies, "That's right we had a special order for them because it's such a popular toy. Mrs. Claus says, Well Santa, the toy shop manager tells me we have a have enough to fill all the orders." Scripting situations between Mrs. Claus and Santa spears to be spontaneous and adds realism to the child's visit.

Try some of these things and add others to your appearance of Mrs. Claus and Santa. Be innovative and have fun performing.

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 Jay Long.

Jay LongFor over fifty years Jay Long has been portraying Santa Claus for children of all ages around the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia.

As an employee of the City of Nitro, West Virginia, (a World War I boom town) Long began visiting more than 100 families in their homes per week. On weekends he would visit hospitals, churches, and senior care homes.

Accompanied by his wife, Viola, Jay Long has been in thirty regional Christmas parades, visited countless businesses and organizations, helped with many charities, and even brought Christmas cheer to the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston, West Virginia. Everywhere he has gone he has left the love of Christmas and what it truly stands for, the birth of Jesus, with every child both young and old.

Today, he is active in the Nitro Church of the Nazarene along with other local charities to help the needy all year round. Jay Long, as Santa Claus and as himself truly embodies the spirit of Christmas all year long.

Jay Long
The Boom Town Santa
1938 - Current

Want to learn more? Check out the following: