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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network


Volume 8, Issue 8

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

By Michael Rielly

Welcome to our February newsletter!

Well January was relatively mild month for us here in New England. But it looks like winter is back in full force now! Seems like I have spent the first two weeks of this month shoveling out.

Last month we kicked off our annual Picture Contest. This year’s theme was “Crying Babies”. It was fun to see all the pictures! We had a lot of wonderful entries and the voting was close! So without further adieu, here are this year' s winners...

First Place - Santa Matty

Second Place - Santa Jerry

Third Place - Santa Joe

Thank you all who participated! You can view all the entries in our 2016 Picture Contest Gallery.

Speaking of contests, this week we announced a Santa Claus Toy Bag giveaway event. Long time ClausNet Member and Mrs. Claus, Eileen Strom has graciously donated a custom designed Santa Claus Toy Bag to be raffled off here on ClausNet!

This bag is a $125.00 value! For a chance to win this beautiful Toy Bag, please visit for details.

One other note; we are still looking for folks to help out around the site. If you are interested, please contact me or any of our staff.

I hope you enjoy this month's issue. 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

Frozen is Heading to Broadway

Fortune -- If you thought it was finally time to “Let It Go,” think again. According to the New York Times, Frozen is making its way to Broadway.

Disney announced Tuesday it has plans to create a stage adaptation of the fan favorite, set to hit the big apple in spring of 2018, making the film the ninth musical adaptation for Broadway from Disney’s New York based theater division.

Photo: Fortune

The show will reportedly utilize many of the same people who worked on the film, including the same writers who came up with the music and scripts. Before taking it to Broadway, Disney will organize a developmental production of the blockbuster, to be performed outside of NYC in the summer of 2017, the Times reports.

Since its 2013 debut, Frozen has seen monumental success, grossing over $1.2 billion worldwide before seeing a rendition of the film on ice, as well as last year’s announcement that a sequel is on the way, following the release of the short film Frozen Fever.

“We enjoyed making Frozen Fever so much and being back in that world with those characters,” said John Lassester, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. “Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck have come up with a great idea for a sequel and you will be hearing a lot more about it and we’re taking you back to Arendelle. We are so excited about that.”
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Build-A-Bear Workshop unveils Valentine's Day scented bears

ToyNews -- Build-A-Bear Workshop has introduced a new range of scented bears, in time for Valentine’s Day. The collection of scented, make-you-own Sweet Hugs gifts boast candy-scented fur, designed as a Valentine’s Day present

The new Sweet Hugs Heart Bear, Sweet Hugs Swirl Bear and Sweet Hugs Pup’s scented fur has been made possible thanks to Celessence Technologies microencapsulation, which uses touch to release the fragrance.

Plus, each bear can come with a recordable chip to feature a personalised message, known as Build-A-Sound, as well as customised clothing and plush conversation hearts.
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Mattel launches Batman v Superman take on Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots

ToyNews --In light of the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film, Mattel has released a special version of its Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots game featuring the two superheroes.

Two players can play the game, and each has their own robot figure attached to connected joysticks. Players can then use the joysticks to attack each other using punches.

The game features Batman donning his armoured suit seen in the trailer for the new film, while Superman is wearing his iconic cape and blue and red suit.
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Featured Member - February 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 Nick Hudson!

Santa Nick joined us a few years ago shortly after becoming a Santa Claus. Like many of our members here, Santa Nick started out portraying Santa Claus by chance.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa Nick 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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Charles W. Howard

By Phillip L. Wenz

Charles W. Howard was truly an American Original. Howard's professional Santa career is that of legend. He was born in the house that he would live in his entire life. The small town boy never left Albion, New York, except to venture out to be Santa. Howard first played Santa as a boy in a classroom play.

As an adult he found himself asked to help a friend out and play Santa in a store front window in downtown Albion. This experience helped Howard's urge to perfect the role of Santa Claus as much as he could. In his early career Howard caught the train next to his farm in Albion and commuted to Rochester, New York and then Buffalo, New York to be Santa in department stores. It was about this time he started to develop the idea for a "school" for Santas. Howard's first school was in the fall of 1937.

Howard also appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1948 through 1965. Oddly, he never worked as Santa in the New York City flagship store. From 1948-1964, Howard flew from New York City to Kansas City, Missouri to be the Santa at the Macy's store there. In 1965, his last Christmas season, Howard worked at Nieman Marcus in Dallas, Texas.

In the late 1940s, Howard started to convert the three barns behind his house in to what became "Christmas Park." This small amusement park became known all over the Northeastern United States. The park included the classroom and dressing rooms for the Santa Claus School. Before using this facility, Howard taught his school in his living room of his house. (With some exceptions, Howard's three session school held in Santa Claus, Indiana in 1938 and the schools held at the St. George Hotel in NYC after WWII.)

Student from all over came to Albion. Stores like J.L. Hudson's in Detroit, Gimbel's in Philadelphia, Foley's in Houston, and Dillard's in Little Rock all sent students and executives to the school. Howard was even asked to go to Australia in 1965 to teach a special school there.

Appearances on television, in magazines and newspapers included: What's my Line, To Tell the Truth, The Tonight Show, Life Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post. He was also hired as a consultant for Miracle on 34th Street.

The contributions of Howard's work are embedded in the Santa Claus world today. One of Howard's most memorable quotes sums it up... "To say there is no Santa Claus is the most erroneous statement in the world. Santa Claus is a thought that is passed from generation to generation. After time this thought takes on a human form. Maybe if all children and adults understand the symbolism of this thought we can actually attain Peace on Earth and good will to men everywhere."

Charles W. Howard passed away on May 1, 1966 at the age of 69.
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Santa's Wisdom

I'm Going to Wrap Your Present in the Shiniest Paper I Can Find!

By Santa Lou Knezevich

Mrs. Claus and I spend most of the December Holiday Season at an Atlanta hotel hosting an afternoon “Tea with Santa." We also have many family and corporate events which make for a full schedule. My schedule allows for plenty of time with each child. At the Tea, I sit at each table as the children sit on my lap and we discuss their “Wish Lists”.

Over time and for select situations I have developed a few stories. One in particular, I would like to share with you. I know many of you may, by choice or circumstance, not have enough time to unfold a good story, however, I ask you to please bear with me. "What would you like for Christmas?" This question asked by Santa sometimes triggers what I call a "Brain Freeze" in some children. They cannot remember or recite one thing from their Santa Wish List. It’s like ice cold cream numbing your brain! It happens so often; the excitement, anticipation and nervousness being in the presence of Santa, is so mesmerizing some children become speechless.

Putting myself in child's shoes, I would be very worried thinking Santa never heard my Christmas wishes. This is a situation Santa must recognize and quickly turn disappointment into happiness. One of the simplest things to say, especially if your time is limited, is to tell the child not to worry, "because Santa knows exactly what you want." You may wish to add, “The Elves are watching and reporting back to me about things you like.” Another variation is to ask the child to write a letter to Santa and give it to Mom for mailing.

One of my favorite ways to solve this situation is to make a story about the present I am bringing this child. The key here is to speak convincingly and to do a bit of stage acting. I usually pause, acting like I am thinking or mulling over something in my mind. Then I'll say, "I've got it! I've got it! I know exactly what I'm going to bring you!" "You do like surprises don't you?" Children will always respond with a "yes."

Then I say, "I know exactly what I'm going to do." "First, I'm going to put your surprise in a box." Let's see, maybe this high and maybe this long." I stretch out my hands showing how high and long the box will be." Mrs. Claus is usually near, I ask her; "Mrs. Claus do you know the box I'm talking about?" She'll say, "Oh yes, we just had a new shipment arrive and it will fit what you’re thinking of perfectly!" 'Wonderful!, I'm going to wrap your surprise in that shinny paper that just glows with all kinds of colors, you know the kind that looks like it has electricity in it." "Next, I'm going to find the prettiest ribbon and wrap around your present, this way and that way. (I show with my hands how I put the ribbon around the paper) I'm going to make that present look so pretty by putting the best bow I can find, right on top!"

It's important to use your hands showing how you will wrap that special surprise. "I'm going to put your surprise right by the Christmas tree along with a bunch of other presents for you and your family." "Oh, what a fun day you’re going to have playing with things, laughing and finding all kinds of surprises. In fact I can picture the room now, what a mess!" "Why you can hardly walk across the room." "Christmas paper everywhere, colorful ribbons, empty boxes it’s a garbage man’s nightmare!" "Sad thing about it is somebody's got to clean up the mess." Looking at the child I ask. "Is that going to be you?" The reply is usually "yes" or a nod of the head.

Upon hearing this I usually put a frown on my face and say. "Nope, it's going to be that guy (pointing to Dad) because this is your day and I want you to have the best day ever playing with all the things I've left you" Dad and Mom both get a chuckle from this and are usually eager to play along with the gag.

Now, I do have a word of caution about this story. Last season a little girl was upon my knee who couldn't remember her "Wish List." I told her not to worry and recited my story above. When I was done she said, "You told me that story last year!" "Oh, I did?" I instinctively replied. "Yes and it was the cell phone I wanted!" I was thankful this visit had a happy ending however; I made it a point not to tell that story for the remainder of the season. This points up, Santas need to have a variety of stories and not repeat them in the same circumstances twice.

Children constantly amaze me and of course their memories are better than the proverbial elephant! Always remember, “It’s not about you, it’s about the children.”

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

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 Christian Jørgen Nielsen!

Better known as “Professor Tribini”, Christian Jørgen “Tribini” Nielsen was the creator and founder of the World Santa Claus Congress at the Bakken Amusement Park near Klampenborg, Denmark.

Nielsen appeared for many years as a Danish Santa in Copenhagen and thought, “Why not have Santas from around the world come to Denmark each July for a sort of Christmas in July event?”. And so in July of 1957, Bakken hosted the first World Santa Claus Congress. It was a wonderful success and received some very good media coverage, not only in Denmark, but in other countries as well.

In the month to follow, Santas in other countries learned of the World Congress and wrote to the Professor, asking if they could come to the next Congress. And so it became an annual event, with hundreds of Santas from around the world traveling to Bakken each July. Since 1957 the event has grown, hosting thousands of Santas and tens of thousands of Bakken guests for a wonderful “Christmas in July!”

Christian Jørgen Nielsen
Copenhagen, Denmark
1915 – 1973

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

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