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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

MARCH 2014

Volume 6, Issue 3

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

By Michael Rielly

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Welcome to our March 2014 newsletter!

In honor of St. Patrick, Nollaig Shona Duit!

Nollaig Shona Duit (pronounced, NO-Lihg HO-nuh ghwich) is Gaelic for "Happy Christmas". It is normally used when greeting another person during the Christmas season. However, if you were addressing more one person, you would say: Nollaig Shona Daoibh (NO-Lihg HO-nuh JEEV) which literally translates to "You have a Happy Christmas." And just in case you were wondering, the most common response to this would be: Nollaig Mhaith Chugat (NO-lihg Wy HU-gut), which means: "A good Christmas to you."

Although my last name is obviously Irish, I actually relate more to my Italian side. Growing up we never really celebrated St. Patrick's Day so much as we did St. Joseph's Day; which is two days after St. Patrick's Day.

Like St. Patrick's Day, St. Joseph's Day is celebrated in many communities, mostly those with high proportions of Italians. Here in Rhode Island we have a lot of Irish and Italians. This time of year here, you will see a lot of people wearing not only green, but red as well; as the observance for St. Joseph's Day is expressed through "the wearing of the red", similar to "the wearing of green" on Saint Patrick's Day.

Food also plays a large role in the celebration of St. Joseph's Day. Zeppole is a traditional St. Joseph’s Day pastry usually filled with custard, jelly, or cannoli-style pastry cream, a dusting of confectionery sugar, and a cherry. Yum! If you've never had a zeppole, there are several recipes on the Internet you can try.

Last month we kicked off our Funniest Picture Contest. Post your funniest pictures from this past (2013) season in our 2014 Funniest Pictures Contest Gallery. Once all the entries are in, you will have an opportunity to vote on your favorites! The winners will be featured in the April issue of the ClausNet Gazette. For official rules and information, visit

I hope you enjoy this edition of the ClausNet Gazette. As always, please feel free to contact us with your comments and suggestions.

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Tennessee Senate Unanimously Passes Merry Christmas Bill -- Tennessee is one step closer to passing their own Merry Christmas Bill.

On Monday, February 24 2014, the Tennessee State Senate unanimously passed a measure similar to other states that allows for the recognition of Christmas in public schools without fear of lawsuit.

We assume the measure must now go before the House in Tennessee. This bill has been in the works since last summer. Under the measure Christmas can be taught in the classroom as long as more than one religious viewpoint is offered and that secular symbols are included.

Teachers and students would be allowed to say “Merry Christmas” without fear of charges of discrimination or of lawsuit. Modeled after the so-called “Merry Christmas Bill” of Texas, famously passed nearly a year ago, Tennessee joins several other state in seeking protection for Christmas in public schools.
Read More »

7 Ways Rankin/Bass Changed Hollywood Forever

Yahoo!News -- Arthur Rankin, Jr., producer-director and part namesake of Rankin/Bass Productions, the television and film production company behind so many holiday and family favorites, died in Bermuda this past January 30th. He was 89.

"We are still watching Rankin/Bass films because of the heart and warmth within them," said Rick Goldschmidt, author of The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass and two additional books about the company's productions.

Let's take a look back at how Rankin and his long-time partner Jules Bass influenced pop-culture --- and our lives:

1. TV became a regular guest at family Christmas gatherings.

2. Stop-motion animation gave starts to the careers of Tim Burton and others.

3. The songs, the songs, the songs.

4.The voices, the voices, the voices.

5. The kaiju connection.

6. The Hobbit.

7. And last, but not least: The Island of Misfit Toys.
Read More »

National clown shortage may be approaching, trade organizations fear

New York Daily News -- Send in the clowns — please!

As the “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to Brooklyn Thursday, circus folk fear a national clown shortage is on the horizon. Membership at the country’s largest trade organizations for the jokesters has plunged over the past decade as declining interest, old age and higher standards among employers align against Krusty, Bozo and their crimson-nosed colleagues.

“What’s happening is attrition,” said Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger, who added that membership at the Florida-based organization has plummeted since 2006.

“The older clowns are passing away.” He said he wouldn’t release specific numbers, citing the privacy of the members. Membership at the World Clown Association, the country’s largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.

“The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” said Association President Deanna (Dee Dee) Hartmier, who said most of her members are over 40. Kohlberger said that it’s difficult getting younger people who develop an early interest in the many facets of clowning to stick with it on the professional level.
Read More »

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Featured Member - March 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 RicF!

Santa Ric joined us back in February of 2010. He has been portraying Santa Claus professionally since 2009 and in my opinion, has one of the best Santa gigs. I bet there aren’t many Santas who get to make an entrance as grand as Santa Ric!

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa Ric a 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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Why I Love Being Santa

By Santa Bill

I want to share my story with all of you.

This is a picture of Santa and a little boy named Lucas.

Now Lucas had come to see Santa a few weeks ago and he and his grandma had a story for Santa that really touched his heart. You see, sadly Lucas had recently lost his father. In order to make this loss a little less painful for this sweet little boy, his mom and grandma told him that whenever he found a penny on the ground it was from his father looking down on him.

Well Santa was just so taken by this story he just had to do something special for Lucas.

In the photo you see Santa is handing Lucas a large penny. Well Santa told the story to Lucas that since Santa has some special magic for special people that he had been able to speak with his father and that his father had given this large penny to Santa so that he would always know that he was looking over him.

Merry Christmas!

Leave your comment »

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Taxes and You the Santa

By Santa Gordon

That time of year is coming again but you should have been working on this year round. I do a long form every year now for over 29 yeas simply because doing the short form with 1099s will lead to paying taxes that you cannot use your deductions to off set. The very first time I ran across the "self employment tax" which is basically the social security portion your employer pays through your W-2, you could hear my yell across 2 counties! Then the Tax professional and I sat down and talked about the things I could deduct legally from my taxes and what I had to keep records of.

I am not a Tax professional and I do recommend that you seek out the advice of a good Tax accountant if you are going to be an entertainer/Santa and take payment for your work. It will save you money over the long run and help you avoid difficulties with the IRS.

I will give you examples of some of the things I have been advised to take as deductions against my tax liability over the years and then I will also add a internet report with a link to it from such a tax expert as well.

Itemized deductions I have taken on my taxes:

My suit purchases. Each time I purchase a new Santa suit I have been able to deduct the cost of it from my taxes as it is part of my business. Along with that, all of the accessories I have bought to go with those suits such as Boots, Belts and small items like bags and bells. Also the repair and cleaning of these items are tax deductible.

My cell phone is a deduction, not just the cost of the phone it self but the cell service as well. I conduct business and use my phone to stay in touch via the internet with email and social media with business contacts. I would not be able to conduct my business at the level I currently do without this device and those services.

The mileage I drive to and from a job/gig is deductible.

Any and all expendable such as giveaways, candy canes and the like are a deduction.

All manner of media used to advertise my business including web sites, business cards, flyers, or any other means of advertising is a deduction.

Educational materials related to your profession such as books, periodicals, DVDs, computer software, as well as Schools, attending Professional meetings and conventions are a business expense and therefor a deduction. This includes travel to and from such events, per Diem meals and housing expense, and any other expense incurred involving your interaction with other professionals during said event.

In other transportation costs, if you need to hire a taxi or rent a vehicle or any other form of transportation related to the completion of a job or job related event, that too is a deduction.

If you use your computer to conduct business your internet connection is deductible in some cases as is the purchase of new equipment or repair to older units used in your business. This includes upgrade to your software. Basically if you buy something to be used in your performance or to conduct your business, it is a business expense and can be deducted.

Keep in mind you might not want to use all of your deductions every year as you must show a profit more often than loss or the IRS could disallow your activities as a business and classify it as a hobby and therefor not deductible.

Read more »

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Santa's Wisdom

How do You Portray Santa?

By Santa Lou Knezevich

Portraying Santa is acting; it is a characterization of a mythical character. Most of us never think of ourselves as actors, but we are.

Certain characteristics of Santa Claus have been handed down from one generation to another. The way we dress and conduct ourselves all follow an established pattern. Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable characters throughout the world.

This characterization of Santa with rosy cheeks, a white beard, handle bar mustache and a red costume trimmed in white fur is the image most everyone has in their minds. Unconsciously people are going to judge you against that image. If your beard isn’t white or you have a soiled suit it will register with the onlooker.

No matter how you portray Santa, be it home visits, schools, churches, parades, corporate events, malls, hospitals we all make an entrance and an impression! The initial impression we make determines if our client will ask us to return.

I have a theory: When you enter the presence of your audience you have about 5 seconds to make people believe you are the real Santa. Think about that; 1 2 3 4 5 that’s all you have. I call it the 5 second rule because each person is going to put you in focus with the Santa image in their minds. If you don’t stack up they will not have the Santa experience they expected to have. People will be nice to you for the sake of the children but I can assure you they will inwardly be disappointed.

What do you need to do to make a Santa impression? You need to dress the part. Now you don’t have to run out and buy an expensive suit, but make sure you have a presentable suit. I mean one that is clean and the fur isn’t matted down. I also have a pet peeve! Don’t sew your cuffs to the bottom of your trousers; it doesn’t look professional; plus, you’re Santa, not a French Mime.

Keep your beard and hair bleached white. People don’t like to see a Santa with a bleached out or yellowing beard. If you wear a designer beard make sure it is of good quality.

Act the part. You’re Santa Claus. Actors make gestures and have very deliberate movements to portray their character. To make your portrayal more believable, practice gestures and actions before a mirror. Pick up tips from movies and books to add to your portrayal.

Most of all, relax, enjoy and have fun being Santa Claus!

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 Ed Butchart.

Jay LongEd Butchart’s journey into life as a professional Santa Claus came about unexpectedly.

After completing 20 years with the USMC, he let his beard grow out. Soon people began to comment that he looked like Santa, and he received offers to play the role at various places.

While he was in character at a mall, representatives from Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park took notice of him. They soon offered him the job as their official Santa.

Since then he has gone on to author many books including “The Red Suit Diaries” and has been very active in the global Santa Claus community.

A devout Christian, Butchart started a ministry called “Friends of Disabled Adults and Children” (FODAC) after helping a handicapped friend. The organization started out in his garage and today, FODAC has a 64,000 square foot warehouse filled with donated medical equipment that is fixed up and distributed to those in need. FODAC has delivered over 20,000 wheelchairs in 42 states and in 65 countries.

Ed Butchart
Stone Mountain Santa
1935 - Current

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

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