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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

MARCH 2017

Volume 9, Issue 3

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

By Michael Rielly

St. Patrick's Day 1967

Welcome to our March 2017 Newsletter!

This month marks my fiftieth-year gluing yak hair to my face.

On the morning of Friday, March 17, 1967 -- St. Patrick’s Day -- my grandfather dressed me as a leprechaun, and took me to the Rhode Island State House to present a pot of gold to the then Governor, John Chafee. My mom made my costume and my grandfather glued on my whiskers. I remember the yak hair was itchy and the stuff he sprayed in my hair to turn it white, smelled terrible.

Little did I know then that dressing up and gluing on a beard would become an annual tradition for me.

I hope you enjoy this month's edition of the ClausNet Gazette. Thank you again for making ClausNet the premier online destination for Santas, Mrs. Clauses, Elves, Reindeer Handlers, and Santa Claus Helpers!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

A Santa Claus rooted in faith

The Hearald -- What began more than six months ago as an effort to get a section of an Indiana highway named after Raymond Joseph “Jim” Yellig, also known as “Santa Jim,” of Santa Claus culminated Saturday in a posthumous Sagamore of the Wabash award for the man who created the image of Santa Claus Americans know and love.

Photos Tegan Johnston/The Herald

The Hoosier Santas organization, made up of men and women who costume play as Santa and Mrs. Claus, headed up the effort to honor Yellig with assistance from the Santa Claus Museum and Village. Timothy “Santa Tim” Etter was behind the petition that made its way to former Gov. Mike Pence’s desk. Etter got the idea to honor Yellig after a visit to a notable Hoosiers exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. Etter couldn’t help but notice Yellig wasn’t in the exhibit. John Mellencamp was, though.

“I like Jack and Diane as much as anybody, but (Mellencamp) is no Jim Yellig,” Etter said.

He and the other Hoosier Santas thought Yellig ought to be recognized statewide. On Dec. 25, 2016, Yellig officially got state recognition when Pence signed a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest civilian honor, for Yellig. On Saturday, Santas and Mrs. Clauses from around the state gathered in the 1880s Santa Claus church at the Santa Claus Museum and Village to honor the life of Yellig. Phillip Wenz, the Santa that wrote the Santa Claus Oath, presented newsreel footage of Yellig playing Santa Claus around the country that the Hoosier Santas collected in their research on Yellig.

“To understand who Santa Jim was, you have to understand the time he lived in,” Wenz said.
Read the entire article on »

Bus Driving Santas Raise over £26,000 for Charity -- Drivers from six northeast bus depots have raised a staggering 26,000 lbs. for charity by spreading some Christmas cheer while driving their buses during the run-up to Christmas.

Photo: neconnected

Based at depots at South Shields, Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Teesside, the drivers from local bus operator Stagecoach North East all dressed up as Santa Claus while they were on driving duties, each bringing a smile to the hearts of passengers young and old alike and encouraging them to dig deep for the 10 chosen charities across the region.

Customers again showed generosity, with staff collecting for charities such as CLIC Sargent, Children North East, the TOMA Fund, the Daisy Chain, Trinity Holistic Centre, Caring for Kian and Tiny Lives.

At the Sunderland bus depot, staff collected for St. Benedict's Hospice, the Alzheimer's Society, and 'I'm in for Will,' 4-year-old William Calvert from Hylton Castle, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Sunderland bus driver Oz McCormack, who dressed as Mrs. Claus throughout December, explained: "All three charities were chosen by our employees and they offer much-needed support in our local community, and we're very proud to have helped them in this way. We'd like to thank all our passengers for having supported us, and for giving as generously as they did on their travels, and we hope we've made their journey a little bit more fun and festive."
Read the entire article on »

Capital Voices: 'If you live on Taffy Lane, you have to have the Christmas spirit'

Ottawa Citizen -- “I’m 11, and we moved here when I was nine. This is my third Christmas here. Before moving here, we lived on St. Moritz Court, which is just down the street a bit.

Photo: Bruce Deachman / Postmedia

“I was one or two when I figured out that Taffy Lane was a place. And ever since, whenever we were free, we’d drive down it. When I first saw it, I used to think, ‘Wow,’ because I hadn’t seen so many lights. It was really cool. But now that I live here, I can just walk out the door and see Taffy Lane.

“When my parents told me that we were going to move to Taffy Lane, I was so excited, because then I could just see Taffy Lane whenever I wanted to.

“I like living on Taffy Lane because there are a bunch of new people I’ve seen and met, and a bunch of lights. And I’ve met a bunch of other people who haven’t lived on Taffy Lane, because my dad and I dress up — he dresses as Santa Claus and I dress as an elf, and we hand out candy canes, and we see new people that we haven’t met before. Last year, someone came from Brazil. They didn’t really know what Christmas was here, so they were really like, ‘Wow!’ like I was when I first saw Taffy Lane.

“A lot of people thank us for going out and spreading Christmas cheer and making their Christmas better than it already is.

“There’s this weird feeling on Taffy Lane. It’s like a big spirit of Christmas, in November and December, and sometimes January. In October, Taffy Lane is really busy with Halloween. We got almost 300 kids for Halloween. But I start getting excited for Christmas once Halloween ends, because I know that the next big season coming to Taffy Lane is Christmas.
Read the entire article on »

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Featured Member - March 2017

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!

We are happy to announce our ClausNet Featured Member for March 2017 is Santa Bill!

Our Featured Member of the Month for March 2017 joined our community 2014 and has been a key contributor ever since. Santa Bill Reiller is a retired Police Officer of 25 years and we thank him for his service.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa Bill a few days ago and here is what he had to say...
Read the entire interview on »

Missed an interview? Visit our Featured Members of the Month section to read past interviews!

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On Christmas Eve

By Stella Mead

When the night goes gray and the stars are gold,
When the bells for Christmas ring.

When the children close by the Yuletide log,
Their Christmas carols sing;

In is sleigh he jumps, to the deer he calls,
Away to earth he flies,

Through the crystal stars of the Milky Way
And down the silver skies.

He is Santa Claus in a crimson gown,
with a beard so white and long;

We will sound his praise to the chimney-tops
In a rousing Christmas song.

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Santa's Wisdom

Body Language

By Santa Lou Knezevich

A few years ago Mrs. Claus and I attended a performance of the New York Radio City Rockettes, Christmas Spectacular. This show has been a classic holiday feature in New York City and road shows tour a limited number of other cities. Santa Claus along with the Rockettes; has a featured role in some of the production numbers. A professional actor plays Santa Claus to the delight of children and adults. You may not consider yourself an actor however; creating a believable Santa Claus Character makes you one.

I was fascinated by the actor portraying Santa Claus.

During the performance Santa moved a number of times from stage left to stage right. Each time he had a jaunty step almost as if his feet did not touch the ground. His steps were exaggerated however, tastefully done. When he spoke or sang his arms had a sweeping motion which dramatized the lyrics. He was very believable which quickly captured the audience’s attention.

I was impressed with this gentleman and how he used his hands and body to make the story line believable. A few things he did stayed in my mind and I have tried to incorporate them into my Santa Claus impersonation. In fact, every December I appear on the very same stage in a Christmas production presented by the theater. I am always reminded of the Santa appearing with the Rockettes so, I try to use sweeping gestures and a jaunty walk too. I know very few of us are professionally trained actors but we do need to be expressive and command the attention of our audience. You can not be a timid Santa.

When you walk into a room, ride in a parade, sit in a mall chair or visit a sick child you need to act the part of Santa. That doesn’t mean you shout at the top of your lungs or speak in a whisper. You must determine what your audience expects and fulfill that expectation by your actions.

If you are riding atop a float you need to do a lot of waving, maybe also having your hands at your hips, showing off your “bowl full of jelly.” Making an entrance at a house visit you may tone down your “ho, ho, ho” so you don’t scare young children. When speaking to a child or adult be animated; use your hands with sweeping motions and modulate your voice. You may be asked a question so put your head back and ponder your reply. Don’t rush your visit. Talk slowly and distinctly.

It’s okay to properly tease the audience. I’ve stopped in front of grandma saying, “By golly I remember you when you were a little girl about this high.” Saying this I hold my hand out mimicking how tall she was. I put my hand on my chin and say, “hmmmm, I remember the year you wanted a very special doll. It had long blond hair that was braided. Do you remember how happy you were and that became your favorite doll.” Grandma is sure to go along with you and the kids love it! When you use your imagination, you can have some fun with the audience.

If you feel the audience (and Grandma) will play along with you use a variation(s) of this story? “By golly I remember you when you were a little girl about this high.” Saying this I hold my hand out mimicking how tall she was. I put my hand on my chin and say, “hmmmm, I remember the year you wanted a very special doll. It had long blond hair that was braided and we had a breakdown at the workshop so I didn’t bring it to you. You were so disappointed but the next Christmas I made sure to bring you a special doll.”

If you’re a mall Santa sitting day after day may become a monotonous routine. Think about how you appear to the waiting and passing crowd. Don’t be a dead pan Santa without expression or character warmth. Nod to waiting children they love to be recognized by Santa. Talk to people as you walk to the set. If you have some quiet time on the set, talk to those passing by or others around you. Be in character at all times.

It seems each season I am told more than once about the Santa who was a boring, lifeless creature whose poor portrayal spoiled a Holiday Visit for children and adults.

You have about 5 seconds to convince your audience you are the “Real Santa” or not just another helper. Make your actions count! .

Always remember, It's not about you, it's about the children.

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

Read the entire article on »

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St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh Ireland

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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 Joseph Marquis!

Fr. Joseph Marquis is a Catholic priest of the Byzantine Rite. As Santa Claus, Marquis has had a career that has spanned over 40 years. He is an Emmy Award winning Santa and is perhaps best known for his work in Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1977 through 1989.

Marquis’s work as Santa also received the “Go-4-It! Award” from WDIV-TV in Detroit along with the title “Best Santa in the land — Super Santa” from the Detroit News. He can be seen and heard through his extensive appearances in media and print. However, through it all Marquis has tried to share with everyone the story of the true gift-giver, St. Nicholas.

Marquis is also an accomplished portrayer of St. Nicholas, who is truly a completely different character than Santa. He created, co-authored, illustrated, and portrayed St. Nicholas in “How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus” video and book.

Marquis is also the founder of the St. Nicholas Institute; a Santa and St. Nicholas training seminar.

Fr. Joseph Marquis
Detroit’s Super Santa
Detroit, Michigan
1949 – Current

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

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