You're receiving this newsletter because you are a registered member of
Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser.
ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

APRIL 2014

Volume 6, Issue 4

Happy Easter!

By Michael Rielly

Welcome to our April 2014 newsletter!

It's hard to believe that we are coming up on Easter already. When I think of Easter, I always think of my Mom. My Mom loved to decorate Easter Eggs. She would spend hours coloring and decorating some of the most beautiful Easter Eggs! She would poke a small hole in one end of the egg to allow the hard boiled contents to dry out. Everyone looked forward to receiving an Easter Egg from Mom each year.

So, in honor of my Mom, I have hidden a few of my own "Easter Eggs" in this newsletter. Not counting the image above, there are five hidden throughout this month's issue. See if you can find all 5. Hint: Read the whole newsletter carefully to find all of them.

This past month we reached another milestone on ClausNet. In March we welcomed our 1,800 registered member. Please take a moment to stop by the Welcome Center greet our new members!

Also this past month, we announced the winners of our 2014 Funniest Picture Contest. In first Place was SantaCraig.SantaCraig

In Second Place was Santa Marty and in close Third, was Santa Tim Cavender.

You can view all the pictures in the 2014 Funniest Picture Contest gallery. Congratulations and and a big thank you to all who participated!

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

back to top

In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

VA Hospital Negotiating to Censor Christmas Carols -- The flap over a public school choral group turned away from a Georgia VA Hospital at Christmas has taken a new twist.

The Augusta Chronicle is reporting today that the hospital has a “caroling deal” in the works that would limit schools to singing only non-religious Christmas carols at the hospital.

Five days before Christmas 2013 choral students from Alleluia Community School in Augusta were told they had to perform music other than what they prepared due to a five year old policy the hospital was enforcing that banned religious music in public areas.

The story went viral as charges of first amendment abuses were levied in the media, resulting in a Congressional review of VA Christmas policies. Amongst the songs the group tried to perform were Silent Night, Joy to the World and O Come All Ye Faithful.
Read More »

1920s Wizard of Oz board game sets off on yellow brick road to auction

New York Daily News -- A 1920s Wizard of Oz board game is heading to auction this month, and is estimated to fetch between $800 and $1,200. Based on the series 14 Oz books by L. Frank Baum published between 1900 and 1920, the board game features an array of characters preceding the classic 1939 movie.

“Titled The Wonderful Game of Oz, the board game, published by Parker Bros, does of course feature some instantly recognizable faces including the Cowardly Lion, the Tinman, the Scarecrow and a load of Munchkins.

The game features tokens and dice featuring the letters in the word Wizard in place of numbers, reports Slate. Players roll the dice and however many different letters of the word Wizard they roll is the number of spaces they can move along the board. The first to enter the Emerald City is crowned the winner.

The 1921 first issue boxed board game will head to auction in Philadelphia in on Thursday, April 10th, where it is estimated to reach around $1,000.
Read More »

back to top

Featured Member - April 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 Alaskan Santa Jim!

Our April Featured Member of the Month lives pretty close to the real Santa Claus. Alaskan Santa Jim joined us way back in when we launched ClausNet back in 2007. Like so many Santas, Jim began his Santa Claus career when someone asked “who can we get to play Santa?”

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

As a Santa Claus for 49 years now, Santa Jim has more than a few stories to share with us. We caught up with Santa Jim 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!

back to top

International Santa Celebration!

By Bob Elkin

Well the excitement is building as we move closer to May 14th! Here are just a few of the many activities planned for the event.

Busch Gardens offers us an online Convention ticket at a $32 discount off the regular admission price, with a free return trip within seven days!

The Ringling Tour in nearby Sarasota includes the Circus Museum, the Art Museum and the Ringling Mansion for one low $20 admission fee!

A visit to the Tampa Bay area is hardly complete without a visit to Weeki-Wachee Springs to swim with the mermaids and take a cruise down this spring fed river.

Come Early, Stay Late: if you find you would like to create an extra FUNDAY for yourself, all of the above will be available before and after the ISC and the DoubleTree is offering the same low rate 3 days before and 3 days after.

For a complete listing of FUNDAY activities, please visit the IRBS website:

Also on Thursday afternoon, we will host the first ever Santa Sleigh Show (better get your sleigh entered) and the first ever Santa Blood Drive, with a special guest celebrity host. The public will be invited, the children will cast their ballots for the trophy winning sleighs!

The Celebration Showcase will open at 12:00 on Thursday. We will have a full line up of merchandise for Santa and Mrs Claus and we are even going to “gift” you a Welcome Tote to fill up with all your goodies!

On Thursday evening, we will offer a choice of fine dining at the world famous Columbia in Ybor City or Santas on board the Yacht StarShip cruising the waters of Tampa Bay.

On Friday, the Celebration Breakfast in the Banquet Hall will quick start a day so packed full of workshops, seminars and interactive panel discussion groups you will find it hard to choose your favorite. We will pause the learning, sharing and shopping just long enough for our served Celebration Lunch, then the afternoon will pass too quickly with more learning and sharing experiences.

Friday night’s group dinner choices allow you the opportunity of choosing the Columbia or the Yacht Starship. Individual dining choices for Thursday or Friday will be listed for your consideration: Berns Steak House, Ocean Prime, Don Shulas, Charleys, Capitol Grill, Eddie V’s, Maggianos Mitchels, etc. advance Registrations are required at all!

Saturday will again be jam packed with the excitement of learning and sharing with a full slate of workshops, seminars, panel discussions and shopping. The fun and excitement reach the peak Saturday evening with the Celebration Banquet, entertainment, live music, dancing, presentations, recognitions and award ceremonies.

I invite everyone to Register and Reserve your room to join in the fun, we will have our last two drawings 4/15 and 5/1 for FOUR winners of Free room nights and Free Jr Suite up grades, so get signed up today for a chance to win and a guarantee of four FUN Days!

back to top

The Sacred Nature of Santa Claus

By John Johnson

Since the days when a man named Nicholas of Myra walked upon this Earth there has existed a sacred nature to the role of Santa Claus. That bond has been the bedrock foundation for not only the connection of Santa Claus to Christmas but also to the hearts and imaginations of children.

You see, children share with Santa Claus their faith, hope, and trust wrapped up in their innermost wishes and needs. To some children, Santa represents someone who loves them and will never judge them. To some he might be the only ear that listens to them. The Santa/child bond is a precious one. Santa is not a childhood celebrity. In fact, he is a childhood servant.

Saint Nicholas had a very special bond that brought out the very best in him - a relationship with Jesus Christ. He understood the importance of the Gift that God had freely given and of what it means to be connected with that Gift. Like it or not, that bond is a part of the Santa of today as well.

We cannot ignore the significance of the past. Perhaps this message does not enter in to your mind or portrayal as Santa. I use it to illustrate the roots of the character. Saint Nicholas, out of faith, sowed seeds of faith in everything he did. When we decide to take up his mantle, we declare that we are going to do the same. We agree to portray this man in a manner that respects the bond that he created, likewise sowing the seeds that he sowed of faith and hope.

With his fully anonymous gift giving, Saint Nicholas truly set a standard that we need to return to today. For 170 plus years the anonymity of the man in the red suit was preserved, becoming a standard. Over the past few decades many have come to the role that have precipitated a shift in the focus of the role.

Other priorities, agendas, and philosophies have been brought in to suggest that Santa is an amalgamation of many different things. These have touted him as a mythical creation, even though historical fact proves otherwise. He is declared secular and is further distorted in image and meaning. But none of those who think this way can dispute the bond that Santa has with children, no matter how hard they try.

It is emotional, it is spiritual, and thus it is sacred. It is an echo to the true vine of Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker. Now, I ask you, why would anyone wish to tarnish this beloved figure? Why would anyone dare to desecrate something so sacred to the hearts of children? Has it become a trend? What causes this? Money? Fame? Greed? It is all these things and a lot more.

Perhaps in some ways we, the portrayers, have brought it on by making it more than a calling and simple vocation. It is not wrong to make money on Santa as a worker is worthy of his hire. But the motives behind the thing are, in the words of Shakespeare, the rub. Though we are merely actors portraying the part, we each are entrusted with the preserving of that sacred nature.

When you look like Santa, when you purposely go out of your way to draw attention to that fact, you are doubly so! As an actor, I have learned many things that have helped me to be Santa. One important lesson is that when the curtain comes down you must return to yourself. Put the character aside and be yourself. It becomes terribly troublesome to maintain a character when you are not required to perform.

Charles W. Howard, our legendary educational leader, made a full distinction between self and Santa. As did Jim Yellig, who when not in the suit maintained a post as commander of the American Legion and was a tavern owner. Look at the man who spends more days in the suit than any other man living that portrays Santa Claus, Phil Wenz - he completely separates the hustle and bustle of Santa's Village to be just himself. Take off the costume (both inner and outer) until the next performance. Actors have suffered terrible mental illness for not allowing themselves to do this. That said, I have never played a part that didn't leave something with me.

In portraying a character like Santa you don't have to maintain the role 24/7/365 to be enriched. I have learned that you don't need to look the part and dress the part all the time to BE Santa. To be Santa you need to give! And I think that that again speaks to the sacred nature of Santa - he continues to instruct. Over the past many years we have seen quite a bit in our Santa community. The fact that we can still come together as a brotherhood and sisterhood is a testament to the sacred nature of Santa Claus.

Would some of the things that have happened never have happened had some taken off the suit? That is for you to ponder and decide. I am in no way degrading anyone for the choices they make. But I am asking you to consider being yourself. When you make an opinion or an action that is not Santa like while you are clearly identifying yourself as Santa Claus, then you must be ready to deal with it. The eyes of children of all ages are ever upon you, as are those of the brotherhood that you represent. We all are looking at you to be your best while carrying the image of Santa Claus.

But remember, an officer that wears his badge is on duty. When off duty he takes it off and goes about his life. Santa should be the same way. In both ways, the role is preserved and respected. Both have a sacred duty. With this said, I want to encourage everyone to really think about the calling and vocation of Santa Claus. Think about your place in it.

There are children that identify you as this iconic figure of Santa Claus. They share their innermost selves with you. Perhaps they see you outside of the Season in your red shirt and white beard. They immediately recognize you as you as their Santa (yes, you belong to them now). They don't know you as you, they only know Santa. You have made a sacred bond. You have become a memory that can bring joy or hurt. What will your next action bring?

I hope that you will ponder this and truly will make a stand for keeping this bond of Santa Claus with the children sacred. Food For thought. Think of what Phil always says. "There is no I or E,G, or O in the word Santa Claus. There is no room for I or EGO in Santa Claus. But there is an US, and it takes all of us to make Santa Claus."

Write a comment »

back to top

Santa's Wisdom

Spring is here, but the Santa Season is near

By Santa Lou Knezevich

As the month of March draws to a close I reflect over the turning points in this month. Mardi Gras, St Patrick’s Day, Lent and Spring Break are some of the few. Of course for most of us it’s the thought that Winter will just not go away. This has been a year of record breaking snowfalls and frigid temperatures across the country. For others, daffodils are sprouting and the renewal of Spring has started.

This is a great time of year to begin your preparations for the coming season. It’s not too early to go through your client list and contact them for commitment dates plus, it’s a great feeling to be “booked.”

This season we have three weekends in December which to Santas is a “short season.” We have experienced this before as clients are going to plan parties around the first and second weekends of December. If you have a lot of repeat business you may want to contact your preferred clients now to make sure you will be available for them. If you’re going to have any scheduling conflicts now is the time to resolve them, not a week or two before an event.

I’m hopeful you have kept records of previous appearances and client information. If you haven’t you should make a practice of retaining this information. I suggest you keep a 3 Ring binder and within it divide your appearances by November and December. You may also want an “Other” section for things you may do in the summer or special events. Your contact information should have all the particulars for the event you performed, but most importantly names, addresses and the type of event such as birthday parties. If you were paid, write the amount of money received. This will avoid embracement as you will know the previous charge when discussing this year’s fee.

I do use a GPS, however I often print out a Map and print information on these forms. I make these a part of my client information to refresh me and review where I’m headed. Centrally keeping this type of information is not only a great reference source but a way of supporting your IRS deductions.

It’s not too early to begin your preparations for the Christmas Season now. It may be the start of Spring but the old adage of: “The early bird gets the worm.” holds true in any season.

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

back to top

Santa Claus Hall of Fame

Each month we feature an inductee of the International 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?
Visit the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame website.

back to top