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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

APRIL 2015

Volume 7, Issue 4

Welcome Spring!

By Michael Rielly

Welcome to our April 2015 newsletter!

Welcome to Spring everyone! Although here in New England, you would hardly know it was spring. Most of the snow has finally melted, but it's still pretty cold around here. Hopefully, it will warm up soon so I can finally take down our Christmas lights! :)

As I wrap up this month's newsletter, I am working on a few things for this year's Charles W. Howard Legendary Santa Claus Conference. I am scheduled to do a talk during the week, but I am sure there will be a ton of other things to do while I am there. I hope to be able to meet as many of you as I can while I'm there. Be sure to take a moment to introduce yourself!

I hope you enjoy this month's edition! As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Fairgrounds' 'Christmas Wunderland' goes up for auction

Mansfield News Journal -- About 150 original holiday light displays made for "Christmas Wunderland" — a tradition at the Richland County Fairgrounds over more than two decades — will go up for sale in little over a week.

Charles Miller and Associates Auctioneers will sell pieces containing 400,000 lights in all — from nativity scenes to Santa sleighs to candy canes. They'll go to the highest bidder, one piece at a time, over two or three hours starting at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 9 on the fairgrounds.

Christmas Wunderland, was created by electrician Bob Hoover as a fairgrounds attraction 24 years ago. But after Hoover turned 90, he announced he could no longer take charge of the attraction, which took much of the year to set up.
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Professional Santas to return to Muskegon for annual 'Spring Fling

Michigan Live -- Santa Claus is coming to town, as many as 35 of them actually.

Muskegon will once again host a "Santa Spring Fling" at the Shoreline Inn and Conference Center, 750 Terrace Point Road, April 10-12. The convention-type event, which is hosted by the Michigan Association of Professional Santas (MAPS), will feature a meet and greet, vendors, various round-table discussions and a tour of Muskegon.

"It's a way to get together with the Santa community and share ideas and kind of pick everyone's brains," said Dee Pilette, MAPS secretary and event organizer. "Some of the Santas that haven't been doing this very long will come up with questions to experienced Santas."
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LEGO launches quest for 14-carat gold Bionicle Masks of Power

ToyNews -- LEGO is offering fans of its LEGO Bionicle range the chance to get their hands on a 14 carat gold mask inspired by the popular building sets.

The prize is being offered as part of the LEGO Bionicle Mask Hunt, encouraging kids to engage their imagination and look for masks hidden in everyday objects.

Kids can participate by taking pictures of ‘masks’ hidden in objects around them, focusing on the six Bionicle Power Elements: Fire, Ice, Jungle, Water, Earth and Stone.

They can then upload pictures of the masks they find to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram the hashtag #BionicleMaskHunt. The best six pictures will then be rewarded with one of six real 14-carat gold Bionicle Masks of Power.

LEGO Bionicle is the story of six heroes on the quest for the gold masks of power. Every week for the next six weeks, kids will be able to join the characters in the mission.
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Featured Member - April 2015

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 1000 Islands Mrs. Claus!

This month we talk to Lorraine Hajek, aka 1000 Island Mrs. Claus. Lorraine is our second Mrs. Claus to be featured this year.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Lorraine a few days ago and here is what she 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 a talented man who touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

Charlie Howard is most known as being the Founder and Dean of the world’s first Santa Claus School and appearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; but, Charlie was a lot more than just his Santa persona. Throughout his life, he had a wide variety of interests that blended together to help make him a truly unique individual.

His list of endeavors includes making handmade toys at the Medina Toy Factory, creating the world’s largest apple pie, organizing county fair exhibits, creating his own Ice cream recipe, and a strong participation in community theatre. The village of Albion, New York was Charlie’s home. He was born in Albion, married in Albion, raised a family in Albion and created magic from Albion that spread the world over. No matter where Charlie traveled, Albion was always carried in his heart and he always lovingly promoted his hometown.

Charlie’s partner in life was his wife Ruth. Together they formed a remarkable couple who supported each other in good times and rough times. Ruth was Charlie’s strength and she contributed to his successes in so many ways. It was her needle and thread that created his Santa suits. It was her devotion to their dreams that kept her husband’s creative energies flowing. Ruth also sacrificed many things. As Charlie traveled each Christmas Season, she stayed in Albion to run the household and monitor Christmas Park. Charlie and Ruth had two children William and Gale. The Howards taught their children the values of family, honesty, and friendship. William and Gale were raised in the same farm house that had been in the Howard family for over 100 years. The community of Albion would be hard pressed to find a more loving family than the Howards.

Besides being a family man with a creative spirit, Charlie was a man who lived each day with the goal of bringing a little bit of happiness to others. He did everything from the Heart. Charlie once stated that Santa Claus enters though the heart. Well the spirit of love and kindness that he exhibited in his life enters though the heart also. So we honor and remember Charlie at the Charles W. Howard Legendary Santa Claus Conference with local community leaders, friends, family, and the four people, Charles, Jane, Doug, and Susan who simply knew him as Grandpa
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A Letter from Santa Claus

By Samuel Clemens, 1875

On Christmas morning of 1875, Samuel Clemens 3-year-old daughter, Susie, awoke to find the following letter on her bed.

Palace of St. Nicholas
In the Moon
Christmas Morning

My Dear Susie Clemens:

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me by the hand of your mother and your nurses; I have also read those which you little people have written me with your own hands--for although you did not use any characters that are in grown peoples' alphabet, you used the characters that all children in all lands on earth and in the twinkling stars use; and as all my subjects in the moon are children and use no character but that, you will easily understand that I can read your and your baby sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well.

You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters--I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself--and kissed both of you, too, because you are good children, well trained, nice mannered, and about the most obedient little people I ever saw. But in the letter which you dictated there were some words which I could not make out for certain, and one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock.

Our last lot of kitchen furniture for dolls has just gone to a very poor little child in the North Star away up, in the cold country above the Big Dipper. Your mama can show you that star and you will say: "Little Snow Flake," (for that is the child's name) "I'm glad you got that furniture, for you need it more than I." That is, you must write that, with your own hand, and Snow Flake will write you an answer. If you only spoke it she wouldn't hear you. Make your letter light and thin, for the distance is great and the postage very heavy.

There was a word or two in your mama's letter which I couldn't be certain of. I took it to be "a trunk full of doll's clothes." Is that it? I will call at your kitchen door about nine o'clock this morning to inquire. But I must not see anybody and I must not speak to anybody but you.

When the kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to open the door. Then he must go back to the dining room or the china closet and take the cook with him. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe and not speak--otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery and stand on a chair or the nurse's bed and put your car to the speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle through it you must speak in the tube and say, "Welcome, Santa Claus!" Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not. If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to be.

Your mama will help you to name a nice color and then you must tell me every single thing in detail which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say "Good-by and a merry Christmas to my little Susie Clemens," you must say "Good-by, good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much and please tell that little Snow Flake I will look at her star tonight and she must look down here--I will be right in the west bay window; and every fine night I will look at her star and say, 'I know somebody up there and like her, too.' " Then you must go down into the library and make George close all the doors that open into the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while.

I will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the hall--if it is a trunk you want--because I couldn't get such a thing as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know.

People may talk if they want, until they hear my footsteps in the hall. Then you tell them to keep quiet a little while till I go back up the chimney. Maybe you will not hear my footsteps at all--so you may go now and then and peep through the dining-room doors, and by and by you will see that thing which you want, right under the piano in the drawing room-for I shall put it there.

If I should leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into the fireplace, for I haven't time to do such things. George must not use a broom, but a rag--else he will die someday. You must watch George and not let him run into danger. If my boot should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and somebody points to that mark which your good old Santa Claus's boot made on the marble, what will you say, little sweetheart?

Good-by for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen doorbell.

Your loving Santa Claus
Whom people sometimes call "The Man in the Moon"
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Santa's Wisdom

The Ends of My Mustache Tell a Story

By Santa Lou Knezevich

I was cleaning out my “Santa Closet” and I uttered a funny laugh. Of course Mrs. Claus was quick to ask, “Santa, what’s so funny?” “Nothing Dear,” I replied and continued chuckling but quietly under my breath.

I had found a picture of myself from my early Santa days and my mustache had the most precise curls you will ever see. My chuckle came from remembering what a difficult time I had curling my mustache. My mustache in the photo was at both ends curled into precise letter “O.” I was so proud of my accomplishment and I just knew I would be the envy of any Santa who curled his mustache. In fact, I envied my designer bearded friends, some of whom had the best shaped mustaches I had ever seen.

This photo was taken during the time I had a Santa Job at a Downtown Atlanta Hotel. As Santa, I greeted guests from 7:00 am until 11:00 am in a full sized ginger bread house which was constructed by the Pastry Chefs. It smelled and looked great! To make my 7:00 am appearance my alarm was set at 4:30 am. After washing my hair, the trick was to curl my mustache, get on my costume and fight Atlanta traffic from the suburbs to the center of Atlanta which was about 25 miles.

Each morning I encountered something different about curling my mustache. One morning the right side would snap to attention with the end twisted by my fingers in the most perfect circle ever made! Going to the left side sheer panic befell me.

I put the goopy stuff on my left mustache and began to twist the ends around my finger. The hair was stiff enough and I was able to make a perfect “O “however; it didn’t take but a few seconds and the perfect “O” collapsed into a Kung Foo look! No matter what I tried, the twisting would take forever for the one side of my mustache to curl.

I don’t know if you have experienced a similar problem however I don’t believe I’m alone with this mysterious quirk of hair malfunction. I say quirk because the next day I would start on the left side because I needed the extra time that it took me the day before to get it right.

Much to my surprise the left mustache fell right into place with the ends in a most defined circle. I think you have already guessed my new problem was now the right mustache which refused to stay in place no matter what I tried. In fact the counter in my bathroom had an array of sticky hair products which would have made any hairdresser very envious.

Eventually I got the hang of it and I had a few successes at quickly shaping the ends of my mustache into a perfect “O.” There were however, days that I fought one side or the other of my mustache to create a perfect look.

For a number of years now, I have abandoned curling my mustache. During this time no one has ever brought up why I stopped curling my mustache.

“There is a lesson in what I am relating here by example of my own experience.”

Every child, every person, has in their mind an image of what Santa Claus looks like. When teaching Santa School or conducting a workshop, I would illustrate this point saying; “it only takes about 5 seconds for anyone seeing you, to judge if you are the real Santa, a Santa Helper, or a Fake.”

My Brothers in Red put a lot of time and money in achieving certain looks or wear a “one of a kind costume.” We want everyone to be delighted when they see Santa. Let us not miss a very fundamental point. We strive to look like Santa by using the suit, the beard, the mannerisms and the warmth of Santa Claus. We trigger the image in other people and they quickly decipher if we are the true Santa Claus or a helper.

I started this writing about my humorous experiences trying to achieve perfectly formed circles at the ends of my mustache. I don’t wish to offend any Santa who curls his mustache or uses a designer piece. I’m still in awe when I attend Santa gatherings or see those with perfectly formed “Stachs.” If you have a “one of a kind costume” wear it with pride. If you’re a new Santa wearing your first Santa Suit but remember; it is what comes from your heart that you personify Santa and encourages people to believe in you.

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

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

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Statue of St Nicholas, Baška Voda harbor

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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 Ron Robertson!

With a resume as long as Santa’s List, Ron Robertson has been the embodiment in every type of media from print to film.

In advertisements for Best Buy, Pet Smart, Rosetta Stone, and the Travel Channel to guest spots in series such as “Castle,” “The Mentalist” and “The Tonight Show”, Ron’s natural, gentle manner and jovial smile are perfect for the camera and on screen. But there is a deeper side of Ron, a man who holds such high regard for the role of Santa Claus and the traditions linked to him that he is willing to share and to educate his fellow Santas.

Ron is Director and President Emeritus of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas. In that capacity he has stood not only for excellence in the portrayal of Santa Claus among that body of Kringles, but for excellence throughout the entire Santa Claus community.

An advocate for the traditions of Santa Claus, Ron is willing to share his love and attention to the character with all who wear the red suit.

Ron Roberston
San Juan Capistrano, California
1943 – Current

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

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