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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

May 2011

Volume 3, Issue 5

Happy Anniversary!

By Michael Rielly

May on ClausNetThis month the ClausNet Gazette turns two years old! The inaugural edition was launched way back on May 1, 2009. We've added a few new members since. Back then it took me probably less than two minutes to list all 24 birthdays. This month we have 61!

Of course we've added several new features to both the newsletter and One of my favorite features is the Christmas Podcasts. Be sure to listen in on this month's featured podcast. There's a special message from ClausNet to all the listeners!

We're Hiring!

We're looking for a few good elves to help out around the site. Interested? Send me a message for details.

We hope you enjoy this month's edition of the ClausNet Gazette! As always, if you have a product or a story that you would like to share with your fellow members, please feel free to contact us!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Powell's Santa retires -- but letters won't go unanswered

Columbus Local News -- Snowflake-shaped cookies, carols sung by choirs and egg nog are associated with a holiday far away in the minds of most Ohioans this spring, but those at the Powell Police office are concerned about Christmas.

That's because as of April 7, "Santa Claus" has been at home, enjoying his retirement with his grandchildren and working on a book featuring tales of the children he's met and the things they've asked for during his 20-year journey.

In Powell, that Santa is more commonly known as Ken Frazier, who had served as a mail sorter and clerk at the Grace Drive branch since 1990.
Read More »

Hey Spike! says Santa needs some help -- Bill Lee is a man for all seasons --- and a whole lot of reasons. While many in Summit County don't know him by his real name, they do know who he is. The Idaho Springs man and his wife Carol own the Laughing Valley Ranch, where they run a variety of animals, including reindeer, burros, goats, llamas and exotic shaggy cattle.

Up here we know him as Santa Claus, Redtail the Mountain Man, and Billy Lee the Burro Racer. He's been Frisco's Santa for a decade, and his photo appeared in this column at Christmastime with the Joe Johnson Family.

Bill's also played Santa out at Keystone Resort. And he's been Denver Mall's jolly guy for many years, with Westword naming him The Best Santa Claus in Denver.

Over at the Dillon Amphitheater, dressed in his full leathers, feathers and beads, Bill Lee mesmerizes kids and adults alike with his tales of life in the Rocky Mountains, portraying Redtail the Mountain Man. And just yesterday, Bill turned 62.

But that's not the reason we're featuring him here today. A week ago, Bill was badly hurt and remains in St. Anthony Central Hospital's ICU. He'd taken one of his many animals to the vet to be checked. While he was there, his truck and trailer started rolling with him outside. He ran to stop the rig, took a tumble and was run over, his chest crushed.
Read More »

Mattel signs Barbie VOD partner

ToyNews -- Avail-TVN has inked a Video On Demand licensing and distribution deal for the Barbie entertainment series. Under the agreement, Barbie entertainment is now available in both English and Spanish.
Read More »

Princess Catherine doll close to sell-out

ToyNews -- Demand for the limited edition doll has been 'amazing', says supplier, Arklu. The Princess Catherine doll launched at Hamleys three weeks ago and seven British fashion and design leaders have dressed and accessorised it.
Read More »

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Featured Member - May 2011

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 Danny!

I am happy to announce that our May 2011 ClausNET Featured Member of the Month is Santa Danny!

Santa Danny has been in the red suit for seven years now and he is one of our original members. He joined ClausNet back in 2008; and although I have never met Danny, through emails, posts and PMs over the years, I feel like I have gotten to know him pretty well through ClausNet. After all, that's what ClausNet is all about.

ClausNET Featured Member of the Month

Danny and I both have something in common too! We both have teenage daughters! We both agree, it's the easiest way to whiten your hair naturally! I spoke with Danny several days ago. Here's 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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Looking Back to Move Forward

The Life and Times of Santa Claus WV

Posted by Santa Claus WV

Have you ever climbed a hill or mountain? I sure have, living in the Mountain State. My Dad and I used to visit our state parks. At one such park, on top of a large mountain and overlooking what a sign said was five states, was a large log tower. I can remember visiting this with Dad. Now, when I reach the top I often look back to see what obstacles and terrain I have passed over to get to that spot. I try to recall every large rock on which I have stumbled and where it is so that I don't stumble on the way back down. I get a new perspective on what I am doing and how I can proceed forward and either meet or remove a challenge that will be ahead of me on my journey back down. I have found, through practical experience that this is a good rule for life.

Over the past several years (and again rearing its head in certain circles today) the Santa community has done some climbing. There have been many ups and many downs. And, through it all, we are beginning to lose something that is very dear to our community. We are forgetting to pass on to the next generation the way that they can successfully reach the mountain top. We have too many in our community that are bickering over the size of the stones in the path and are ignoring the responsibility we have to one another in this mutual trek.

Through Phil Wenz I am gaining a great respect for Charles W. Howard, one of the greatest Santas to ever live. In conversation we have discussed the fact that Charlie left no stones unturned when it came to Santa. He learned all he could to develop his character, then added his own personality. But in the end what did he do? He didn't keep all that he had learned to himself and hoard information like a squirrel does acorns. He didn't bicker with other Santas about their flaws both private and public. Instead, he did the most wonderful thing that he could ever do - he passed the information on. And, posthumously, he still does.

In my mind, the Santa world should be much like the guilds of the Middle Ages. The guild was a group of like minded artisans and craftsmen who worked to preserve and maintain a standard in their professions. Each member felt responsible for the younger members and passed on a legacy of art and skill to them. That is what every experienced Santa should be doing, as opposed to fighting the battles of bygone days and raking up contention as some continue to do. There comes a time when we need to step back and look at what we are doing and correct it. To me, it seems that a good many are just not willing to move forward. I pray for these.

The state of Santahood is fragile. It needs to be lifted up and standards and practices (as well as trade secrets) need to be passed on and in a positive way. We need to leave a clean legacy for the future. We need to pass on the tenates that make a true Santa. If we can relearn to do that, then there is hope for us yet. Just a hunch, but I think we need to look back now before we make one step forward and fall on our faces.
Leave a comment »

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Santa-America News

May 2011

By Santa Lou

Hello Fellow Santa?s, Mrs. Claus and Helpers! Santa America is privileged to speak to Santa?s through the ClausNet Gazette! It is our goal to bring you timely and factual information concerning Santa?s health and those around him. We hope these articles will be eagerly anticipated and shared for the benefit of many.

As National Director of Santa Health Programs I am committed to bringing you useful information in a clear understandable manner. I have a vested interest in all this too. You see, I?m a Type 2 Diabetic with a hard to control Blood Pressure and to top it off I have some strange growths on my Kidneys which are still baffling my doctors.

Also, for a guy who hates taking pills I seem to always have a handful to force down in the morning and at night. I?m sharing this so you don?t think I?m some Santa who has dodged all the bullets. Oh, by the way add two back operations, removal of the Medial Meniscus on the left knee and Acute Appendicitis in late November of 2009.

So Santa?s; in my small way I share your pain but enough about me. Under the umbrella of Santa?s Health, Santa America is concerned with the rise in Childhood Diabetes and Adolescent Obesity and other children?s health issues. It is a growing problem which is costly in terms of health care money and children?s health problems. Santa America will be addressing these and other issues in the coming months so stay tuned for more information!

The following is an article gives some starling statistics about Childhood Obesity which was provided by The First Lady?s ?Let?s Move Initiative? in their March email.

Obesity by the numbers

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

How did we get here?

Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, participated in gym class, and played for hours after school before dinner. Meals were home-cooked with reasonable portion sizes and there was always a vegetable on the plate. Eating fast food was rare and snacking between meals was an occasional treat.

Today, children experience a very different lifestyle. Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games, and the internet. Parents are busier than ever and families eat fewer home-cooked meals. Snacking between meals is now commonplace.

Thirty years ago, kids ate just one snack a day, whereas now they are trending toward three snacks, resulting in an additional 200 calories a day. And one in five school-age children has up to six snacks a day.

Portion sizes have also exploded- they are now two to five times bigger than they were in years past. Beverage portions have grown as well- in the mid-1970s, the average sugar-sweetened beverage was 13.6 ounces compared to today, kids think nothing of drinking 20 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages at a time.

In total, we are now eating 31 percent more calories than we were forty years ago?including 56 percent more fats and oils and 14 percent more sugars and sweeteners. The average American now eats fifteen more pounds of sugar a year than in 1970.

Eight to 18-year old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media, including, TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies, and only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity. Now that?s the bad news. The good news is that by making just a few lifestyle changes, we can help our children lead healthier lives?and we already have the tools we need to do it. We just need the will

Santa-America, Inc.
Santa Lou (
National Director, Santa?s Health Programs

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The Soldiers Night Before Christmas

By Shanta

As many of you, I have committed this classic Christmas poem to memory so I can recite it on visits. One problem presents itself, though. It is written from the perspective of Pa, and you are Santa. So, I recast the story so that it sounds right as Santa retells the story. The changes are pretty minor overall, mostly pronoun swaps, but it helps to read the alterations rather than trying to recast it while reciting. I hope others find this useful.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Yours Truly soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their wee little heads. And Mamma in her ?kerchief, and Pa in his cap, Had just settled down for a long winter?s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, Pa sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window he flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below. When, what to his wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, He knew in a moment it must be St Nick. More rapid than eagles my coursers they came, And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
Read more »

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Santa Claus Hall of Fame

Each month we feature an inductee of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we honor Charles W. Howard.

Charles W. HowardMay 1, 2011 was the 45th year since the passing of Charles W. Howard.

As a reminder of Mr. Howard's contributions to the Santa vocation, it is only fitting that this month's quote come from him. Please take a brief moment this month to remember Charles W. Howard, "Dean of Santa Clauses."

Charles W. Howard was truly an American original. His legacy and inspiration that he left behind in the "Santa World" may not be in a class by itself, but it does not take long to take role call.

"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
Dean of Santa Clauses
June 15, 1896 - May 1, 1966

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

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