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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

MAY 2014

Volume 6, Issue 5

Happy Birthday!

By Michael Rielly

May on ClausNet

Welcome to our May 2014 newsletter!

This month is our SIX year anniversary of the first edition of our monthly newsletter, The ClausNet Gazette! Readership for the newsletter has grow some too! When we launched the newsletter, we had a little more than 100 subscribers. Today, the ClausNet Gazette hits over 3,000 subscribers inboxes every month!

This past weekend, I attended the Northeast Santas get together in Cape Cod. It was so nice to see so many of you there. We had Santas and Mrs. Clauses there from all over! On the agenda was the Santa Claus Oath. Several Santas and Mrs. Clauses took the Oath for the first time. I am honored to be a part of the Santa Claus Oath Foundation and to have been able to officiate the Oath.

On Sunday afternoon, we held a screening of They Wore The Red Suit. DVDs of the Standard and Bonus Clips Edition are still for sale on their website.

We're Hiring!I also want to mention that we could use some help around the Workshop here!

In the next several weeks we will be launching a brand new and we are looking for a few good Elves to help out around the site. If you like to write, have a nose for news, or have good organizing skills, please contact me!

As always, please feel free to contact us with your comments and suggestions.

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Louisiana Christmas Bill Faces Easy Passage -- Louisiana’s version of the Merry Christmas Bill has cleared the state senate and appears headed for easy passage in the house.

Public schools will be able to display Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and secular decorations, and students and faculty can freely exchange such greetings if House Bill 876 becomes law.

Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, had little trouble getting what he termed “a simple bill” through the House Education Committee.

“There’s a lot of confusion,” he said. “People don’t know what they can do or say. I engage in that type of litigation, so I get calls from schools asking what they can do.”

Seabaugh said he’d like to take credit for the proposed law, but he borrowed it from Texas, which already has what’s known as the “Merry Christmas Law.”

It’s a compilation of U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the matter.
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Flock of Santas lands in Yarmouth for annual convention

Cape Cod Online -- Strangely, there were about 50 Santas in town Saturday. Even though, as we understand it at the Times, there is only one real Santa Claus, and typically he is busy working at the North Pole.

The Santas were at the Cape Cod Irish Village for a weekend convention, the 10th annual NorthEast Santa Gathering, which they said is a regional professional group for Santas, Mrs. Clauses, elves, helpers and anybody who loves Christmas.

At a bowling alley in South Yarmouth, and later at the Irish Village, there were many very round Santas, tall and short, one dressed in red, white and blue, another with a golf print shirt and even one clad in a sort-of Santa camouflage suit. There didn't appear to be any live reindeer outside the motel, though, and the Santas got to ride around in a shuttle bus.

"I like the smiles on the children's faces," Santa Dave Banks of Maine said at the bowling alley.

Two of the youngest members of the NorthEast Santas pose for the cameras.

Part of the annual weekend is a free day of fun for any child, and about 100 children and parents came out Saturday. They got to bowl with the Santas, eat lunch with them, get balloons shaped like candy canes and reindeer, take a ride on a bus, be in a parade, play mini-golf with Santa, get free stuffed animals and, most important, discuss Christmas.
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Featured Member - May 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 Tim Cavender!

Santa Tim Cavender joined us back in 2009. Santa Tim is a wonderful Santa Claus! He is a wealth of knowledge and one of our key contributors to the site. Last year in 2013, Tim celebrated his 40th year as Santa Claus!

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa Tim 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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The Desiderata

By Max Ehrman

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy

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Thoughts About Yesteryear

By John Johnson

When I was a little boy I thought (as many little boys do) that my Dad had the greatest job in the world. He was the sergeant of police for a little town in West Virginia called Nitro.

My Dad would drive down our street and would turn on the sirens for my friends and I who ran out to wave at him as he passed - such an Opie-like thing to do. But at Christmas my Dad had a very important job to perform. He was the chauffer of an international celebrity.

When things were calm in Nitro my Dad would drive Santa Claus all over town to visit as many as 30 families an evening. At the end of the evening it never failed that Santa Claus would stop at our house to rest before Dad would drive him to a little field outside of town where he had landed the sleigh and tied the reindeer. Of course, I now know Santa was none other than Santa Claus Hall of Famer Jay Long.

As I look back I can only imagine that he was hot and uncomfortable. But Jay (MY Santa to this day) would sit in the floor of my living room with me and play with my toys and talk with me. He would laugh and have fun with me just as if I was the first child of those 30 visits. He always seemed just as happy to see me as I was to see him. Despite the discomfort and heat, despite the family that was waiting for him at home, and despite not having his dinner Santa Claus took time to play with a little boy and truly give him a memory that sticks with him to this present day.

I have learned quite a lot from Jay. He is my number 1 mentor. But that scene goes with me everywhere. I learned from Santa what it truly means to give of yourself to a child who believes. And that is what I strive to do. As I look back on those visits I am reminded of the thousands of men (and women) who have visited so many little boys and girls in towns across this whole wide world. I think of how they went out, often in the snow and cold, to see each child. I think of the discomfort, the warm houses and even warmer suits. I think of how they missed meals and their own Christmas festivities with their families. I wonder why they did it. Then I realize that it was for that smile of a child.

I realize that they sacrificed for that one precious thing. A child's hopes and dreams meant something. You know what? They still do. More than silver, gold, sacrifice, or anything else you can imagine. Many of these folks we will never know. Each had a life, dreams, hopes, and beliefs as all people do. Because of fate, they will remain nameless citizens of the past who, outside the red suit, are lost to time save for being Santa to a child one Christmas long ago.

Their face might be recalled as someone finds an old picture album or something of the sort and they are pointed out. Perhaps a department store archive holds their names and old addresses. But to the world at large they are Santa and Santa alone. But they were linked in their belief of making glad the heart of childhood. They truly were servants of childhood. I guess I am a horse and buggy in a jet age. I am truly sorry, but the more I strive to be a simple "Hometown Santa" I find that I am not up to the standards of the "new generation."

I could care less about being a year-round Santa millionaire and star. Santa isn't the star of Christmas, never has been. He is a herald to the Reason. But not the way it is seen today. It seems to me that folks are too busy getting all of the bells and whistles without the propulsion system that drives a Santa Claus. Why, in a recent search and examination of websites belonging to Santas I found more posts about a beard than I did about how important it is to the Santa to bring joy to a child. Real or not, with a good picture on the page and public knowledge of what he looks like, Santa doesn't have to advertise that he has a beard. That is vanity.

While viewing a video posted I read the title was something like "Thanks from Santa." It saddened me that the word "children" was never really mentioned - it was a pitch for more and bigger business along with a five minute speech on where he had performed. I read posts both for and against children seeing multiple Santas in one place. I hear "I, I, I," and "Me, Me, Me." "I am Santa here." "They should hire ME for that instead of the Santa they have." Product after product touts that "I am the REAL Santa."

Social media has created a monster in that all of these things are celebrated in group after group. Read some of the daily posts. Folks are too busy worrying about the physical appearance and about getting the other Santa's gig. Instant stardom is the unachieved fashion of the community. Not sure why, as everyone seems to truly be an expert. Education in any field is a good thing. But every teacher SHOULD NOT have his or her own school!

I find it all so EGO centered and so contrary to the pattern set down by not only those Santas who have gone before but also St. Nicholas. Would he even recognize us as carrying on his legacy? In my studies of his character and life I have to logically conclude that he would not.

If we have departed that much from the model, then I am saddened and afraid for what the future holds! In all of this nonsense, we are forgetting what it means to be a Santa. We are forgetting the belief and standard that was given to us - the joy of giving of one's self and the bringing of magic and wonder to children. Not to mention the spreading of the Message of Christmas.

We need to stop and reevaluate this thing. I am afraid that the iceberg is ahead. I am trying to post a picture with this blog of a Santa and children from a New Orleans department store circa 1955. Look at the faces of the children, particularly the eyes. Trust and full belief. Then look at Santa. There is a sense of duty and compassion, wrapped in love.

Please, evaluate why you put on that suit. Are you in it for the paycheck or fame? Or are you in it to serve? Now more than ever, these little ones need a role model to look up to. It is time that we stop all of the foolish fads and ego trips and get to work!

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Santa's Wisdom

A Couple of Tips to Make a House Visit More Enjoyable

By Santa Lou Knezevich

I was going through some files of mine and I came across the following information about preparing for a Santa Visit. This type of advanced contact is used by many Santas and modified for specific occasions.

The information should be sent in advance of your visit or even posted on your website for all to see.

The information about camera equipment is most helpful. There have been many times I have been at a party where someone finds himself in a disappointing situation, due to dead camera batteries or filled memory cards. The remaining information on parking Santa’s Sleigh will save you steps and may keep you dry in nasty weather. I’ve kicked myself more than a few times when I had to walk down a long street of parked cars in a driving rainstorm.

I found it very easy to accept a Christmas Card Envelope upon exiting the event. It avoids and handling of a check or money around the guests or children. I like these methods better than having the client mail it to me after the event. If you don’t collect your payment at the time of your performance you will probably wait for your fee until you are remembered and that may be awhile.

Telephoning your client in advance to discuss details of your visit plus, emailing the “Handy Hints” will give the client a good impression of you. It’s good “Customer Service” and shows you are a professional Santa.

Handy Hints in Anticipation of Santa’s Visit

Thank you for inviting Santa to be part of your Holiday Festivities. My elves have prepared the following hints to help make my visit a most memorable experience. Please let me know of any special requests or ideas you may have for my visit. My sleigh phone is 404.XXX.XXXX.

Please reserve a special parking place for Santa. Place a sign out: “Reserved for Santa” Try to make arrangements to have Santa Park in the Valet area at hotels and public places.

Keep your Cell Phone on and at hand. Keep the line free for any last minute details on Santas arrival. Have your camera’s ready. Make sure you have batteries, film, and camera memory cards, video tape and everything you need to capture the moment.

Have gifts wrapped and well labeled. I will be happy to deliver your gifts from my sack. Please discuss plans with me prior to my visit. Gifts should fit in a 35 gallon trash bag which Santa can place in his Sack.

Have a sturdy chair for Santa to sit on. A good straight back armless chair works well and should be placed by the Christmas Tree for pictures. Think about everyone for pictures even Grandma and Grandpa.

If there is a payment due Santa, Please place cash or check inside a Christmas card envelope and hand to me as I am leaving your event.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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 Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we profile Carl Hansen

Carl HansenCarl Hansen, a native of Denmark, was the official “Santa Trainer” for Santa’s Village Corporation’s three theme parks in the 1950s and 1960s.

As Santa, Hansen opened up the Skyforest, California Santa’s Village in 1955 and the Scotts Valley, California’s version in 1957. He also trained the Santas for the Dundee, Illinois Park.

Hansen is credited with creating a year round persona that was original and is still used today. Most children of the day only saw Santa in a department store, but at Santa’s Village, Hansen was seen in Santa’s House, in the reindeer barn, in the Candy Kitchen with Mrs. Claus, and in the Mill Wheel Workshop building toys. Hansen used the props available to create a startling realism to the role.

In 1956 Hansen wrote training manuals for the parks on how to be a year round Santa which included what Santa does on a day-to-day basis and what his life is like when it is not the Christmas Season.

Carl Hansen
1904 – 1998

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

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