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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

MAY 2015

Volume 7, Issue 5

Happy Mother's Day!

By Michael Rielly

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there and welcome to our May 2015 newsletter!

The origin of a Mother's Day dates back to ancient Greece. Mothers have been recognized as an important part of our culture and lives for thousands of years.

Mothers have a special way of communicating love without saying a word. Although, if your Mom was anything like mine, she could communicate a lot more than love and support without speaking a single word. :D

My parents are both gone now, but it does not stop me from communicating with them -- especially my Mom. This Mother's Day, be sure to take a moment to let the Moms in your life know how much you love and appreciate them.

May is also the seven year anniversary of the first edition of our monthly newsletter, the ClausNet Gazette! Readership for the newsletter has grow quite a bit since that first issue. Today the ClausNet Gazette reaches over 3,200 inboxes each month! You can view all our past issues online in the ClausNet Gazette newsletter archive.

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in submitting an article for publication or would like to advertise in an upcoming issue!

I hope you enjoy this month's edition of the ClausNet Gazette!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Feds Go After Christmas Lights -- Your Christmas lights just became a lot more expensive.

A ruling issued on Monday by the Consumer Product Safety Commission claims certain decorations are a “substantial product hazard.” The 39-page report lays out specifications for acceptable seasonal lighting — and it all points to big price increases for seasonal lighting products.

The claim is that Christmas lights are dangerous. Almost 300 deaths have been linked to Christmas lights over the past 30 years. The CPSC claims the new regulations will cut down on fatalities associated with Christmas lights.

The ruling includes but is not limited to “stars, wreaths, candles without shades, light sculptures, blow-molded (plastic) figures, and animated figures.” The CPSC ruling says a product will be noncompliant if it doesn’t “contain any one of three observable characteristics – minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, or over current protection”.

All “solar-powered products” have been exempted.

To make the ruling more understandable, the CPSC outlined a definition of a Christmas bulb stating, “Lighting products within the scope of the rule are typically used seasonally and provide only decorative lumination.”

“The products typically are displayed for a relatively short period of time and are then removed and stored until needed again.”

This is taxpayer money “at work” folks.

The CPSC maintains the ruling is listed as a “voluntary standard.” Manufacturers and retailers, however, may face possible civil and “criminal penalties” for failing to report products that are not in compliance with the new regulation.
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Disney Cruise Line nails down Halloween, Christmas sailings

Orlando Sentinel -- Disney Cruise Line has lined up its Halloween and Christmas-themed sailings for 2015. All four ships in the line will feature a series of cruises filled with thematic overlays either for Halloween on the High Seas or Very Merrytime Cruises. In all there will be 70 sailings from September-December from four different ports.

"You see more and more people that want to celebrate the holiday whether it's Christmas or it's Halloween, but more for the month," said Jennifer Tinn, manager of marketing strategy at Disney Cruise Line. "It's become like a seasonal thing to get your family into it. It really echoes the change of season."

For Halloween on the High Seas, each ship gets a spooky makeover with its own Pumpkin Tree in the atrium along with costume parties, trick-or-treating, scary movies and other events for both children and adults. In 2014, the line put on Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas - Sing and Scream," an interactive movie experience with a meet-and-greet with the film's characters Jack Skellington and Sally.
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Amazon drops 'girls' and 'boys' toy search options

ToyNews -- Amazon appears to have dropped gendered search options for its toys, by removing its ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ categories.

Eagle-eyed internet trawlers have spotted that the categories seem to have been surreptitiously removed, leaving shoppers to search through the remaining categories: age range, categories and top brands.

Amazon now joins a growing list of toy retailers to do away with gendered signage, following increasing backlash from campaigners such as the Let Toys Be Toys movement.

A search for ‘boys toys’ and ‘girls toys’ still brings up tagged product listings, however, campaigners appear optimistic for what the ‘steps forward’ mean for gender neutral toy categorisation.
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Featured Member - May 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 Santa Roberts!

This month’s featured member is from Utah. Santa Bruce Roberts got started portraying Santa Claus only a few years ago, but he certainly looks the part! One of the things I love about ClausNet is seeing the transformations many of our members make. Be sure to check out Santa Bruce’s picture Gallery to see his before and after pictures.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Bruce 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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May 1, 1908

By Michael Rielly

Earlier this month, Phil Wenz posted a very nice tribute to Charles W. Howard. Charles W. Howard passed away on May 1, 1966. May 1 is an important date for me as not only is it the day we lost Charlie, but it is also the day my grandfather Jim Rielly was born.

James D. Rielly
"A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island"
May 1, 1908 - November 26, 1991

James D. "Jimmy" Rielly - Bristol, Rhode Island

James D. “Jimmy” Rielly’s career as Rhode Island’s most recognizable Santa Claus spanned over six decades.

Mr. Rielly began his Santa Claus career during the Great Depression. His first appearance as Santa Claus was in 1927 at the age of 19 at an abandoned chicken coop where a underprivileged family had made their home. Since then, he appeared as Santa Claus wherever he was needed but primarily at charitable organizations, nursing homes, hospitals, orphanages, military bases and installations. In his 62 years portraying Santa Claus, Mr. Rielly never took money or gifts for any of his appearances.

During the course of his Santa career, he was featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines and was the recipient of numerous of citations and awards, including Citizen of the Year in 1989. An entire wall in his home was covered with plaques and proclamations honoring the Santa Claus of Rhode Island. And his hometown of Bristol renamed a street and dedicated a park bench in his honor. Today, an oil painting of Jim Rielly hangs in the entrance way of the Bristol Rhode Island Town Hall.

Mr. Rielly was also featured in the New York Times and on several national and local television programs including PM Magazine hosted by Sheila Martines and Matt Laurer.

On January 31, 1979 his name was recorded in the United States Senate Congressional Record as "James D. Rielly – A truly remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island”.

Mr. Rielly's unselfish service over the years prompted hundreds letters from civic groups, dignitaries, and politicians, including: Eleanor Roosevelt, Governor John Chafee, Senator Claiborne Pell, Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon, and his Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

However, of all the letters Jim Rielly received over the years, his most cherished were those he received from children, address only to: “Santa Claus, Bristol, R.I.”

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The Would Be Spy

By Santa John Gable

A peaceful night, bright stars, full moon,
The cuckoo would be singing soon.

As midnight rolls and snowflakes fall,
Light footsteps patter down the hall.

To catch a glimpse, his heart’s desire,
To see how he gets past the fire.

What wonders wait there in his pack?
He wants to see, but he heads back.

For to be seen would never do,
Too great a risk, this man to view.

Afraid of what a glimpse may cost,
If spied by Santa, all is lost!

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Santa's Wisdom

The Ends of My Mustache Tell a Story

By Santa Lou Knezevich

I was honored to be one of the instructors at the NorthStar Santa School, recently held in the North Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georgia. I encourage any of you who have the opportunity to attend live Santa Schools to do so. The instruction and camaraderie developed being with and hearing experiences of your fellow Santas is a bonus for your Santa Career. ClausNet and your State or Regional Organizations have information on the many regional and traveling Santa schools. Do your research and choose wisely.

In one of my segments we discussed talking to children. Now, this seems something which Santa does effortlessly and with ease. Every child wants to see Santa and tell him their Christmas wishes. Their anticipation is overflowing and some are very creative furnishing lists of toy catalog pictures pasted to endless pieces of paper. Some are already tech savvy and display their wish lists on an iPhone scrolling page after page. We Santas see it all!

Although I am basically a hotel Santa, I also perform at many house visits and corporate events; I also have a few events where children line up to see me, much like those of you who are Mall Santas. Sitting in the “Chair” I chuckle to myself, when I have watched a very animated child, eager to see Santa, start a horrific meltdown when they are about arm’s length away from me. Of course the whole room stops momentarily, eager to see what happened. Most everyone chuckles over the episode and continues to see Santa.

Well, maybe the statement above is not quite true! This Santa has a theory: “One crying child will beget another crying child.” Crying can be contagious! Parents or your helpers need to quiet the child quickly which means: removing them from your presence. Parents, on the other hand are worried about losing their place in line, so they may need assurance they can come back when the child has calmed.

There are a lot of theories why a child cries when seeing Santa. All I know is; something about me (Santa) triggered an emotion in that child. Sometimes, Moms have told me they believe their teachings about “Stranger Danger” may have been the reason. I do know I was upset the first time a child cried, had a tantrum melt-down and did not want to see Santa. It bothered me and I confided my hurt to a fellow Santa. He told me that was the first melt-down I would experience but it was the start of many, many more. He said I shouldn’t take this so seriously. I had done nothing wrong and who knows what started the child crying. It may have been my gloves, my beard or maybe the child had a scary experience which I was a reminder of. His words were very true and over the years I have had, like you, my share of melt-downs.

It took me awhile to accept that no matter what I did, I couldn’t make some children happy. I adopted the saying; “You can’t win them all.” I believe each child deserves Santa’s undivided attention and to be treated with respect. As Santas we must fulfill the expectations of the children and the public. When a child has a problem being near us, we need to accept it and move on, just remember “You can’t win them all.”

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

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

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Santa Claus, by Tom Roderick -

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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 Charles W. Howard!

Charles W. HowardMay 1, 2015 was the 49th 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?
Visit the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame website.

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