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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

MAY 2017

Volume 9, Issue 5


By Michael Rielly

Signs of Spring in 2017

Welcome to our May 2017 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.

Mother's Day in the United States and much of Europe, is May 14. In the United Kingdom, Mother's Day is celebrated on Sunday, March 26, the fourth Sunday in Lent. In other countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on March 21, the Spring equinox. 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 2017 is also the nine 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 3,300 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!

We hope you enjoy this month's edition of the ClausNet Gazette. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions or even complaints, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Ed Asner playing St. Nick again in 'The Santa Files' -- Santa! Buddy the Elf is gonna be so excited that Ed Asner is gonna play Santa Claus again! The veteran actor will once again portray the Jolly Old Elf in the upcoming family film, "The Santa Files," in which a group of children go in search of the red-suited icon, reports Deadline.

Principal photography begins this month in Providence, Rhode Island. Asner most memorably played Santa (the REAL Santa, not one of those department store phonies!) in the 2003 comedy "Elf." He reprised the role for its hour-long animated sequel, "Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas."

He also played Papa Noel in a 2013 TV-movie, "Christmas on the Bayou." And will you look at all the Christmas-themed credits on Ed's resume: "The Man Who Saved Christmas," "National Lampoon' Christmas Vacation 2," "Home Alone: The Holiday Heist," "Christmas is Here Again," "The Christmas Card," "A Christmas Carol," "O Christmas Tree," Snowden's Christmas," "Olive, the Other Reindeer," "The Story of Santa Claus," "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" and "The Christmas Star." (Whew!)
Read the entire article on »

Christmas came early: A Christmas Story House opening up for overnight rentals

The Cleveland Plain Dealer -- It's an early Christmas for fans of the classic holiday movie, "A Christmas Story."

Photo: The Cleveland Plain Dealer

A Christmas Story House in Tremont is opening up for overnight rentals, starting June 1st. Reservations are being taken, starting today. Now you, too, can eat, sleep and live like Ralphie Parker and the Old Man in the house that was used for several scenes in Bob Clark's 1983 holiday saga, starring Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon.

The tale of young Ralphie's pursuit of his very own Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas became a national sensation. Previously, only one annual Christmas holiday charity auction winner was able to spend the night in the House and sleep in Ralphie and Randy's beds.

"We've had a lotta requests through the years from the fans who wanna spend the night in the House," said Brian Jones, Founder/Owner of A Christmas Story House and Museum. "It's something I've been wanting to do for a while now. It's been in the works, but we've been just so busy with many other projects going on that it's taken a lot of time to get this done."

The film fan bought the House over a decade ago and restored it to look exactly as it does in the film. Since then, the House has almost singlehandedly helped to establish "A Christmas Story"-inspired tourism as a cottage industry throughout Cleveland.
Read the entire article on »

Dolly Parton's 'Christmas of Many Colors' Wins Two Awards -- Dolly Parton's 2016 made-for-TV movie Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love has recently earned two awards: the Christopher Award and the MovieGuide Epiphany Prize for Television.

Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Circle of Love received a trophy in the TV/Cable segment of the 68th Annual Christophers Awards, which honor media that positively influences its audiences and "affirm the highest values of the human spirit," according to the Christophers' website.

Among other 2017 Christopher Award winners were 20th Century-Fox's Hidden Figures; the pilot episode of NBC's This is Us; and a 60 Minutes feature on "The Gold Star Parents." The awards will be handed out May 16th in New York City.

From MovieGuide, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love has received the Epiphany Prize for Television, which honors "popular, entertaining film and television programming that is wholesome, spiritually uplifting, inspirational, redemptive and moral," according to the awards' official website.

Coat of Many Colors was honored with the MovieGuide Awards' Most Inspiring Television Program honor.
Read the entire article on »

Custom Wig Company North Pole

For over nine seasons, the team of wig artisans at Custom Wig Company North Pole have been producing handmade custom and ready-to-wear Santa beards, wigs and mustache for Santas all over the world - and custom wigs for Mrs. Claus, too!

Custom Santa Claus wigs and beards from Custom Wig Company North Pole

Join the hundreds of Santas who use hairgoods made by Custom Wig Company North Pole - your wig or beard will be handmade, right here in the United States, from high quality materials and beautiful, white human hair. Our custom Santa sets and Mrs. Claus wigs are made to order, built to fit you and styled in whatever manner you choose.

We are still taking custom orders for the 2017 holiday season, but demand has been high this year. We will likely fill all of our Pre-Thanksgiving delivery slots by early June, at which point we will start a waiting list in order to accommodate as many later orders as we can before the holidays. We start taking orders for the 2018 season on November 1, 2017.

You can see many examples of both our custom and our ready-to-wear Santa beards and wigs on our website, We look forward to creating the perfect hair or beard for you!

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Featured Member - May 2017

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!

We are happy to announce our ClausNet Featured Member for May 2017 is AClaustoRemember!

This month’s featured member joined us only a few months ago. AClaustoRemember aka Santa John joined the ClausNet Community in December 2016. I love doing these interviews as I am always amazed how much we all have in common.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa John a few days ago and here is what he had to say...
Read the entire interview on »

Missed an interview? Visit our Featured Members of the Month section to read past interviews!

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Santa Claus Convention History

By Phil L. Wenz

The first Santa Claus Convention, held in 1939 in New York City, New York, was a 2 day affair that brought more than a dozen Santas to the Hotel St. George. It was held by the Benevolent Order of Santa Claus, which was founded two years earlier in 1937, to promote a positive image of Santa with guidelines such as clean costumes, personal hygiene, and knowing the reindeer names.

The convention was to organize Santas and present to department stores an ever endearing code of conduct and the proper appearance of the profession. The slogan of the convention was “Santa Claus is a living cause.”

During the conference portion of the convention discussion, a foundation was laid for the code of conduct that included; Santa will never smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or use any language unbecoming of a saint, be physically and mentally healthy, never break character, incorporate folklore and legend, and use the best available costuming.

After the convention, the Benevolent Order of Santa Claus continued for a few more years. In 1942 the Order was dissolved. There would not be another convention until 1950 that was held by the newly organized, Ancient and Mystic Order of Kris Kringles in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Ancient and Mystic Order of Kris Kringles was organized in 1949 for the purpose of “Placing Santa Claus on a Higher Plane and to Promote Good Will, Fellowship and the True Christmas Spirit in the Hearts of All People.” Santa Sam Caress, President of AMKK, was very instrumental in laying out a 2 day conference that held seminars taught by Santa Frank Lais of New Orleans, Louisiana and Santa Charles W. Howard of Albion, New York.

In the convention’s symposium, 12 important topics were open for discussion. The symposium used “Roberts Rules of Order” and was presided over by Santa Francis A. Kirby of Silver Springs, Maryland.

There would be a few more conventions in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Then not another until 1985…but that is another story.

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Santa's Wisdom


By Santa Lou Knezevich

e·go ego, noun: ego; plural noun: egos - a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

Or “Ego is what makes everyone else sick -- except the person with the disease.”

My Santa Season starts earnest the day after Halloween. I work with an outstanding photographer and two helpers being a part of creating Christmas memories. Each season they surprise me with a new “set” surrounded by “old fashioned toys, other items plus, a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree.

Now, you’re probably wondering what does this story he’s telling has to do with ego. This year as I waited for my cues in a room a few steps from the photo set, there was on one wall a framed plaque which fascinated me. It read: “Remember: Too Much Ego Will Kill Your Talent.”

Over the next few days I pondered over this saying, thinking of some Santas whom I have seen or met; who are a boastful reminder for the word “Ego.”

I have been around some Santas who boast they are the best Santas in the world. Oh yes, just ask them, they will tell you so; not just once but many times over. This self-adulation usually proves disturbing to many of us. Having said that; I am continually surprised at how many in the Santa Community hang upon their words with wide eyed adulation. In fact the “Pied Piper of Hamblin” would be quite shocked at the “curb appeal” some of these Santas have!

I feel this adulation is a result of why we become Santas. We emulate the character of Santa who through the years has maintained the virtues of love, compassion and honesty. We are, as a group, accepting to all plus, we are in disbelief if a Santa breaks the mold. I give this opinion from experience because, I believe at the core of the Santa Community are individuals who genuinely believe in people and extend their hand to those in need.

The Santa Business has changed dramatically since I entered it many years ago. When I put on the “Red Suit” became a Santa there were far fewer Santas then now.

When our economy shifted and jobs were scarce many men thought being Santa was a lucrative profession. It may have been for a few however, most Santas got by making a buck or two.

Organizations began to spring up locally and nationally in many different forms. Some groups were and are strictly social meetings for a meal and comrade of the group. Some local groups have dues paying members with bye laws and elected officers. There are national organizations offering various products for Santas through their group buying power.

These groups and others make a persuasive statement to join them and I see how Santas, especially new ones, have difficulty making choices.

Within these groups there are all types of Santas with all sorts of backgrounds. There is a small group I will call “Charlatan’s.” These are men who have found a way to reach around to your wallet while you embrace their personality.

“Charlatan’s” are great sales people and they have found many Santas are easy prospects. I have found a common thread among these “Charlatan’s.” Most all of them have egos as big as a house. They are the ones loudly joining any conversation to make their views known and many times chiding those views which are not agreeable to them.

You’ll also notice for the most part; these “Charlatan’s” don’t give anything back to the community, nary a candy cane! It’s safe to say they are cheap!

Seldom, if ever, can I remember when a “Charlatan” explained how to soothe a crying child or knows, every child wants to hear they are on the “nice list.” They are too busy selling their wares to understand what it is to be a Santa. I often wonder just what kind of Santa impression they leave behind.

One of these “Charlatans” chided me repeatedly for being “too nice.” His goal is to make money off of Santas and to that end he will do or say anything to make a buck! He is also one of the worst Santas I have ever seen and guess what; presently he’s teaching a Santa School?

I have been a Santa Instructor for many years plus I have written many articles about being a Santa. I am the first to tell you being Santa is not found in the classroom or in written material. Those are the refinements to portraying Santa which are found in the classroom and print. You first evolve into being Santa from your heart; it is only you who may make him believable because of your compassion, love, plus the understanding, which you bring to each child and adult.

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Red, please think about your actions and don’t be awed by the “Charlatan’s” who are in it only for their personal gain.

My advice to new Santas and Mrs. Claus’s is to take your time as your first year or two is a learning experience in which you will develop your character, costuming and confidence.

“Many men try to be Santa Claus and many may succeed however, only a few are truly Santa Claus.”

Always remember, It's not about you, it's about the children.

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

Read the entire article on »

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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 James Rielly!

James (Jim) Rielly’s career as Rhode Island’s most recognizable Santa Claus spanned over 60 years.

Jim Rielly was well known throughout New England for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts. He began his Santa Claus career in 1927 at the age of 19 at an abandoned chicken coop where several underprivileged children had made their home. He appeared as Santa Claus wherever he was needed but primarily at charitable organizations, nursing homes, hospitals, orphanages, military bases and installations.

 Mr. Rielly was featured in the New York Times on multiple occasions and in hundreds of other newspapers throughout the United States. In 1982 he appeared on the television news program, PM Magazine hosted by Sheila Martines and Matt Laurer. In recognition of his generosity and community involvement, Mr. Rielly was the recipient of numerous awards and civic citations.

Over the course of his lifetime, he received letters of recognition from celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world including: Eleanor Roosevelt, Senators Theodore Francis Green, Claiborne Pell, and John Chafee, Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon, and even his Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

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

Jim Rielly died on November 26, 1991 at the age of 83.

James D. Rielly
A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island
Bristol, Rhode Island USA
1908 – 1991

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

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