Well July is here already! For those of us above the equator that means summertime fun; time to break out the flip flops, lather on the sunscreen, and spark-up the grill! That's what most people normally think of when you mention the month of July. But to the Santa Claus community, July means that we are only six months away from Christmas! By now many of us are already planning upgrades to our presentations and several have even begun booking events!
This is probably one of the reasons why we see so much activity on ClausNet this time of year. New member registrations are up considerably since last month. I can hardly keep up.
As always, there is a lot happening on ClausNet. Later this month we will be kicking off two of our most popular annual events: the ClausNet Christmas Ornament and Christmas Card Exchange! This will be our fourth consecutive year for these events! Look for details posted on ClausNet.com in the upcoming weeks! If you are a new member to ClausNet, you might want to visit our Past Events discussion forums.
We hope you enjoy this edition of the ClausNet Gazette! Remember, if you have a product or a story that you would like to share with your fellow members, please feel free to contact us!
ArgusLeader.com -- First thing you think when you see Kelvin Gabel: He really DOES look like Santa Claus.
His eyes, how they twinkle! His dimples, well, however merry they are, they're hidden by the beard on his chin that IS as white as the snow.
I'm not about to tell anyone that their nose is like a cherry. But trust me, or trust the photo with this column, Gabel looks like St. Nick. And he has a heart as generous as the red-clad gent's too.
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Farmington Hills Patch -- Twenty-year Farmington resident Mike Hartman travels three weeks each month for Estes Express Lines, an 80-year-old, family-owned shipping business. He assists and educates 120 Estes representatives, travelling to 20 U.S. states, all of Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
But his December travels around this area on his motorcycle draw much more attention ' because he's dressed up as Santa Claus.
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ToyNews -- Disney has named the ten products it believes will be under the most Christmas trees come December 25th.
The gifts and toys were displayed at a Christmas Wonderland at the Disney Store in Oxford Street.
Standouts included the new Buzz, Woody and Jessie figures from the Toy Story Hawaiian Vacation short-film, complete with grass skirts and hula hula girl garb, and a package of ten Disney Princess dolls featuring the latest member of the team, Rapunzel.
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ToyNews -- Games publisher Ubisoft has unveiled a new line of goods called UbiCollectibles.
The range will include popular franchises such as Assassin's Creed, Might & Magic and Ghost Recon, which have been adapted into collectable figures and statues.
UbiCollectibles will only be available to buy through the Ubisoft store.
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ToyNews -- Last week, Hamleys nominated the Ride-in Dalek as one of its top toys for Christmas and the product caught the attention of The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Guardian, The Mirror and The Metro.
The ride-in was also featured yesterday in the News of The World, which voted it in its top five recommendations for Christmas 2011.
Licensor for the Doctor Who brand, the BBC, commented: "We have always dreamed of developing a ride-in toy Dalek, but no one had previously been able to achieve this for us, we are so excited by the Kids@play project, This will be an industry first for us." .
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ToyNews -- Mookie will now distribute the Whirlee and the Street Cruz 2.
These will join the existing line-up of wheeled toys, like the ScuttleBug, ScrambleBug and Smart Trike.
The Whirlee features a stackable design, weighing in at just 865 grams with four 360 degree caster wheels for spinning manouvres. Available from August 1st, the ride-on comes in red and blue colours.
The Street Cruz 2 has a 'lean and steer' action for added control and has a low-riding foot plate. Suitable for kids aged three and up, the scooter comes in two-tone colours and has chunky rubber grip handles.
Read More »
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 ClausNet.com. This is a great way to get to know your fellow ClausNet members!
This month our featured ClausNet Member is KKringle!
I am happy to announce that our July 2011 ClausNet Featured Member of the Month is KKringle!
KKringle aka Santa Kevin joined us back in April 2008 and has been a key contributor to the discussions here ever since! I met Kevin and his wife Mary Ellen back at the Northeast Santas Get Together in Cape Cod this past April.
Kevin and Mary Ellen make a wonderful Claus Couple and we are happy to have both of them as part of our community! I spoke with Kevin 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!
Posted by Michael Rielly
My earliest Santa Claus memory was when I was 6-years old.
I have always loved Lego. In fact, I still do and yes I still play with Lego.
One year I asked Santa for a Lego set. Back then they didn't have kits or models like they have today. Lego sets we simply a box with some total number of standard and specialty blocks. I remember that I wanted more clear blocks so I could make windshields for my spaceship creations.
Anyway, Christmas Day came and there was no Lego. There were lots of gifts: GI Joes, Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Tonka Trucks, but no Lego. I was really disappointed. I asked Santa for Lego in my letter and even in person. Santa came to my house a few days before Christmas and I told him then. How could he have forgotten?
The next day, December 26, my younger brother and I got up early and decided to go into the living room and pretend it was Christmas Day again. Since all out toys were still spread out all over the room, it would be just like Christmas morning.
When we went into the living room, there on the hearth of the fireplace was a box of Lego. At first I though that maybe I just didn't see it the day before. Maybe it was lost in all the other toys we got. But there on the box was a note. It was a letter from Santa!
I wish I still had the letter, but I don't need it to remember exactly what it said.
I found this in the bottom of my sleigh when I got back to the North Pole. It was so foggy last night that I didn't see it fall out of my bag. See you next year!
My brother and I ran into my parents bedroom to show them the letter from Santa. My father growled at us, "Get back to bed!" and my mother simply told us to go back into the living room and to play quietly.
I don't remember what happened to that letter. But I remember reading it over and over again. The letter and that box of Lego is a Christmas memory I will always remember.
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By Santa Bill McKee
Hanging over the doorway of our kitchen (under which we pass uncounted times every day) is a tissue paper craft rainbow. When walking under this rainbow and acknowledging its presence, any troubles I think I have fade into near-nothingness.
This gift of a rainbow given to Santa came from a very special young child.
I received it during my first full-scale visit to St. Jude Tri-Cities Affiliate Clinic. Even with my education, background, training and experience; I was nervous as I arrived. There were a number of children there that beautiful Spring day. Each and every child, from the youngest to the oldest, was an inspiration to me, and I soon felt right at home.
I moved from room to room, taking whatever time required, or seemed appropriate with each child and family. I read or told stories, answered questions, and we played games. I listened closely as some of them told me stories.
I had been informed there was one little boy who was very engaging.
Marinda McConnell, Child Life Program Manager at the Niswonger Children's Hospital at Johnson City Medical Center and St. Jude Tri-Cities Affiliate Clinic in Johnson City, Tenn., announced through his nearly-closed door that he had a visitor on the way to his room.
Santa! he exclaimed, hearing the sleigh bells on my boots as I walked up the hall.
Entering his room, I saw his eyes were dancing as his smile and excitement filled the room. It may have seemed like Christmas morning all over again for him.
He had been working on a paper mache rainbow and was awaiting lunch with his mother at his side. His laughter was like the sounds of happiness and joys from a Christmas morning, all wrapped into one special little boy.
Lunch, for him, came though a plastic tube which fed directly into his stomach. It has been this way almost his entire life.
He had been diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia, a blood disorder that leads to bone marrow failure and various types of cancer and leukemia.
Lunch was also some small bites of his favorites, salted fries and a grilled burger. Not being able to swallow the tidbits, he took them in his mouth, wrestled them around his tongue, savoring every nuance and distinction of flavor, fair and foul.
From each and every bite he extracted the essence of the flavors and juices and aromas, discarding the remnants, ready for another flavor filled treasure.
Each bite he took in, savored and discarded once again. All the while we talked, laughed, played and he continued working on the paper mache rainbow. His hands twisted, he labored to finish as he labored also to guide food to his mouth. And he laughed at the simple joys of living and the excitement of the day.
Before me was this child who savored life as he savored his lunch, tasting every moment, every flavor and even the sour notes.
Witnessing this young man, full of energy and life, overcoming many physical challenges (most adults could not deal with) reinforced my understanding of the Sacredness of each and every child and of life itself.
His spirit shined through so brightly as to make his physical impairments nearly vanish into nothingness. His boundless energy flowed through and beyond the walls of his room, spilling over and being felt through the entire clinic I have no doubt.
The simple joy of living life seemed to come so naturally to him. I barely saw his physical impairments at all. I just saw this bright, shining, little boy whose spirit could not be confined within his imperfect body. His joy of life filled the room and all who came near him.
I had gone to the clinic to try and spread a little Christmas Joy, perhaps brighten some child's day. As I left that day, it was with renewed vigor and a brightened Spirit, lifted up by this glowing little boy so full of energy and life, housed in that small fragile body.
So that's why above our doorway is a rainbow. And this little paper rainbow sheds a most incredible light that helps guide me on my path and my reindeer steer their sleigh.
To learn more about Santa-America, please contact:
Santa Bob Elkin (santa AT santatb DOT com)
National Director, Santa Relations
The modern Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer were first brought together in Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem 'A visit from Saint Nicholas.' First printed anonymously in a local New York newspaper the Troy Sentinel in 1823. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen became household names after the formal 1837 publishing of the poem giving authorship credit to Moore. By the 1860's most home libraries had a copy of Moore's work. No other major modern day characters were added to the group with the exception of Mrs. Claus and the North Pole Elves for nearly 50 years.
Then as the story goes in 1938, as the Great Depression was winding down and even as the prospect of better times loomed on the horizon, Robert L. May was looking toward another bleak Christmas. An advertising copywriter for Montgomery Wards living on meager salary, May was on the brink of bankruptcy and exhaustion. After fighting cancer for two long years, his wife, Evelyn, was losing the battle. Staring into each other's eyes, they both knew she wouldn't last long. Their daughter knew something was wrong too.
On a cold December night after visiting her bedridden emaciated mother, their four year old, Barbara, climbed into her father's lap. She asked, 'Why isn't my mommy just like everybody else's mommy?' How could he explain to a small child that her critically ill mother wanted to play with Barbara, read her stories and more than anything in the world ' be with her for every important moment in her life?
How could he tell an innocent girl that illness and death were a part of life? Evelyn wanted to be like other mothers, but illness had excluded her from all the activities that children and their mothers normally enjoyed? How could he give her the answers she needed without breaking little Barbara's heart in the process.
In their drafty, two-bedroom Chicago apartment, with the cold north wind rattling the windows, Bob May held his daughter in his arms and struggled to answer the child's simple question. He recalled the pain and he has always felt growing up because he had been considered different. May had been a small, thin child, constantly picked on by other children, called 'sissy' and other names he didn't want to remember. Even in college he was so slightly built that he was often mistaken for a boy.
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Each month we feature an inductee of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we profile James D. Rielly
James D. "Jimmy" Rielly began is Santa Claus career in 1928 at the age of 20.
Over his 60 plus years portraying Santa Claus, Jim Rielly was featured in more than 100 newspapers and appeared on several national television shows.
He received letters of commendation from two US Presidents; President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Richard M. Nixon. Jim Rielly also received multiple letters from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, thanking him for his work with children and the needy.
In 1979 Mr. Rielly's work as Santa Claus was honored in the United States Senate when his name was recorded in the Senate Congressional Record as "James D. Rielly ' A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus From Rhode Island".
"I am not a wealthy man by no means. But I love doing Santa Claus and I'll go anywhere the children need me. This is what I can give to the children."
James D. Rielly
May 1, 1908 - November 26, 1991
Want to learn more? Check out the following: