You're receiving this newsletter because you are a registered member of
Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser.
ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

JULY 2015

Volume 7, Issue 7

Happy Birthday America!

By Michael Rielly

Hello everyone! Welcome to our July 2015 newsletter and Happy Independence Day to all our U.S. members!

In the 2013 July issue of the ClausNet Gazette, I wrote about my hometown Bristol, Rhode Island’s annual Fourth of July celebration and about my grandfather, Bristol’s first official Town Crier from 1975 to 1989. Little did I know then that two years later I would be following in his footsteps.

Bristol’s Independence Day celebration was first established in 1785. It is the oldest continuous celebration of its kind the country. Bristol begins celebrating the Fourth of July on Flag Day, June 14.

There are outdoor concerts, soap-box races, a Miss (and Little Miss) Fourth of July Pageant, fireworks displays, military flyovers, visiting ships, and a host of other festivities. On July 4th, the Town Crier kicks off the Patriotic exercises with a speech and then leads the parade through the streets of downtown Bristol.

This past Flag Day, retiring Town Crier Gerry MacNeill and I participated in a Passing of the Bell ceremony. Gerry, also a Santa Claus, was our Town Crier from 1992 to 2014 taking over the role from Anthony Marino (1990-1991).

Now 40 years later, I have the distinct honor of being Town Crier for the most patriotic town in America!

I hope you enjoy this month's issue of the ClausNet Gazette. If you missed an issue, you can view all our past issues online in the ClausNet Gazette newsletter archive.

back to top

In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

New Mexicans ready for Cowboy Christmas

Grand Lake News -- Ram pickups pulling elaborate horse trailers and toting world-class ropers and steer wrestlers have left Pecos, Texas, and Reno, Nev., and are making their ways to locales all across North America.

They’re meeting other rigs and customized vans toting bull riders, saddle bronc riders and bareback riders. This is Cowboy Christmas, the busiest time of the ProRodeo season. It features numerous rodeos located all across the United States and Canada, and each stop offers something for every contestant who makes a living in the sport.

The major stops include Prescott, Ariz.; Window Rock, Ariz.; Cody, Wyo.; Greeley, Colo.; Springdale, Ark.; Molalla, Ore.; St. Paul, Ore.; Livingston, Mont.; and Red Lodge, Mont., just to name a few. The commonality between them is the enticement of large paydays and many miles in between.

“The Fourth is really tough because you’re going on little to no sleep and spend most of your time getting from one place to another,” said Taos Muncy, a two-time world champion saddle bronc rider and one of the key members of the Tate Branch Auto Group team of ProRodeo cowboys. “A lot of things can happen, good and bad. I’ve had terrible Fourths where I’ve won nothing. That’s real humbling.”

As a roughstock cowboy, Muncy and his traveling posse don’t have to haul their own horses. The timed-event cowboys do. No matter the traveling arrangements, the logistics of getting from one place to another can be nightmarish.
Write a comment »

Sam's Club takes a chance on drones this Christmas -- Sam's Club is planning to sell many more drones this holiday season, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Wal-Mart subsidiary told the Journal that it will stock about a dozen models ranging in price from $100 to more than $4,000 in time for the holiday shopping season.

Currently, the retailer sells a model for $1,169, which comes with a digital camera. Dawn vonBechmann, senior vice president of technology, entertainment and office products for Sam's Club, told the Journal that it was selling "like crazy."

The company did a survey and found that about half of drone purchases thus far have been for fun, the Journal reported. Sam's Club is betting that if it offers more variety for shoppers, the drones will really take off.
Write a comment »

Disney's Playmation turns 'toys to life' into 'toys to motion'

ToyNews -- Skylanders, Disney Infinity and LEGO Dimensions continue to work the toys to life furrow.

These games use plastic figurines and collectable toys to unlock in-game content by placing them on a USB peripheral plugged into the console.

Playmation is a new project from Disney that turns this trend on its head, making it more active and engaging at the same time. It’s based around a Starter Pack that provides wearable technology for the Avengers franchise.

Players put on the Avengers Repulsor wrist cannon to interact with a virtual adventure. Using sound effects and voice the Repulser tells a real time story that players interact with

It detects motion so at times players must run, jump, hop and stand still to progress the story. It also has a variety of infra-red targeting weapons. Here players shoot different virtual weapons at the Activator scanners to earn points, defeat enemies and again progress the unfolding narrative.

These Activator scanners are more than just sitting targets though. They can detect the player and shoot back. Sometime this is with line of sight, but other times it sends out a blast to effect the whole room. This means that players have to quickly leave the space before it’s too late, then return fire after the blast.

It’s an experience that can sound kind of comical to explain but in practice does a surprisingly good job of creating an engaging and interactive virtual adventure.

Although it’s not been priced for the UK yet the Starter Pack will cost $120 in the US, with additional figures and expansions sold separately.
Write a comment »

back to top

Featured Member - July 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 Barney!

This month’s featured member of the month is from China Grove North Carolina. Santa Barney joined us back in 2011. Barney is a retired Firefighter and now that he is retired, he says he loves spoiling his grand-kids and then sending them home!

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa Barney 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!

back to top

That American Pride

By Tim Cavender

I remember a time, not too long ago When I was respected, by the young and the old In a land that was blessed, by God’s mighty hand A Country so true, a Country so grand.

I stood high above every city and town, And when soldiers were buried, on what’s hallowed ground. I would make hearts proud, and chests fill with pride, And when we were troubled, I stood by your side.

I fought with this country, the red, white and blue, Through wars and through trials, I forever stayed true. And lowered to honor a soldier who died, That fought for our freedoms, that’s American Pride.

Today I am weary, I’m bruised and I’m sore. In a country I’m not sure that I can take any more. I’m ripped and I’m torn, walked on and burned, By people whose morals have made a grave turn.

My people now yell that they are in need of more rights, With protests and marches and some even fight. I’m unable to believe what’s right and what’s wrong, And because of these troubles, I may not last long.

Our leaders don’t lead, politicians have lied, And parents have split, causing children to cry. And God we’ve rejected, forgot and ignored, His grace and salvation, we need even more.

And now is the time, that I must honestly say, That we’ve lost something sacred, that we need more today. A feeling of truth, not deceit and of lies, The heart of Ole Glory, that’s American Pride.

back to top

Santa's Wisdom

There is a time and a place for every “Ho, Ho, Ho”

By Santa Lou Knezevich

One of the signatures of Santa Claus is saying “Ho, Ho, Ho.” People have come to expect Santa to use this expression and knowing when and how adds to the realism of Santa Claus. There should be some mystery about Santa and repeatedly saying this takes away from the realism.

The loud “Ho, Ho, Ho” should not be used when making an entrance except when needed to get the attention of a huge, loud crowd. Just imagine what a booming “Ho, Ho, Ho” entrance will do to babies and small children, in a home setting or small area. It‘s going to scare them and set off some hysterical crying which in turn diverts the audience‘s attention from your entrance.

The time to consider the loud, “Ho, Ho, Ho” is when you exit the event. As you are about to leave sight of the crowd is the time to utter those famous words, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! HO, HO, HO”. If you’ve done your job well, there will be some happy faces wishing you good byes and safe travels.

Practice your loud, “Ho, Ho, Ho”, so you know the strength of your voice at different levels. Take a deep breath and remember to bring that voice up from the depths of your stomach. When you‘re comfortable with the loudness and expression proceed to saying…”Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

There is another ―”Ho, Ho, Ho” which is actually a chuckle. You should use this version when you enter a room so you do not frighten children. As we mentioned before your entrance sets a stage for your interaction with your audience and is therefore very important. The chuckle is done in a modulated voice said in a soft, yet deep rumbling, “Ho, Ho, Ho”. Along with the chuckle, a belly shake with hands around your cookie zone, is always appreciated.

Practice this as a normal laugh. Soon you will have this chuckle down so well that you don‘t have to think about laughing that way. It also gives incredible credibility to you. Folks will start commenting that you even sound like Santa. That low rumbling, “Ho, Ho, Ho” chuckle did the trick. Practice the soft and gentle chuckle until you build it into a hardy laugh. It is more realistic and less apt to frighten the small children who may be timid around you anyway.

When talking with children it is best to speak very quietly and secretively. Remember you are being told a secret of a child who is placing their confidence in a red-suited character who fulfills wishes to good children. Talk to the child as you would an adult, don‘t baby talk or change the pitch of your voice. You might chuckle during the time a child is on your knee. Animate the visit by facial expressions such as looks of surprise, pondering thought, and smiling. That way you can keep that twinkle in your eyes. Laugh often and loud if it calls for it.

So now we all know that we must practice. Remember, practice makes perfect. Although we don‘t give much thought to our voices, the voice is one of Santa‘s most important assets.

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

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

back to top

Perfectly Festive In All Fifty States American Santa Jim Shore Figure
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland - Item #1163086.

back to top

Santa Claus Hall of Fame

Each month we feature an inductee of the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame.

This month we honor Bill Strother!

Miller & Rhoads Department Store hired former Hollywood stunt man Bill Strother to fill Santa’s big red suit in 1942.

Strother brought with him many techniques from Hollywood and made the Miller & Rhoads Santa Claus a symbol of the Christmas season.

His makeup, designed by the famous Max Factor, took Strother about two hours to put on, and he was, without a doubt, the most realistic Santa Claus ever seen.

In addition, he devised a special Santa act. After appearing out of a chimney, he received children on his lap and by use of a concealed throat-mike on an assistant, was able to address each child by name. No act at any theater in Richmond ever drew the crowds, adults as well as children that flocked to see this Santa Claus appear out of a chimney.

Bill Strother not only became the most famous Santa Claus in the history of Virginia, he was also the world’s highest paid Santa Claus according to an article in the Saturday Evening Post in 1951.

Bill Strother
Richmond, Virginia
1896 – 1957

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

back to top