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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

JULY 2016

Volume 8, Issue 7

Christmas in July!

By Michael Rielly

Welcome to our July newsletter!

Well here we are in July already! We're already halfway through 2016. It seems like this year is flying by.

For most folks, July means summertime fun and outdoor activities; beaches, cookouts, pool parties, and roasting marshmallows around the campfire. The last thing most people are thinking about this time of year is Christmas! But not us! With only 6 month until Christmas, many of us are busy planning for the upcoming season. And some have already started booking events!

If you are a seasoned Santa or Mrs. Claus, what are some of your tips on preparing for the season ahead? Visit the discussion forums on and let us know!

Also, we will be kicking off a new contest in a few weeks. We have a closet full of prizes to give away. Look for an announcement on the forums soon!

We hope you enjoy this month's issue. 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

Christmas Vacation Called a Microagression -- A tax payer funded guide published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill accuses the term and the practice of Christmas vacation of being a “microgression”.

Microagressions are everyday words that some interpret as causing anger or frustration in others. In other words, they are terms, behaviors or practices that cause offense.

A “Christmas vacation” is so labeled, the guide says, because “academic calendars and encouraged vacations” which “are organized around major religious observances” centralize “the Christian faith” and diminish “non-Christian spiritual rituals and observances.”

Curiously the long break between semesters at UNC Chapel Hill for the 2016-2017 academic year will last from December 17 to January 10 — thus covering Christmas as well as the New Year’s Day of the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is named for Pope Gregory XIII. The Roman Catholic Church introduced the calendar in 1582.

So far nobody seems to be too stirred up about that.

It is important to note that the guide does not single out just Christmas as an offense. Golf outings, women’s shoes, the words “boyfriend”, “girlfriend”, “husband” and “wife” all are microagressive terms.

To save time we’ve determined that “microagression” as a word is offensive.

Visitors would not find roller coasters on day one. Instead, there was a House of Dolls, a choo choo, a restaurant and Santa Claus, of course. The first ride constructed was the Santa Claus Land Railroad, a one-eighth-scale train modeled after a Baltimore and Ohio locomotive.
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Streetsville Santa Claus Parade returning to its roots -- The Streetsville Santa Claus Parade will have a much different look and feel this winter.

Photo: Rob Beintema

Returning to its small-town community roots, the Parade will be about half as long, and will have fewer floats, than in years prior. However, the festivities will span the entire weekend, with European-style Christmas markets, mulled wine and cider, live music and other entertainment, craft vendors, and, of course, opportunities to get photographs taken with Santa.

Dubbed "Christmas in the Village," the Parade and related events are being organized and sponsored by the Streetsville Business Improvement Area (BIA).

"We're trying to make sure that all the events really fit into the scope and feel of the Village, and we wanna make sure that we'll have a destination for people to come to for the full weekend to do all their Christmas shopping, and have some food and drinks, too," said Jocelyne Fleming Clancy, General Manager of the BIA.

Designed to attract people to Streetsville to experience the historic Village and its more than 300 stores, restaurants and boutiques, the Parade in recent years hasn't been delivering the economic spin-off that would be anticipated from an event of this particular magnitude.

The problem, according to Area Councilman George Carlson, who sits on the Parade's Board of Directors, is that thousands of people come out just to watch the Parade, and then just take off as soon as it's over. "Most of the people who pay for the Parade are just the retailers," Carlson said.
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Featured Member - July 2016

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 of the Month is SantaGoodspine!

Our July 2016 Featured Member of the Month is originally from Brooklyn, New York, but now lives in Rhode Island. SantaGoodspine aka Larry, has been a member of ClausNet since 2010. And I am happy to say that I had the privilege of appearing as Santa Claus at his home this past December. It was an honor for me to portray Santa for a fellow Santa!

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Larry 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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A Toast to Santa Claus

By John Kendrick Bangs

Authored by American humorist, John Kendrick Bangs in 1912, A Little Book of Christmas is a collection Christmas short stories and poems. A Toast to Santa Claus, is one of three heart-warming poems included in the book.

Whene'er I find a man who don't
Believe in Santa Claus,
And spite of all remonstrance won't
Yield up to logic's laws,
And see in things that lie about
The proof by no means dim,
I straightway cut that fellow out,
And don't believe in him.

The good old Saint is everywhere
Along life's busy way.
We find him in the very air
We breathe day after day—
Where courtesy and kindliness
And love are joined together,
To give to sorrow and distress
A touch of sunny weather.

We find him in the maiden's eyes
Beneath the mistletoe,
A-sparkling as the star-lit skies
All golden in their glow.
We find him in the pressure of
The hand of sympathy,
And where there's any thought of love
He's mighty sure to be.

So here's to good old Kindliheart!
The best bet of them all,
Who never fails to do his part
In life's high festival;
The worthy bearer of the crown
With which we top the Saint.
A bumper to his health, and down
With them that say he ain't!
Read the short story on ClausNet »

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Santa's Wisdom

Just Because

By Santa Lou Knezevich

Just because you have a real beard, means nothing.

Just because you wear a designer beard, means nothing.

I make these statements to draw your attention to an undercurrent that sadly ripples between Designer Beard Santas (or Traditional Santas) and Real Bearded Santas.

I have been a Santa for nearly fifteen years in which time, I have witnessed and I have heard of a rivalry of sorts between the two. I question why this rivalry should be. After all, isn’t the whole idea of being Santa Claus making the children happy? Why does a real bearded Santa feel he is so much better? Why does a Traditional Santa made to feel uncomfortable -- even unwanted in some Santa groups? It’s simple.

Some Santa groups, locally and nationally, have incorporated within their name the words “Real Bearded” obviously this precludes Traditional Santas. A lot is made of being in a “Santa Fraternity” and how often we reference “Brothers in Red” or being in the “Red Suit.” What does that really mean if we accept the look of one Santa and not the other? Aren’t we all Santas?

A friend of mine, who is a Traditional Santa, related the following story. At a recent Santa gathering he approached two Real Bearded Santas, new to the group, to introduce himself. When the two saw my clean shaven friend dressed in a red sport coat and tie, they began to snicker and take on an air of superiority. They asked my friend in a mocking way, “So what are you supposed to be; an elf or something?”

Not a very nice way to reciprocate the introduction however and a sure way to show your ignorance. Why do grown men act so childish? My friend held his temper and did not engage these thoughtless individuals in any retribution. He described how these gentlemen’s appearances looks did not represent professional Santas. Both sported scraggly looking, unkept beards and one gentleman badly needed a trip to the dentist. Doesn’t it make you wonder the impression these two are making when portraying Santa Claus? Both of these men have missed the essence of being Santa and professionally portraying the character.

This type of situation is what I am writing about. When are we going to stop pitting one group over another? When are we truly going to mean, “My Brother in Red?” When will we have organizations which don’t telegraph its members by the words, “Real Bearded Santas?” What will it take to bring us together? What will it take to unite us as a single minded fraternity of men who have but one purpose, which is to make children happy!

My friend is very well known in the Santa Community and nationally. He has been a Santa since childhood. I’m sure his time as a Santa Claus far exceeds the time of these two gentleman. He doesn’t brag about his accomplishments but he has been in demand for parades, commercials, corporate events, television appearances and a full schedule of Santa Claus visits thru out the year.

We are on the verge of a huge Santa gathering which will be a focal point for many Santas and families. Let’s act like true professionals there and every day we walk in Santa’s Boots.

The following is an excerpt from a ClausNet blog by Santa John Johnson, entitled “Celebrity or Servant”, October 20, 2015.

“My prayer is that we lay down our arms and unite in the cause for common good that we may truly become the servants that we need to be. In doing so may we not only become the Santas that we want to be, but may our community be viewed with loving eyes rather than those of ridicule and sadness. We must all remember that we are not here to be celebrities. We are here to serve the children.”

May we also remember the words so eloquently set forth by Phillip L. Wenz:

What Matters...
One hundred years from now, it will not matter...
What kind of beard you had, designer or real
What kind of suit you wore, velvet or wool
How much money you charged or if you charged at all
Nor the events you appeared
Or what group you belonged

What matters is...
That you played Santa with honesty and integrity
You shared with your peers to help foster fellowship
Your conduct exhibited was worthy of Santa
But most importantly what matters
Knowing that you are blessed to have the opportunity
to make the world be a little brighter and better because,
as Santa, you were important in the life of a child.

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

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

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DC Strange Adventures, #79, April 1, 1957

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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 Jay Long!

For over fifty years Jay Long portrayed Santa Claus for children of all ages around the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia. As an employee of the City of Nitro, West Virginia, a World War I boom town.

Long began visiting more than 100 families in their homes per week. On weekends he would visit hospitals, churches, and senior care homes.

Accompanied by his wife, Viola, Jay Long appeared in over thirty regional Christmas parades, visited countless businesses and organizations, helped with many charities, and even brought Christmas cheer to the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston, West Virginia. Everywhere he went he has left the love of Christmas and what it truly stands for, the birth of Jesus, with every child both young and old.

Jay Long was an active member of the Nitro Church of the Nazarene along with other local charities to help the needy all year round. As Santa Claus, and as himself Jay Long truly embodied the spirit of Christmas all year long.

Jay Long
Nitro, West Virginia
1938 – 2016

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

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