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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network

August 2011

Volume 3, Issue 8

Summer Time Fun!

By Michael Rielly

August on ClausNetWell it's August and it sure is hot! At least it is where I am! Welcome to the hot summer issue of the ClausNet Gazette!

Summer here in New England is in full swing with it's hazy heat and humidity. But even as I sit in sweltering heat typing up the intro to this month's newsletter, I am thinking fondly of snow.

The truth is, I like the cold. I look forward to winter with the snow and ice -- except when I have to shovel or drive in it of course. I hate being hot. I guess that's why I look forward to winter. The way I see it if you are cold, you can always put on another sweater. But if you're hot, at some point you are limited to how much you can take off.

This Month on ClausNet

Anyway, this month we kicked off two of our popular ClausNet Annual Events!

The Fourth Annual ClausNet Christmas Card Mailing and Christmas Ornament Exchange are now underway. For more information, check the ClausNet Contests and Happenings forum!.

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!

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Getting in the Holiday Spirit -- To put a fresh face on Jolly Old St. Nick, stage actors must reach deep into their bag of inspiration. Or they could just take a cue from the new Broadway musical, Elf, which cheerily dispenses this advice: "To thine own elf be true."

In trying to convince untold numbers of kids each holiday season that you're the real deal, some actors often mine their first memories of visits from Santa. George Wendt, who plays Mr. Claus in Elf, recalls a kindly local doctor who donned the red suit and dropped by homes on Christmas Eve --- when he wasn't delivering babies, including Wendt and his six siblings.
Read More »

Radio City Rockettes Set for August 11 Times Square Performance -- The Radio City Rockettes will appear in Times Square on Thursday, August 1tth at 11 am to offer a sneak-peek of the 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Charles Edward Hall, who plays Santa Claus, will also take part in the event, Christmas in August.

The performance will feature a selection of new Rockette elements for the show. including new choreography and music, as well as a new costume for the dancers. In addition, the surrounding digital outdoor boards in Times Square will be activated to unveil new imagery for the show.
Read More »

Leapfrog unveils LeapPad launch details

ToyNews -- Leapfrog's latest product, the tablet-style learning device, LeapPad Explorer will launch to the market on August 15th.

To mark the launch, Leapfrog is offering kids around the world the chance to win a full LeapPad Explorer package, complete with the LeapSchool Reading cartridge game and a download card.
Read More »

Retailers urged to place London 2012 orders now

ToyNews -- There may still be a year to go, but toy and gift retailers are being urged to place their orders for London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics products as soon as possible, or risk missing out.

There are over 50 licensees on board for the London 2012 programme, including toy firms Golden Bear, MV Sports, Winning Moves, Magmatic and Hornby to name a few.
Read More »

Mattel to buy Hit Entertainment?

ToyNews -- Reports on Sky News and in The Express Online over the weekend have earmarked Mattel as the new leader in the acquisition race for Hit Entertainment.
Read More »

VTech teams up with Milkshake

ToyNews -- VTech has struck a deal with Channel 5's Milkshake to run a photography competition, inviting kids to enter their family fun pictures. The competition will be hosted on a dedicated VTech page on the Milkshake website.

Prizes on offer include the new Kidizoom Twist camera and the chance to become a VTech product tester.
Read More »

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Featured Member - August 2011

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 JohnR Santa!

I am happy to announce that our August 2011 ClausNet Featured Member of the Month is JohnR Santa!

I love doing these interviews because I always learn so much! I've known John for a few years now but until I did this interview, I never knew how much we had in common! John has been a contributing member of ClausNet since January 2008.

ClausNET Featured Member of the Month

John is also the National Director for Hospice and Hospital Support Programs for Santa America. I spoke with John 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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Daddy, are you Santa Claus?

A Right Jolly Old Elf

Posted by Michael Rielly

Well, it was bound to happen. Christmas 2008 will be the year I remember as the year I told my daughter that I was Santa Claus ' or rather, to be exact, one of Santa Claus's Ambassadors.

I guess I should be thankful I got this far. After all, Meghan is almost 11. My son made it to 12! He only found out it was me after reading a newspaper article that mentioned my name.

Back in 2006 she was wavering. I decided to see if I couldn't get at least another year out of her. So I appeared in Meghan's bedroom at midnight. I woke her up and handed her an American Girl Doll that she really wanted. I told her she had been doing really well in school lately and I wanted to give her something extra special for working so hard.

She really wanted that particular doll and they were sold out everywhere, so handing her the doll made me feel especially like Santa Claus. I sat next to her on the bed for a while and we talked about school and her friends.

After a few minutes I said that I had better be getting on my way and told her to go back to sleep. I wished her Merry Christmas and told her that I loved her. Meghan said good night and told me that she loved me too.

The whole visit lasted maybe 10 minutes. But those 10 minutes got me another 2 years.
Add your comment »

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Santa-America News

August 2011

By Lou Knezevich

It Was Just a Little Fall.

On a Saturday Morning not too long ago, I fell in our kitchen when my slipper caught on something causing me to lose my balance and fall. Sounds like a dumb thing to happen but in a second or two I went from vertical to horizontal.

I remember as I fell reached out for a kitchen stool and wrapping my hands around it continued a slow motion decent to the floor. It was as if I was standing on the side watching this episode.

Hitting the deck I was abruptly brought to my senses. There I was sprawled out on the kitchen floor feeling like the commercial for 'help, help, I've fallen and I can't get up.'

Luckily, I didn't have a scrape or a bruise for my quick trip to the floor. However, in the few moments I lay on the floor a million thoughts raced through my mind.

I was home alone and I wondered what I would I have done if I was badly hurt?

The phone was too high to reach and our kitchen is at the back of house where no would hear my yells for help. Maybe that alert thing isn't a bad idea. I then debated if I should mention this to Mrs. Claus. I knew because of her concern for me I'd get a little lecture with a certain amount wrath with it. As I slowly got to my feet I wondered about older people and falls that prompted me to find the Center for Disease Control Article which follows.

Oh yes, Mrs. Claus did lecture me!

The following information has been provided by the Center for Disease Control. This and other information may be found at

Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can lead to moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can even increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable.

How big is the problem?

One out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. Among those age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

The death rates from falls among older men and women have risen sharply over the past decade. In 2007, over 18,000 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.
Read more »

To learn more about Santa-America, please contact:

Santa-America, Inc.
Santa Bob Elkin (santa AT santatb DOT com)
National Director, Santa Relations

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A Sleigh Ride Through Our History

Santa John in WV

In the world of Santa today we don't often think of a woman Santa. We realize that they are out there in special circumstances. But as a whole, women are dismissed to the realm of Mrs. Claus. This week, let me introduce you to the "Santa Claus Lady" of Kenilworth, New Jersey.

Her name was Anna Ruscansky. She came to the town of Kenilworth, NJ, with her husband in 1919. Andy, Anna's husband, became a famed police officer in the community. As a mother and grandmother, she began her long career as Santa in 1940. In her home made suit she would visit young and old alike, to the delight of her own family and for many hundreds of Kenilworth and area school-aged children and adult groups. As the children grew older and no longer believed in Santa, they always remembered her as 'the Santa Claus lady' who had brought them Christmas joy.

Anna never charged for her services, but some were so pleased that they insisted on tipping her. The money was then used for needy families. She served as Santa for the community from the 1940s through the 1980s.

Anna Ruscansky passed away February 25, 1996 at age 95. As the casket was carried from St. Theresa's Church, a place where she had for so many years donned her suit for the delight of all, the organist softly played "Jingle Bells" as a final tribute to Anna's work as Santa Claus.

As a symbol of love and giving, Anna's influence cannot truly be measured. Her gifts will forever remain in the hearts of the children who simply visited with Santa. No matter what difference we have, no matter sex, color, or creed, may we live up to the loving nature and example of this dear "Santa Claus Lady."

May we truly learn to give love, plainly and simply. We salute Anna Ruscansky, the Santa Claus Lady of Kenilworth, NJ. May her legacy of love live in all of us who wear the red suit!
Read more »

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Santa Claus Hall of Fame

Each month we feature an inductee of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we profile Ray Jochum.

Ray Jochum

Replacing a legend is often a hard thing to do, even in the world of Santa Claus. But one Santa was up to the job.

Ray Jochum began playing Santa Claus at the age of 22 in 1938 near Santa Claus, Indiana. When Santa Claus Land started closing at Christmas in 1978, Jochum filled the gap by using his own farm and creating a theme attraction during the Holiday. Jochum's wife Frances would prepare as many as 6,000 cookies to be given out to the children that would visit Santa Ray at 'Christmas at Lone Oak Farm'. With Jim Yellig getting on in years, Jochum was asked to start filling in for Jim in 1980. By 1981, Jochum was working much more than Yellig, even though he is not credited as the official Santa.

After Yellig's death in 1984, Ray Jochum was given the official title of Santa Claus.

"There will always be a Santa Claus for as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west."

Ray Jochum
1916 - 1992

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

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