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

August 2012

Volume 4, Issue 8

Hot town, summer in the city

By Michael Rielly

ClausNetWelcome to the August issue of the ClausNet Gazette!

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer! Hopefully you've been able to stay cool during these extremely hot days!

You might notice a theme in this month's issue of the ClausNet Gazette. Mentorship. Santa John Johnson blogs on a few of the Santa Mentors in his life. Santa Lou Knezevich introduces the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program and this month's featured inductee into the Santa Claus Hall of Fame is Santa Don Goers a mentors to our very own Legendary Santa Claus, Phil Wenz.

We're Hiring!We're still looking for a elves to help out around the site. If you are interested, please contact me.

As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact!

Enjoy your the rest of your summer!

back to top

In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Disney World tells Thomas Tolbert to be less 'Santa-ish'

WKMG -- A Walt Disney World guest who looks like Santa Claus was asked by Disney officials to be less "Santa-ish" because he was a distraction at the park, our news partner WKMG Local 6 reports.

Thomas Tolbert, who was visiting Disney while on a family vacation, said he was wearing "Santa-related" clothing but not a full Santa suit while recently visiting the park.

Tolbert said people, including children, were asking for photos and autographs, something he said he's used to.

"Do you approach people or do people come up to you?" Tolbert was asked. "I never approach a person," he said. Tolbert said he signed autographs at Disney World until a Disney representative saw him in the middle of a crowd.

"He said you can't be portraying Santa," said Tolbert, adding that Disney asked him to change into less "Santa-ish" clothing.
Read More »

LHS seniors spearhead toy drive for kids with cancer

LDNews -- Lebanon High School seniors, from left, Robyn Meashey, Elijah Brown and Ben Boyer stand outside M&T Bank at 837 Quentin Road on Thursday and hold a box of toys they are collecting for the suburban Harrisburg-based Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation.

For their senior project, the three students have teamed up with the foundation, which supplied toys to child-based cancer-treatment centers. The three have been volunteering to help organize and inventory toys brought to the foundation's facility
Read More »

Toys R Us to open eight new stores

ToyNews Online -- By the end of 2012 Toys R Us will have opened eight new locations and renovated 13 stores in the US. Those 21 stores will all be 'Side-by-Side' shops - Toys R Us stores which also incorporate the retailers Babies R Us brand.
Read More »

Lego 'working hard' to meet demand for Friends toy line

ToyNews Online -- Lego Friends is such a hit new IP that the toy giant is struggling to supply the market with enough units. The company revealed to ToyNews that the girl-focused Lego range sold around twice as much than it anticipated when it went on sale.

"It's the first time in some time we've come out with a property that would appeal to girls and I think it's been amazingly successful," said Lego's UK MD Drew Brazer.
Read More »

VTech unveils major marketing push for InnoTab2

ToyNews Online -- VTech will embark on its biggest marketing campaign in terms of both spend and activity to support the launch of InnoTab2.

The firm has lined up sponsorships, heavyweight PR and TV drives, email marketing, pre-roll out activity and support across all social media channels. The InnoTab2 TV campaign alone will reach over four million people, who will see the ad an estimated 6.1 times.

The new children's tablet boasts a built-in 1.3 mega pixel camera with a rotating 'self-portrait' lens, a video player, internal 2GB memory, art studio, G sensor and learning apps
Read More »

back to top

Featured Member - August 2012

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 Tommy!

I am happy to announce our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for August 2012 is Santa Tommy

Santa Tommy is practically a founding member here on ClausNet. Tommy joined us way back in 2007 only a few months after we launched the community!

One of the things I like about these interviews is learning how members got their start. Like many others, Santa Tommy was asked to be Santa for an event and was hooked after that!

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Santa Tommy 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

A Birthday Thank You Poem

By Elf Without Jingles

I wanna thank you, ClausNETters, for all the things you've said. I've been humorous to some of them, while others have filled my head.

I first said hi six years ago, hoping I'd behave --- And look at me now; over 3000 posts! A milestone any Claus would crave!

And now today's me birthday, and I've seen your kindly words. Thanks everyone for having written them; and though I might sound absurd,

I'll say this for me ClausNET pals: They're loyal through and through, When they're welcoming a newbie or, in my case, saying "Happy Birthday To You!"

Now I'm 47. To some of you, I'm still a pup. But that's not going to stop me from trying to measure up.

It's time to cheer for foolish old me as I blow out me birthday candles. And cheer for me next 3000 posts, too! Hope you all can handle!

Comment »

back to top


By Santa John in WV

Over the past few weeks I have thought a great deal about my father and how he inadvertently has influenced me in my becoming Santa. Yes, Dad had a loving heart for all people, especially children. A devout Christian, Dad relished in the celebration of Christ's birth. He loved to give and to watch the faces of those he gave to. I guess it was this early image of my own father that has drawn me to the role I now occupy as Santa.

But there are other men, too, who wore the suit that I remember fondly from Christmases past that helped to pass the flame of Christmas Spirit to me. These men were Santas too, and not just in their suits. They lived it. One still does.

As early as I can remember I had been taken by my parents, grandparents, and aunts to see Santa. One of the first that I went to see, and who I have gotten to know over the years was Jay Long. Jay and his wife were Mr. and Mrs. Claus and could be seen everywhere during the early eighties at Christmastime.

I remember then fondly appearing at school breakfasts and in parades. I also remember the day that Dad brought Santa home to see me personally. What a day we had. I was only four, but I had Santa all to myself. I showed him every toy I had and we talked about everything.

I guess that it was this experience with Jay that taught me that Santa is much more and should be much more to a child than an untouchable being that sees all and waits to punish with coal in your stocking.

No, Santa is a friend. He is a being that radiates love and giving, something that the child may not find in any other part of the world. The more I remember and the more I noticed later about Jay, he was the same with all children and loved them unconditionally.

Now in his 80s, Jay can be seen around town often. Even without his long beard on you can see Santa by the gleam in his eye. To me, he is Santa.

Another man whom I have admired since childhood actually held for many years the post that I do at the same mall. His name was Okie Turley. I remember going to see him later in my childhood. He was the first Santa that I ever saw with real whiskers. He, just as Jay, was Santa. He cared for the children and seemed to enjoy each and every visit, a task that sometimes can become hard as child after child crosses your lap.

That is a lesson that I learned from him, to enjoy each and every moment. If you enjoy them, they will enjoy you and will remember their visit more fondly. No child deserves their visit with Santa to be marred by disinterest. Well, Okie was always interested. He also was very authentic, a lesson I learned from him.

Also, whether at a summer picnic, a jaunt to Sam's Club, or in the chair Okie was Santa. He used to really make some of us nervous because he knew all of our names. I know now that Grandpa had told him everything about me. They were fishing buddies. Both of these men had a lasting impression on countless children and relished their role as Santa Claus.

Neither of them had any idea that one of the children who visited them both would have picked up their torch. Though Okie is gone now and Jay is semi-retired I still think of them as my role models in true Santahood. I plan on visiting with Jay at some point and talking to him about Santa.

I like to think Okie already knows that the mantle has been passed. Thanks guys! Many others have also helped to shape this Santa. Some I will never or haven't met notably are Santa Jim Yellig, Santa Charles Howard, Santa Ed Butchart. These men all seemed to have a piece to offer that I did before have. And of course there is all of you. Thanks.

Santa is something that is passed from one to another of us. An idea is so often shared. We sometimes don't know how our ideas are taken and used.

Sometimes I wonder if Saint Nicholas had any idea that the torch would be picked up this many centuries later. Also, we need to be aware just who we are impacting to be the next generation. Jay and Okie had no idea, and neither do we really.

Santa is a torch fueled by Christmas Spirit. At some point, in order to survive, it will choose another. Let us all be thankful that at one time we were chosen.
Leave your comment »

back to top

Legendary Santas Mentoring Program


By Santa Lou Knezevich

I was fortunate to present the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program at the Jim Yellig Workshop in Santa Claus, Indiana. The following letter was distributed to all Santas in attendance and covers the highlights of the program.

I'm hopeful State and local organizations may adopt this free program to be used within their membership plus Santas desiring to use the material.

Helping each other has always been a mark of professional Santas and it is my hope this program helps new and established Santas.

Dear Santa,

I remember very well my first Santa appearance. As I was about to appear my mind was exploding with frightening thoughts such as, "what will I do? What will I say? How did I get into this anyway?"

Looking back at my introduction to becoming Santa I realize, I was scared stiff and I had a good case of stage fright. Maybe reading this you too are looking back at your first experience or maybe you're new to playing Santa and so many questions are going through your mind.

Since my first appearance, I have felt there must be a lot of new Santas donning the 'Red Suit' without any expectation of what or how to act or what might happen next. For most of us who have been Santas we learned through experience or by the 'learn as you go method.'

A few Santas were fortunate to have had a Santa Mentor who has guided them along their way. I have mentored a few Santas myself and I know it was a rewarding experience for the Apprentice and for me. With that thought in mind the Legendary Santas Monitoring Program was developed. The goals of the program are:

-- To establish a Code of Conduct and ethical behavior for new Santas

-- To offer guidance and educational training to men seeking to become professional Santa Clauses

-- To serve as a resource for the continuance and replenishment of professionally trained Santa Clauses

-- To bring to life the unmistakable magic in the portrayal of Santa Claus for children, adults and all who hold Christmas in their hearts.

The Legendary Santa Mentoring Program is presented in a series of educational modules. Each module represents a learning facet to enlighten the Apprentice Santa and to guide him in his character development of Santa Claus. The program leader is the Santa Mentor who is encouraged to relate experiences, answer questions and pass on tips to the Apprentice.

The Mentor and the Apprentice will use the information in each Module as a study guide. Study meetings between the Mentor and Apprentice are encouraged however there may be situations wherein using the telephone or email may be more convenient. Discussion questions are provided in each Module and each Module must be mastered before going to the next.

The manual represents many ideas for portraying Santa and with the help of the Mentor the new Santa will soon be prepared for a professional Santa career. Please consider sharing your knowledge as a Santa Mentor or joining the Apprentice Program.

For more information, please contact Santa Lou Knezevich.


Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

back to top

Santa Claus Hall of Fame

Each month we feature an inductee of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we honor Don Goers.

Don GoersDon Goers didn't play Santa, he was Santa. As one of the longest tenured Santas in theme park history, Goers began his career in 1959. He is among the original men who played the role at Santa's Village Theme Park in Dundee, Illinois.

In 1966, Goers took over the role full time becoming Santa from Santa's Village and being in costume 200 days a year. It would be a position he would hold for 14 years. As Santa, he invoked a jolly demeanor that was more a reflection of his personality making him a natural for the character. His wide smile and hearty belly laugh became his trademark.

Goers spent twenty years at Santa's Village in the maintenance department and as Santa. He helped the park grow from just a few rides and attractions to a Chicagoland icon. Each year, tens of thousands of children visited him in Santa's House.

Goers left the park in 1979, returning only once to be Santa. In 1994 he returned for the 35th anniversary celebration of Santa's Village.

Don Goers
Santa with a Smile
1926 - 2011

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

back to top