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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network


Volume 7, Issue 8


By Michael Rielly

Hello everyone and welcome to our August 2015 newsletter!

Well, here in the US, the days are getting shorter and summer will soon be winding down soon. The weather here in New England has been wonderful these past few months. But given this past winter, I think we've earned it.

In a few weeks we will be kicking off two of our most popular annual events on ClausNet -- The ClausNet Christmas Card Mailing and Ornament Exchange! Be sure to check the discussion forums on for the latest information.

And if you've been reading through the discussion forums, you may have read that we are launching a new site. We are very excited about the new site. Although development has been on hold for a while now, we hope to finally launch the new sometime next month. Look for a redesigned user interface and several brand new features!

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.

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Elf on the Shelf Terror Film in the Works

My Merry Christmas News -- What is it with Christmas-themed slasher films?

It seems all the rage and yet another film maker is proposing a project that now makes the Elf on the Shelf the perpetrator of Christmas terror.

Called “Terror on the Shelf” the project listed at Kickstarter is hoping to raise funds to begin production. Here is how they describe the story:

When a Young Boy’s mother brings home a strange new Christmas decoration, “The Shelf Elf”, to entice her son to be good, but unknowingly unleashes a myriad of terror upon them. It’s up to the Young Boy to over come his fears and defeat the elf before it can ruin Christmas.

They are hoping to bring the project to screens in 2016. If you’re a fan of Christmas-themed horror, maybe you can kick in a little change to see Jingles the Elf work his mischief.
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Dollywood starts Christmas preparations in July

WKRN -- The calendar says it’s summer, but Dollywood is already preparing for Christmas – five months away. Workers there get started in the middle of summer every year to make sure the millions of lights are up in time.

It’s peak season for Dollywood with people breaking out the shorts and tank tops to beat the heat while they enjoy the rides, but if you look closely, you might see a hint of Christmas in July.

“It’s hard to think of that in July, but we’re getting ready for Christmas right now!” said Dollywood spokesman Wes Ramey.

The Christmas lights are going up.

“I know it’s July and I know it’s hot, but in order to get this park done by when we open for Christmas, we have to start now,” said Andrea Fontana, lighting coordinator.

With four million lights to be stretched and stapled throughout the park, trees to go up and decorations to make it a holly jolly Dollywood, there’s no time to spare.

It’s a very detailed work. They’ve got to figure out how they’re going to run it. It’s like a puzzle and that’s the hardest part – figuring out how to run it because you’ve got to figure out how not to double back and how not to have a lot of lights left over,” said Fontana.
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Dad's Choice Awards closes for entries next month

ToyNews -- The Dad’s Choice Awards is urging companies get their entries in before the closing date of September 8th 2015.

Now in its third year, the Dad’s choice Awards celebrates and recognises the role that fathers take in sharing their children’s playtime with different toys and games.

Each entry will be evaluated by a panel of Dad testers and their children on their creativity, fun factor, value for money and whether they do what it says on the box. Each manufacturer will receive an evaluation report at the end with comments from the testers.

“Last year we had some cracking entries and have recruited more dad Testers than ever before for 2015,” said David Ross, founder of Dad’s Choice Awards.

“We have seen some of the predictions of which toys will be top sellers but we like our testers to get their hands on the toys and put them through their paces. With more Dads spending time with their kids, it’s a unique toy Award for those toys that might not feature on other lists.

The Awards are open to any toy, game, puzzle, app or electronic device that meets the category criteria.
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Featured Member - August 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 Bestemor Claus!

We have been featuring a different ClausNet member every month since 2008. I have had the opportunity to interview close to 100 members now. Over the years many of these interviews have helped me be a better Santa; some have made me smile, and a few have brought tears to my eyes. This month’s interview are all of those for me.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

I had the pleasure of meeting this month’s Featured Member and her husband a few years ago in Santa Claus Indiana. Judi, aka Bestemor Claus, joined us in 2012. Bill, aka Laureate Claus was our October 2013 Featured Member. Bill and Judi are truly doing the Lord’s work -- both in and out of the suit. We caught up with Judi a few days ago and here is what she 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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Cowboy Poem

By Santa Laureate

On a cowhands wages its kinda hard to buy Christmas gifts and Christmas cards So for friends, family,boss and crew This is what an ole cowhand will do

He will whittle from a cottonwood bough a slingshot for his nephew and how He will take a deer hide line it with fleece Make a pullover vest for his niece He'll weld up used horseshoes and make a hat rack hang it in the bunkhouse for TIM,NATE N Mack

He make a big wreath from a scotch pine tree and hang it on the main gate for passerbys to see For the head wranger he'll get him a quirt Last year he got him a shirt

For the Boos and his Lady He'll get them something too Sos all he has left is wishing A MERRY CHRISTMAS to you
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Santa's Wisdom

Searching for Red Velvet Fabric. It’s the Needle in the Haystack.

By Santa Lou Knezevich

It seems I just can’t stop myself when it comes to outfitting Santa, especially in the area of costume details.

I have been searching online for Red Velvet and Faux White Fur which, in its self is a dauntless task. I also have utilized the expertise of Eileen Strom who posts here on For those of you who have an eye for costuming or looking for ready-made clothes; the posts here on by Eileen Strom are excellent resources. I have used many of her recommendations and this Mrs. Claus knows what she’s talking about.

Here in the Atlanta area we are fortunate to have a few independent fabric stores in addition to a number of JoAnn’s, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Now, you may think how lucky we are to have all these outlets just waiting for us to find what we are looking for. Not so. Trying to find the right shade of Red without fabric stretch and a nice drape can be a problem. It is of course an advantage to see and feel the fabric when making a choice.

One of our favorite “go to” fabric stores is one we have been patronizing since I became a Santa. It’s a store loaded to the rafters with bolts of fabric, trim and buttons plus, they can usually “dig out” what you’re looking for. Mrs. Claus and I recently visited this shop and found some very impressive Red Velvet fabric and White Faux Fur. Although we got a price break it was still a “pretty penny.” Quality fabric is not cheap, so prepare yourself for an investment in the future of your costume.

One of my concerns is the “bleeding” of red fabric onto the white fur trim of costumes. There’s nothing more disappointing then bringing a costume home from the cleaners to find the white fur has turned pink. There’s no absolute guarantee this won’t happen however, you can do a few things to help prevent it.

The first thing we are doing is taking the velvet fabric to our favorite dry cleaner. He has done our costumes for years and he is very careful to use new chemicals with our items to prevent color bleeding. At times, he has told me, “I’ll call you when I’ve your clothes” so he could use new chemical just for them. His recommendation is to bring him the fabric before it is made into a costume. Dry cleaning the uncut fabric will protect it from future bleedings and any shrinkage. It’s important to find a dry cleaner that understands this and makes sure your costumes are handled properly.

Costumes are expensive, be it off the rack or specially crafted by a costume maker. They are worth every penny you spend and you need to give them loving care. Most of us perspire freely so frequently the first thing we remove is our jacket. I’ll admit to just throwing my jacket in the car’s back seat however, I’ve learned this rumples my jacket and it doesn’t air out when in a heap. I now make sure I have a sturdy hanger in the car to place my jacket on, so it will hang nicely and begin to “air out.’

When I arrive home I separately hang my pants, jacket and hat. I use a Febreze type product inside all my Santa clothes to keep them fresh. I was given a vodka based spray from one of my costume makers, J&R Santaprises, which works beautifully. They added a peppermint scent that Santa’s love. Apparently this is a method started in the Russian Ballet to eliminate costume odor. I haven’t tasted the stuff however; rumor has it, “the cheaper the vodka the better the solution.”

I also have a can of Lysol that kills Flu germs which I use to spray my hat, pants and jacket. Test on an inconspicuous area first. If all turns out ok, spray away. I am a firm believer in Flu shots which I get annually. I encourage you to get your flu and pneumonia shots. They will help you and lessen any symptoms contracted. During the year, I was around a lot of ill children and I did not fall ill throughout my season of November and December which, I’ll attribute to my preseason shots and spraying my costumes.

Time is getting short so it may also be a good idea to check your costumes for repairs or any “extras” you may need to purchase. It’s not fun to put on your costume and find an important button missing.

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

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

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LOOK Magazine, December 21, 1937; Shirley Temple entertains Santa Claus

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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 Haddon Sundblom!

Since the artist known as “Sunny” painted the iconic Santa Clauses for the Coca-Cola Company, beginning back in the 1930s, Santa portrayers the world over had tried to emulate the iconic look that he created.

Born to a Swedish family, Haddon Sundblom studied his craft at the American Academy of Art. From there he began to create paintings with such warmth and style that he was a natural choice for many advertising agencies and products, including Coca-Cola.

Sundblom’s Santa solidified the modern image of Santa Claus. In classic red and white, his larger than life representation of the warm, gentle Santa was different to the other interpretations of the time. These vibrant, lifelike paintings were an instant hit with the general public.

Though he is most remembered for these wonderful illustrations, he also created Sprite Boy for the Coca- Cola Company and the famous Quaker Oats Man.

For his works, Haddon Sundblom has a solid place as one of the 20th Century’s most influential painters of popular culture.

Haddon Sundblom
Chicago, Illinois
1899 – 1976

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

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