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

September 2011

Volume 3, Issue 9

Back to School!

By Michael Rielly

June on ClausNetWell here we are -- September already! The kids are back in school and here in the northeast we are starting to see a hint of colors in the trees. Of course, for some of us we have a few less trees now thank to Hurricane Irene! We lost several trees in our yard and talking to a few other Santas, they were out of power for several days!

This Month on ClausNet

This past month we reached a minor milestone on ClausNet. We welcomed our 1,170th member into our community! Be sure to stop by our Welcome Center and say hello!

Last month we also kicked off two of our most popular annual events: the ClausNet Christmas Ornament and Christmas Card Exchange! This will be our fourth consecutive year for these events!

For details to to sign up for either or both, check out 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!

back to top

In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

They've sacked Santa!

The Border Mail -- CENTRO management has been accused of being the Grinch that stole Christmas by dumping Santa Claus from the Albury shopping centre this year.

Businesses were angry with the decision this week to dump Santa and have started a petition, urging Centro management to bring him back. Children have handed Santa their wish-lists and had happy snaps taken with him in his regular spot near the travelator since the centre opened.
Read More »

Changes amid tradition at Toy Run

Sturgis, Michigan Journal -- Registration began today for the 28th Annual Sturgis Toy Run. If rain stays away, this could be the largest assembly of bikers since the Toy Run relocated in 2006 to a 58-acre field at 28731 Kelly Road in Burr Oak Township.

Toy Run President Mike Carr said this year's event will open this evening with an on-stage jam session.
Read More »

Santa School of Denver graduates a new class of Kris Kringles

The Denver Post -- You have a knack for Saint Nick. Either you're jolly or you're not. Everything else in the Santa-for-hire game you can learn.

The 30 Kris Kringles who graduated on Monday night after three days of boot camp with the Professional Santa School of Denver will pay off in the eyes of children and hopefully the bank accounts of those who don the red felt of Father Christmas. "They come to us with big hearts, but we can teach them everything else," said Susen Mesco, the master Santa Claus trainer.

In a conference hall full of jingling bells and jolly laughs, Santas learned their trade: be kind, polite, sunny, apolitical and unopinionated about all things other than the spirit of Christmas. But most of all, they were told, remember not who they are but who they are supposed to be.

"For some children, the only person in the world they think they can talk to is Santa," said Santa Mike Cawthro of Lakewood, a 4-year veteran of the yuletide game. "You have to learn how to be ready for any question."

The Santa class trained on sign language, heard from a psychologist, worked with a 2-year-old, learned how to coax chat from gobsmacked tots and spent over five hours dealing with marketing and management, said Mesco.

The education was intense, but it seemed a small sacrifice for Paul Meenach of Evergreen, a rookie Santa whose wife, Sylvia, urged him to take up the trade as he retired from the car-wash industry. An illness had prevented him from shaving for 16 months, and his round figure made him a ringer.

Children began to throw him a sheepish wave and a knowing smile when they saw him in stores or around town, as though Saint Nick were indeed keeping tabs on them throughout the year.

"That's the best," he said, as he started to choke up. "It makes me cry."
Read More »

Thieves steal station wagon from a professional Santa Claus in Detroit -- Whoever stole and damaged Santa's ride is certainly getting coal this Christmas.

Russell Spice, a professional Santa Claus in metro Detroit, is grateful for this gift; his Santamobile was recovered Tuesday night.

Unfortunately, it was badly damaged. The Santamobile, a white 1996 Oldsmobile Cierra station wagon with photos of Russell Spice as Santa on its rear windows, was stolen while he was volunteering in Midtown Detroit Tuesday. Police recovered it near Wayne State after a security guard saw the story of Santa's missing mobile on the news.

"The security guard who found it said he drove by it thinking that it was strange, but it wasn't until he saw the story on the news that he realized that it had been stolen," said Spice's daughter, Julie Proudfoot. She added that the car was damaged, the locks on the door, the steering column, ignition, turn signal and several other parts were broken.
Read More »

Santa Claus asked to leave store: Mayfield Heights Police Blotter

Sun-Messenger -- A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit was handing out cards to children at a Target store on August 10th.

The store manager felt uncomfortable because he was only approaching children, so he called police. Officers spoke with Santa who was sitting in his car.

He said he went into the store to buy a GPS device and that he's been handing out cards to children for years. He was told that store management did not want him in the store.
Read More »

Mega Bloks introduces a new Halo range

ToyNews -- To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Halo franchise, Mega Bloks will bring Series 3 Micro Action Figures and new brick-style vehicles and structures to retail by the end of September.
Read More »

Golden Bear unveils Team GB toy line

ToyNews -- Pride is a core part of Golden Bear's new range - a lion who has been inspired by Team GB and brings the iconic logo to life.

The new toy collection consists of Pride as a plush toy in various sizes, special edition plush in three key colours:red, white and blue along with pens, charms, key rings and figurines in a special triple pack.
Read More »

back to top

Featured Member - September 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 Deborah Beeson!

I am happy to announce this month our ClausNet Featured Member of the Month for September 2011 is Deborah Beeson!

Everyone seems to know Deborah! She joined us back in March 2010 and has been a key contributor to the site ever since. Aside from being a wonderful Mrs. Claus, Deborah is also a licensed Master Cosmetologist, salon owner, and the better half to Santa Denzil!

ClausNET Featured Member of the Month

Deborah will share her expertise in making Santas look good this April. She will be presenting at the Santa Claus Make-Over Clinic at the Jim Yellig Santa Claus Workshop in Santa Claus Indiana. As described in her Workshop Bio, no one understands the image needs of a Santa Claus better than Deborah Beeson! I am looking forward to meeting Deborah and Denzil in person at the Workshop this April! I caught up with Deborah a few weeks ago and here's what she 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

Something I Never Thought About

Growing Up Santa Claus

Posted by Legendary Santa Claus

Last week I gave an interview to a regional publication for their upcoming December issue about being a real full time Santa Claus. It was the typical type interview discussing my life growing up as Santa and being able to make it a full time career. I do know that very few have had the opportunities and the good fortune that has been unfolding in my life ever since I was 4 years old.

During the conversation with the reporter, he asked what I plan on doing when I retire. The question really threw me. Unlike 99% of other Santas who become the character while working a different job and made it a hobby/part time thing or a guy who retires from years of work someplace to grow a real beard and then Santa becomes his retirement hobby/job, I have only been a professional year round Santa.

The question of retiring from Santa was a good one. I am a little over a year from turning 50 years old and the Santa business has been very good to me. DeAnn and I have made some good investments, so planning for that part of our future is secure. Like most everyone else there is always some sort of health issues that can or could pop up. But that is under control too.

So the question goes back to what the reporter asked: "What are you going to do when you retire?" Well, as odd as it seems to some, I don't want to be Santa forever. In fifteen to seventeen years when I am in my mid 60s I do plan on retiring from the professional world of Santa.

Most folks retire from being a labor, lawyer, teacher, accountant or such but does someone really retire from being Santa? When I retire that is preciously what I will be doing. DeAnn and I look forward to just traveling and enjoying not doing anything at all. I'll let my hair and beard grow out and then go fishing.

And as for Santa, well I look forward to having him go back to being what he was to me before I became him'a magical and inspirational elf that brings the message of love, hope, and peace in a sometime dreary world. And I think that I will appreciate Santa more by not being him.

At one time I thought 50 years old was a long way away. But it is sneaking up on me. Retirement is a while away, at least for now, but with all aspects of life you have to plan ahead.
Add your comment »

back to top

Santa-America News

What Do You See in the Eyes of a Child

By Santa Lou

What Do You See in the Eyes of a Child? Is it hope, excitement, pure adoration, bewilderment, trust or maybe fear? As enactors of Santa Claus we have an awesome responsibility to faithfully portray the image in the mind of the public especially children. The public has been educated to recognize our look by Photos, movies and advertising. Santa Claus is the most recognized figure in the world so we have some very tall boots to fill.

The Five Second Rule

You have about Five Seconds to be accepted as Santa Claus whenever someone sees you for the first time. Those eyes searching you are going to make up their minds quickly if you are Santa, a Santa helper or an imposter.

If you are observant you will be able to tell by audience reaction if you have made a believable impression or if you're just being accepted.

Whenever you're entering a room, a house party, walking in a public place; make sure everyone of those five seconds counts.

First, dress the part. If your going to perform as Santa then dress as Santa Claus. The public expects to see Santa Claus; so doesn't it make sense to wear the traditional Red coat trimmed in white fur, leggings, and boots with white fur trim and a hat with a white fur pompom. Always wear what the public expects to see unless you have been requested or cleared to wear a specialty costume with your host.

Be Ready. Every entrance or public meeting is different and you must be prepared to bend with the flow of events. Just relax so you can be your self and react to your audience in a natural manner. This applies to mall Santa's or at special events such as parades, tree lightings etc.

Be animated. As Santa you need to have a twinkle in your eye which is really a wide grin. Over emphasize body motions such as a sweeping gesture to shake a hand or pat a child on the head. Use facial expressions to react to comments by the audience or children's questions. Practice in front of a mirror until you perfect the actions you want to achieve.

Be a star. As Santa you are the star of the show so act the part. Move with authority, tease or joke without offending, while showing love and compassion with gentleness. It is always good strategy to greet a crowd with a gentle 'Ho ho ho' and save the loud one for your exit.

Be entertaining. Maybe you can't do magic or sing songs well but find something you can do to be entertaining. Everyone can tell stories even you. Practices telling a story until you incorporate the right emphasis or expressions to make the story entertaining. You have a lot of time in the off season to develop your skills so practice, practice, practice.

Treat children like adults. Don't talk down too or humiliate any child. Talk to them as you would an adult and ask meaningful questions. Try to remember your first experiences talking to Santa. I'm sure like all of us you had some fear but you didn't want to forget anything and above all you wanted him to know you deserved your requests because you were good.

Make these few minutes magical for each child. Learn to listen. When a child is on your knee make them feel like the most important child in the world. Listen attentively. I must confess I don't understand a lot of what children ask me but I nod my head in agreement. I might even add, "Oh, that's a very good choice!" or, I ask, "Is there anything else you want for Christmas?" When I'm ending the visit I always say; "Santa can't promise to bring everything on your list but I will promise to do as much as I can."

Look in the child's eyes. By looking into a child's eyes you are showing them how sincere you are and how important they are.

There is some health risks associated with this practice and Santa Dave Barrett of N.Y. presents a humorous sketch about it. If you ever have a chance to see Dave Bartlett present his one man show entitled 'Santa Class 101' please do not miss it. I attended one of his seminars and I felt it was one of the best sessions I have ever been too.

Dave has a monolog about not looking at children face to face because they can spread their germs to you and also some kids really have bad halitosis. He busted me up to tears because I can relate so well to what he says. One of my first jobs each November is a photo shoot at a prominent country club. I have more then a few face to face encounters and within a few days I'm at my doctors with a case of the 'Crud' begging for his miracle shot in the butt. It happens every year even though I have a flu shot and start to turn orange from all the Vitamin C in me. Just know when you have so many kids in your face your going to get sick!

The other humorous antidote was concerning kids with Halitosis and I've been around a few kids that made me feel I was turning green. Be prepared for it but by all means don't stop looking at kids face to face. That child is going to have a memory as I do of Santa looking into their eyes and giving them his undivided attention.

The Santa Season is near at hand. Now is the time to start thinking about making an outstanding first impression and idea's to make you the Santa everyone asks for. Now is the time to start thinking about the all the things you want to do. Time rushes bye so quickly, start now!

To learn more about Santa-America, please contact:

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

back to top

The Hometown Santa

Santa John in WV

During the Christmas Season of days gone by there seems to be a constant recollection, and that is the appearance of the "Hometown Santa." After all, this is what many of the great Santas were considered. Men like Jim Yellig and Charlie Howard will forever be connected with the towns they belonged to. For many of us on this forum it was the man or men that have passed the role down to us.

When I was a small boy living in Nitro, West Virginia, my father was the sergeant of police and one of his duties was to drive Santa to his appointments during the Christmas Season. Santa always made his way to our house to visit socially with me. My earliest memories of Santa are of me bringing my toys out to show him and him checking things out to make sure that they worked like they were supposed to. That Santa's name is Jay Long, and he has been a mentor to me all my life both in and out of the suit.

Jay was the steady Santa for decades in the Kanawha Valley, and today he still appears in very special circumstances. From him I learned what it means to a child to see Santa, what it means for Santa to see a child. To a small boy, he WAS Santa, and when I first donned the suit at the ripe age of six it was Jay (and maybe the Santa from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Rankin Bass) that went with me.

His impact in mentoring me is far reaching in not only my portrayal and delivery of Santa, but also in life. A fine Christian man who spends all of his time devoted to serving others, Jay has shown me how to walk humbly before my Lord both as myself and as Santa. From this man who had never seen Santa until he himself put on the suit in his early 20s I have learned so much, and I cherish the times I visit his home about three miles from my place in Saint Albans WV. I have began to collect as much information from him as I possibly can get, including news stories and pictures. So I will be sharing more to come on this wonderful man.

On a side note, while visiting him he had pulled out the actual suit that he wore when visiting me so long ago. I tried on the coat, and sure enough it fit perfectly! Jay considers that a sign.

My question to you is, who was your hometown Santa and what impact did he have on you as a Santa? Let's share some history here and remember a simpler time!
Read more »

back to top

Santa Claus Hall of Fame

Each month we feature an inductee of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we profile Doug Mellor

Doug MellorDoug Mellor played Santa Claus professionally for 50 years for commercial purposes only.

Very rarely did he perform for children.

During the late 1970s through the early 1990s, Mellor's career took off. He appeared in advertisements and commercials for Sears, Jell-O, Archway Cookies, McDonalds, and several other top companies. Mellor also appeared numerous times on the cover of the Christmas issues of McCall's magazine.

At 5'5" tall, clean shaven and naturally slender in real life, Mellor padded his 155 pound frame up to a size 62 inch waist along with wearing "lifts" in his boots. His yak set hair goods completed the perfect commercial Santa look.

"Physical characteristics are not important to be Santa Claus. That's what the wardrobe is for."

Doug Mellor
June 10, 1929 - October 13, 2004

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

back to top