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 2012

Volume 4, Issue 9

Happy Labor Day!

By Michael Rielly

September on ClausNetWelcome to the September issue of the ClausNet Gazette!

As I write this on Labor Day, the unofficial last day of summer, many of us now begin turning our thoughts to the upcoming season. Although I'm not quite ready to put away the grill and I am certainly not looking forward to raking leaves, this is the time of year when I start to prepare for the upcoming season.

My boots are polished and my suits have been cleaned and hang at the ready in my wardrobe. This will be my busiest season to date. I'm already booked from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve with only a few open weekends left to do Christmas shopping. Thankfully my Mrs. Claus does the majority of our Christmas shopping.

This month we kicked off two of our most popular annual events: the ClausNet Christmas Ornament Exchange and the ClausNet Christmas Card Mailing! This will be our fifth consecutive year for these events! For details on how to sign up for either or both, check out the ClausNet Contests and Happenings forum.

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

back to top

In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

St. Nicholas Institute honors five who embody Christmas spirit year-round -- Detroit hockey legend Ted Lindsay, ardent Livonia volunteer Bill Heaton and Irene Bronner are among five honorees set to participate in the first St. Nicholas Institute Awards Banquet that will be held at the Sacred Heart Banquet and Conference Center in Livonia on October 3.

The banquet is held in conjunction with the four-day St. Nicholas Institute, a seminar for faith-filled men who aim to professionally portray St. Nicholas and/or Santa Claus.

The institute is the brainchild of Fr. Joseph Marquis, pastor of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church, a professional Santa Claus for 40 years, and one of 24 individuals from North America to be inducted into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame.
Read More »

Middleboro Light Fight Ends -- The lights will be shining come Christmas time on a tree that was in the middle of a heated debate in Middleborough, Massachusetts.

Last year, the town decided to decorate a blue spruce with lights at the town hall Veterans' Memorial, which is dedicated to World War One Medal of Honor winner Patrick Regan.

A veterans group protested, along with Regan's grandson.
Read More »

Angry Birds Air Swimmers set to land this Christmas

ToyNews Online -- Wow Stuff has signed a licence with Rovio to produce a pair of Air Swimmers based on the app phenomenon Angry Birds. The forthcoming range of 'Mark 2' Air Swimmers, including the Angry Birds designs, were originally planned for a 2013 launch..
Read More »

Are you ready for Bum versus Face?

ToyNews Online -- A contender for the Doggie Doo Award for the Most Bizarre new Game of 2012?

Bum Face is an action game from Spanish toy maker IMC, where four players do battle and attempt to knock each other out of a ring, by either punching each other in the face and/or bum.
Read More »

Micro Chargers sales accelerating

ToyNews Online -- Australian made mini race car brand Micro Chargers is gathering momentum Stateside.

Since being released in the States on August 1st the brand has increased its sales week on week, culminating in a 60 per cent rise in volume and a 59 per cent rise in value in the week ending August 17th.

The miniature collectable cars from Moose Toys feature 'quick-charge' technology - with an eight second charge they can reach scale speeds of up to 600 miles per hour. The line includes three track sets which kids can connect together with other leading brands.
Read More »

back to top

Featured Member - September 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 TylerSanta!

This month's Featured Member of the Month is our second Santa this year who hails from the Lone Star State! Not surprisingly, this Texas Santa also loves Mexican food!

TylerSanta, aka Tom, joined the ClausNet Community of Santas and Mrs Clauses back in September of 2010. As with many of us here on ClausNet, the suit found Tom not the other way around.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

We caught up with Tom a few days ago. 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

Show us YOUR Christmas!

By Jeff Westover

Over at My Merry Christmas we want to see as much Christmas as possible from every corner of the world. It has become our merry tradition as the world's largest Christmas community online to share Christmas as it happens with each other. And this year we want to do it bigger and better than ever!

We want to see lights from London, trees in Tallahassee, surfing Santas from down under, and smiling faces from everywhere! Do you put up a tree? Send us a picture of it! Do you hang your stockings with care? Show us! Do you have a project for Christmas you're working on? Share it!

Do you bake goodies? Let us see it! (Scratch 'n sniff if possible) Do you visit a local Christmas pageant, festival or market? Take your camera and show it off! Do you take your family to visit with Santa? Take pictures and post them! Are YOU Santa? Show us your jolly!

For more information, visit:
Show us YOUR Christmas »

back to top

Being Santa, Remembering John Again

By Santa John in WV

I have been away for a while from ClausNet. For that I am sorry, as I notice that a few of my friends have messaged me here and I have not answered them. Of all the Summers I have had thus far, this has certainly been one of the most interesting. I should say this has been an interesting year, as much of it began for me right after the Jim Yellig Workshop.

You see, I left that event on a very high note. It was a note that I still feel today. Think of it, those who were there really and truly touched history. It is a history that I am proud of and am ever increasingly growing protective of in my own way. I will explain how and why I say that in a few moments. Needless to say, after touching that history and the honor that goes with it I have began questioning certain aspects in my own personal life with Santa and of the Santa community.

Upon my return home I became involved with a discussion of why we do the things we do - especially why we of the real bearded persuasion dress in red all year long. Does it truly benefit the kids was my question. Nearly every Santa I spoke to gave me an "I" statement as opposed to an answer that in my mind showed Santa being used in truly serving children. The conversation was then switched to the possibility of "questionable" behavior from Santas being seen by children. That pretty much started my mind to thinking of ways to preserve and protect Santa rather than exploiting him out of Season.

Then came a role that made me ponder further. Many of you know that I am an actor. In June and early July I starred in a production of David Auburn's "Proof", a Pulitzer prize winning play about a mathematician and his daughters. He dies after a long struggle with mental illness and so the play is about his family coping with the possibility of his youngest daughter having the same tendencies. I played the part of Robert, the mathematician. In rehearsal, my question was constantly "is the audience going to think of Robert or of Santa going crazy?" Strong language was modified by my director who knew my concerns. The color red became cursed for me. I did not want Santa associated with this character.

Though I ended up with great press over my portrayal of this tortured character the experience left me with further feeling that for myself I must protect Santa from being the object of defamation.

I have been studying seriously the subject of acting from workshop to workshop all Summer. I have been given various job prospects within the field as well. To be an effective actor you must also know yourself. After all, acting is imitation of life. I have come to another realization, Santa is not John. Rather, John portrays Santa.

Why is this important? Because I feel that many of us in this industry look at ourselves as if we are Santa himself rather than as actors portraying a part. The further I have gone into a study of myself I realize that Basil Rathbone and I have alot in common. He always said that Sherlock Holmes tried to take over his life when not put under control.

Santa has become the same for my life. By my becoming a 24/7/365 Santa I find that he has stifled me in so many ways including relationships with family and old friends, career, and creatively. I cannot get additional parts onstage due to my outward appearance as Santa. Musically, I am typecast as a holiday act only. People that I know and love are sometimes stand-offish with me after the Season. I never knew that my biggest blessing and source of outreach in my community could also be a burden.

So, after coming this far you might think I am quitting. On the contrary. I am taking my life back for myself and placing Santa where I feel he needs to be - for his protection and for my sanity. Santa is the vehicle by which I spread love and joy, often in a way of secret giving. I often think of Nicholas wrapped in a cloak dropping bags of gold in windows of the needy - which we know he did. I want to use the guise of Santa for that very thing.

Also, I am surrounded by two industries that would actually enjoy a Santa that they can get to their specifications. After talking these over with mentors, customers, booking agents, theater folks, and most importantly God and my wife I have come to this decision: I am breaking with modern tradition in order to salvage the historical tradition of Santa - come New Year 2013 I am going to shave my whiskers and take on the search for the best traditional set I can afford.

I am going to honor St. Nicholas by using the image for secret giving and good deeds as ever and will continue on as my community's Santa. But the jobs that John can do on his own, John will do without Santa. My prayer is that the Master of St. Nicholas will be seen first and foremost in my life. And if I can use Santa for His glory, I will - as a tool and not as a way of living. I am 34 years old, overweight, and with a history of heart disease in my family. I have to do something about it.

When I look back of Santas like Jim Yellig, James Rielly, Charlie Howard, and even my friend Jay Long - and modern friends like Phil Wenz, Mike Rielly, Dutch Schrap, and others - I see a link to the Santa of James Edgar and others who started the tradition in our country purely going back to the secret giving of St. Nicholas.

It is a decision that has taken some thought, but I had to make it. I am insuring that if I say or do something stupid in life, Santa will not be the first thing seen and mocked. He will be in a special place each year.

Friends, I urge everyone to look inside themselves. Is Santa benefiting you or the children? What about in August or May or whatever other month? Is Santa holding you back? Is he more than a part you portray? Sometimes the reality is that we need to wake up from the dream. Don't stop portraying Santa.

After 28 Seasons I am not quitting. Rather, we all must put him into perspective. Trim that chin and spend some time out of red. It actually feels pretty darn good sometimes. If we truly believe that we are called to be Santa and that he enters through the heart then these things won't matter. The love is what matters. Red suit or not we all could use that in our lives.
Leave your comment »

back to top

Santa's Wisdom

Try to Add Something New to Your Performance

By Santa Lou Knezevich

At this time of year my thoughts turn to the coming season and getting my costumes and myself ready.

I don't feel I'm hard on my wearing apparel but there is always a lose button or some sewing which needs to be done. I always take my costumes to the dry cleaner during January and February so they are ready whenever needed. I have been using the same dry cleaner for about 6 or 7 years and he knows exactly what to do. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about the fur turning red or damage to my apparel. It's very important to find a dry cleaner that will use clean chemicals for your costume to avoid any damage. This is something you want to discuss with the dry cleaner, before you hand over your suits. In the long run doing so will save you time and money.

This is also the time I use to incorporate something new or improve upon things I have been doing. One thing I'm going to work on this season is my story telling. I always tell 'The Night Before Christmas' which is a perfect way to conclude my visit. A few seasons ago I told the story of the 'Polar Express' to a very large group of children and adults at a church's 'Gingerbread House Night.' The site was at the church hall and trying to hold the attention of children who wanted to finish making their gingerbread house or delve into their candy was not easy. I learned a lesson about knowing your audience and selecting the right material. I would have been better of selecting a shorter story like 'the Night Before Christmas.'

This season I will have a few events for which 'The Polar Express' would be a very suitable story to tell. Children will be a little older and there will be smaller groups. I have small wooden train whistles which I'll give to a child for sound effects. I also found some 'Polar Express' tickets on line which I printed to pass out as a souvenir of the story. I had bought a conductors hat and I plan to appoint one of the children as the conductor to pass out the tickets and of course say, 'All aboard!' My idea is to involve the children in the story to make it more interesting to them. I also have a small box in which I will put the bell and the note from 'Mr. C' and have a child open it at the end of the story. I know the secret to making this an outstanding story is for me is to practice, practice, practice.

The children will be a little older and it will be easier to hold their attention by getting them involved. I plan to use a magician's change bag after the story to involve the children and adults. The 'Change Bag' is a very versatile easy trick to master.

Please contact, Santa Glen Heald who can furnish you one which looks like a Christmas stocking and explain how it works.

I plan to go among the children asking each if they believed in the spirit of Christmas. Upon reaching into the stocking they would pull out a bell that rang. I may ask an adult to do the same however, on the first try the bell will not ring. Eventually I'll ask them to do it again to see if they found the Christmas Spirit. This time to everyone's delight they will pull out a bell which rings. Using the change bag I will also be able to give each child a souvenir of the 'Polar Express.'

I hope this article will encourage you to expand your story telling or make it a part of your presentation

For more information on the Legendary Santa Mentoring Program, 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 Dan Rowe.

Don GoersDuring the 1940s Millers & Rhodes Department Store established itself as a destination in Virginia to visit Santa Claus. Sadly the store closed in 1989, but the tradition of visiting the Legendary Santa Claus continued at various locations in Richmond.

The role of the Legendary Santa Claus has been played by a handful of men, including the late Bill Strother. In 1966, Dan Rowe became the Legendary Santa Claus taking over the role from his brother, Hansford.

Dan Rowe appears at the Richmond Children Museum, the current location of the Legendary Santa Claus tradition and at numerous hospitals, parties, and even the Virginia Capital Christmas Tree Lighting. He has also appeared numerous times in the annual Richmond Christmas Toy Parade.

In 2011, the City of Richmond celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Legendary Santa Claus. For 46 of those years, more than any other man, Dan Rowe had brought to life Santa Claus for the children of Virginia and beyond.

Dan Rowe
Richmond's Legendary Santa
1927 - Current

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

back to top