Well it's Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer. I actually saw leaves on my lawn this weekend. It won't be long before I am spending my weekend raking and bagging them. Although in the Santa Claus community, the official countdown to Christmas begins on December 26, Labor Day is when most people really begin counting down to Christmas.
This week 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 SIXTH consecutive year for these events! For details on how to sign up for either or both, check out the ClausNet Contests and Happenings forum.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the ClausNet Gazette and as always, please feel free to contact us with your comments and suggestions.
Christmas Newswire -- Tracking Santa Claus is a big deal on the Internet and now a famous Internet Santa tracker has announced a strategic partnership that will bring Santa tracking news to radio. SantaUpdate.com, now in its 22nd year of tracking Santa Claus, joins up with Kringle Radio to share Santa tracking news direct from the North Pole.
“The Santa news generated at SantaUpdate.com comes from the North Pole, not a military organization, not a search engine and not a commercial entity — this is from Santa himself, where he lives and that is an important distinction,” said Jeff Westover of Merry Network, a family of Christmas websites that has offered Santa tracking via SantaUpdate.com for 22 years. “Santa is not tied to any of those organizations and he feels it is important for believers to get straight news about his flight, life at the North Pole and how Operation Merry Christmas comes about every year.”
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WGNradio.com -- Pete McMurray is in the studio with Santa! Phillip Wenz from Santa’s Village Azoosment Park talks about working year around. You can come see him anytime of the year at Santa’s Village Azoosment Park. Check him out on Santa From Santa’s Village.
Phillip Wenz stands inside the Snowball ride at the original Santa’s Village in July, 2006 (Photo by Jim Prisching)
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The Greensboro -- Big Al will always be Santa Claus. At least, to me.
He has the beard, the eyes, the girth, and the big red suit. Kids will walk up to him and ask, "Are you Santa Claus?" And Big Al will just lean down and respond, "What do you think?"
They won't say a word. They just stand there, wall-eyed. I've seen it.
Six years ago, I gave him a ride home after a Santa gig at a local church. I noticed a station wagon following me for blocks. I looked over, and there they were --- two kids plastered to the side window, waving like caffeine-addled grand marshals at a parade.
They weren't waving at me. They were waving at what they saw in my back seat: the silhouette of a large man in a Santa hat, unbuttoned Santa jacket and bushy beard that reached his chest.
Yes, Big Al is Santa Claus. And he has no left leg.
Doctors amputated it below the left knee, and just last month, he got out of the hospital. He'll still be Santa Claus. But now, he can also play a Pirate at Halloween. All he needs is a peg leg!
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Defend Christmas -- The annual whine has been poured. Just like eggnog, mistletoe and Santa himself, complaining about “Christmas creep” is a tradition in American media dating back decades.
Ironically, complaining about Christmas in stores is happening earlier and earlier than ever before (we noticed the complaints on September 11th last year).
This year the first to speak loudly about Christmas creep is Time magazine, who will stop at nothing to remain relevant, declaring Christmas creep an “annoying retail trend”.
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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 ClausNet.com. This is a great way to get to know your fellow ClausNet members!
This month our featured ClausNet Member is Santa Lou Knezevich!
If you are a subscriber to our monthly newsletter you may be familiar with this month’s featured member. Santa Lou Knezevich’s column; Santa's Wisdom appears each month in The ClausNet Gazette. He has been a member of ClausNet since the early days and is a key contributor to our community.
Santa Lou is also the founder of the Legendary Santas Mentoring Program. You can read more about the program in our interview with Lou. We caught up with Santa Lou 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!
In the land of "Politically Correct" and Social Norms, I find almost on a daily basis where someone is speaking, texting, and posting about being offended by something. I'm not saying that individuals do not have responsibility to be sensitive to those around them, act in kind, and try not to offend others but do we really need to have people be SO dang sensitive?
I stumbled on this blog post and thought I'd share. This is certainly great advice for me and hopefully you can find something here too.
We should be helping support each other, while to US this community might seem large...it is not when looking at the big picture. Working together, helping each other, and learning together have nothing to do with our beards, beard color, suits, Santa groups, organizations, amount of money we make, or the type of Santa events we do. Choose NOT to be offended my ClausNet friends and we will ALL be better off.
I personally will try harder to be kinder to those around me, and certainly try to choose not to be offended chances are, it is I that is taking things the wrong way.
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You have heard it over and over, the mantra of Hollywood, "The show must go on." Well that saying is very true, especially for live performances. Even more important of a phrase when you are a one man band so to speak.
Take for instance those such as myself who pride themselves on being a home visit Santa. The bookings are often scheduled a year in advance for a date and time that is so very far off. The things that arise between the time of booking, and the time of performing often really complicate ones life. Like walking a tightrope with no safety harness, you just have to suck it up many times and walk that line. Too often my bookings will take precedent over the wifes Christmas party or one of my childrens Christmas plays. Most of the time there is no way I can even attempt to reschedule a visit from Santa, so sadly I too miss out on a lot during the Holiday season.
Then there is the biggest fear a one man Santa show has to offer sickness. All those little hands and little mouths touching and coughing on you it is bound to happen. You wake up one day with a sore throat, or a runny nose. I know other Santas who have had to go get shots to just try and save face, others succumb to the symptoms so much that they have to cancel appearances. In all of my 11 years of doing this I have not been so bad that I have had to cancel on anyone (I am knocking on wood here) But there has been many times that I wish I was anywhere than sitting next to a fireplace in a coat, listening to a child who is as quite as a mouse and me just going through the paces.
I guess there is a great thing to say about working many gigs and that is you really settle down into the character you play. Often times I can just fly through a visit and not really have to think too hard about what it is I am saying or doing because I have played the part and the scenarios so much it is just second nature. That is a good thing when you are feeling like the bottom of your boot, but not such a good thing when you are feeling your oats. To become complacent in your roll is one thing that can bring down your presentation awful quick.
I read so many comments about supplements and regimens people do to avoid sickness, but in the end if you do this long enough the old bug is going to bite you and hopefully you will be able to limp through it without anyone noticing a thing. Headaches, Back aches, other worldly troubles really have to cease when you step over that threshold into the Santa world. All is to be joyful and care free! The spirit has to be flowing whether you are feeling it or not. So welcome to show business, remember that we are merely actors in the Red Suit and the show must go on!
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By Santa Lou Knezevich
Everyone expects Santa to have a big belly that “Shakes like a bowl of jelly.” Of course the animators and artists can illustrate that shape with the stroke of brush while most of us mortals need some creative help. Although my belly has some girth I soon found out I needed a “Belly Pad” to make my look acceptable.
A "Belly Pad” consists of padding similar in shape and worn like a vest under the costume jacket giving the appearance of having a large stomach. These usually tie in the back and add a realistic touch to Santa’s shape. There isn’t much of a selection and I’ve found there are two basic types of stuffers. One is the vest type that is pre stuffed and has three ties in the back. The other has an opening to slip your head through a large collar and the shape reminds me of an oversize baby bib. This usually has one tie across the bottom to keep the belly in position it is not pre-stuffed. You stuff the pouch with towels, fabrics or whatever you may have to make it realistic looking.
I have both and each has some limitations to contend with. The number 1 issue is driving. If you “Suit Up” before an event and have to drive your car, well, it can get in the way of the steering wheel. Probably more so if you have to back up and it’s not easy trying to get your neck around to see out the driver’s window or the back window. I found that out one rainy Christmas Eve backing out of a drive way just avoiding hitting some cars by the “Grace of God.” Another thing is; you’re going to perspire in your jacket but the “Belly Pad” will add to the heat factor. I wear a moisture wicking undershirt which is helpful but the pad gets soaked along with everything else. The one I stuff is bothersome because the collar is around my neck adding to the heart factor. Not much I can do with it and after I’m “Suited” I usually forget about any discomfort.
The last problem I contend with is the slipping of my Santa Belt. Santa suit manufactures are reluctant to put more then two belt hoops on the jacket. These are located on each side at about the middle of the hip area. If the belt buckle has any weight, or if it rides under the Belly Pad, Santa will be constantly adjusting his belt. I don’t understand why costume makers don’t put two hoops, one around towards the front and an equal distance towards the back of the jacket. In this manner the belt is supported by the hoops and would not be a constant or unsightly problem. Ah, but back to my story, the “Belly Pad” adds up to six inches to my waist and so far has not been exposed to be a fake stomach by an inquiring juvenile mind.
With the thought to Santas trimming down their waists a belly pad can enhance that "Bowl full of jelly."
Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program
Each month we feature an inductee of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. This month we honor Tom Valent.
The town of Midland, Michigan, not only has its very own Santa House but also its very own Santa in the form of Mr. Tom Valent.
Each year he spends his time bringing magic and gladness to children of all ages. Joining him in promoting the true Spirit of Christmas is his Mrs. Claus, Holly.
As a Santa of the highest integrity and ability, Valent’s efforts in the red suit have shared him with many news networks along with countless publications.
Valent is also a renowned educator of Santas through the legendary Charles W. Howard Santa School.
After the tenure of Nate Doan as Dean of the School, Valent took the reins in 1987.
From the Santa House in Midland, Michigan, to many different nations of the world, Valent conducts the Santa Claus School.
He gave the values and lessons that have become the backbone of the School to students from countries including Germany, Ireland, England, America, Norway, Canada, Australia, and many others nations.
Santa Claus School Traditions
1950 - Current
Want to learn more? Check out the following: