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ClausNet Gazette: News from the Santa Claus Network


Volume 7, Issue 10

Welcome October!

By Michael Rielly

Photography by Manny Correira, Bristol RI, © 2015

Welcome to our October 2015 newsletter!

This may sound odd coming from someone who portrays Santa Claus, but October is my favorite month of the year. I love sitting on my deck admiring the view of colorful foliage against the backdrop of Narraganset Bay on a crisp cool morning while enjoying a cup of coffee. I am so lucky to be able to live in one of the most beautiful seaside towns in America. The brilliance of fall in New England is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world.

Then of course I am immediately jolted back to reality when all those leaves fall to the ground and I end up spending the next 4 weeks raking them. Then I hate fall.

Last month was a really busy month on ClausNet. We launched an all new website which includes a host of usability enhancements, as well as several brand new features. If you haven’t logged into in some time, be sure to stop by and check out all the new upgrades. If you need help logging in, feel free to contact us!

While you are there, you can sign up for our Eight Annual ClausNet Christmas Ornament Exchange and Christmas Card Mailing. These events are a lot of fun and always a big hit with our members. The Ornament Exchange and Christmas Card Mailing events are open to all registered members of If you would like to participate, there is still time!

This month we also kicked off our Official ClausNet Countdown to Christmas! Be sure to stop in thought the season and your daily comments. I hope you enjoy this month's edition of the ClausNet Gazette. If you missed an issue, you can view all our past issues online in the ClausNet Gazette newsletter archive and as always, please feel free to contact us with your comments and suggestions. .

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In The News

Breaking News on ClausNet

Mom Threatened with Lawsuit after Son Spills the Beans on Santa Claus -- A Southern California mom who has yet to be identified was stunned after she was sent a nasty letter from a law firm threatening to slap her with a civil lawsuit. The reason for the suit? Her son told some of his fellow classmates that Santa Claus didn't exist.

Reddit user crazy_moms_throwaway recently posted a thread on Reddit describing the bizarre situation. Reportedly, the single mother's son told a group of his classmates that Santa Claus wasn't real. The children, of course, mentioned what they had learned at school that day to their parents—and their parents were quick to act.

Soon after the incident, the mom received a courier notice from what she described as a "well-known, local, elite law firm." Apparently, her son's Santa slip-up allegedly resulted in the other's children experiencing "emotional damage," and was overall "[a] flagrant disregard to parental rights" that also facilitated "the loss of innocence of child wonderment."

The letter, which contained the names of 8 children who had learned the true secret of Christmas, alleged that the kids were "traumatized" by her son's "negligent actions." The notice also demanded that the boy stay away from his friends at all times, and that any interaction between the boy and the group of kids should be cut off.

But that isn't all. Besides threatening to sue, the law firm also insisted that the mom is now obligated to pay for a "fully interactive Santa Experience." Um, what? A "Santa Experience" means that the mom now has to hire a Santa impersonator for a party to be hosted at one of the kid's houses, in which Santa will hand out presents, sing songs with the "affected" children and generally spread good Christmas cheer (all on the mom's dime). The purpose of the party, as stated by the letter, is to "reverse the damage [her] son caused and re-spark the child like wonderment that surrounds the holidays."
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Santa Claus to have a new home in Enniscorthy Castle

Enniscorthy Guardian -- The plan to transform Enniscorthy Castle into 'Santa's enchanted castle' was met with huge support from the councillors when District Manager Padraig O'Gorman ran through the details. "Mrs. Claus" will bring visitors inside the castle, which will be home to an elf workshop, Mrs Claus' kitchen, an audio-visual exhibit, a frozen-themed room and more. Mr O'Gorman said that there are also plans in place to light up the front of the castle.

'We are pulling out all of the stops. We hope to attract people to the town and encourage them to stay and shop local.'

Cllr Oliver Walsh suggested that the attraction be launched soon, as many similar Christmas are already attraction public attention. Chairman of Enniscorthy Municipal Council, Cllr Paddy Kavanagh, agreed, saying that 'it has to get out sooner rather than later.' All in attendance shared his opinion, including Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy who added that they were 'really lucky to have the castle'.

The discussion ended with much heckling and laughter when Director of Services, Mr John Carley, quashed any rumours about who was to play the all-important role of Santa. 'There is no truth in the rumour the chairman is going to be Santa!'
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Macy’s Herald Square Welcomes The Start Of Fall By Putting Up Christmas Decorations

The Consumerist -- Twinkling lights have been hung on boughs of evergreen with care, sparkling ornaments are shining merrily in their Christmas trees and Santa’s sleigh waits, gleaming and ready, behind a velvet rope. All before the first official day of fall, at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City.

Friend of Consumerist Steve spotted the preparations for the holiday season in full swing at Macy’s flagship store on Tuesday, up on the ninth floor, where he was exchanging some dishes in the home goods and fine China area.

Though it wasn’t exactly a scene that screamed “open for business,” as workers were going in and out of the area, apparently involved in setting it up, there wasn’t anything keeping shoppers away while the decorating was in progress.

“No signs or anything, and it wasn’t like you could just go in there and hang out, but it was there, in all its glory,” Steve notes.

Though September might seem awfully early to get the holiday ball rolling — heck, we haven’t even hit peak Halloween season, much less Thanksgiving — this isn’t the first time Macy’s “Holiday Lane” has taken up residence on the ninth floor months ahead of Christmas.

Last year Gothamist spoke to a Macy’s rep who explained that the early set-up was “consistent due with set up in previous years due to the extensive product assortment (ornaments, trees, lights, cards, among other items) the department features.”
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Featured Member - October 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 of the Month is Steve Pulera!

I was very excited to bring you this month’s Featured Member. Steve Purela is the Head Elf at Eight Tiny Reindeer – a reindeer ranch specializing in raising and breeding reindeer for holiday and promotional events.

ClausNet Featured Member of the Month

Elf Steve joined us back in 2010 and has been a regular contributor to our community ever since. We caught up with Steve 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!

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On Christmas Eve

By Stella Mead
From the book The Land of Never-Grow-Old, 1935

Santa,When the night goes gray and the stars are gold, When the bells for Christmas ring. When the children close by the Yuletide log Their Christmas carols sing; In is sleigh he jumps, to the deer he calls, Away to earth he flies, Through the crystal stars of the Milky Way And down the silver skies.

He is Santa Claus in a crimson gown, with a beard so white and long; We will sound his praise to the chimney-tops In a rousing Christmas song.
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Santa's Wisdom

Santa Costuming:

By Santa Lou Knezevich

I was privileged to be an instructor at the NorthStar Santa School in Atlanta, Georgia a few weeks ago. It was a rewarding experience to be among my fellow Santas; who were new and those of experience.

One of the segments I discussed was Santa Costuming and since the class I have had a number of Santas express interest in hearing more of this subject. In this article I’ll discuss Santa costuming which may help you or give you some ideas about your own wardrobe.

I’ve said this many times and I believe that in the first 5 seconds of someone seeing you, they determine if you’re Santa Claus or his helper. Think about that. It’s a quick decision, which is rarely reversed. How do you think you are perceived? Have you ever wondered why some of your Santa friends personify the look of Santa Claus while others may never achieve the recognition?

There are many elements which can help make you a believable Santa and costuming is but one. We Santas spend a lot of money to have a unique costume made for us. (I confess, I’m included) What we have overlooked is the fact children and adults have an image of Santa in their minds. If your image reflects the Santa in their minds then, you’re the real Santa Claus. If not, you’re a helper or maybe an imposter.

What image makes you a believable Santa Claus? Much of the Santa image perceived today may be attributed to Haddon Sundblom, an illustrator who painted Santa Claus in so many advertisements for Coke Cola. He created a series of Santa illustrations promoting Coke Cola which began in the early 1930s through the mid 1960s. His depiction has become the image we most relate too.

Saying that; let’s start out with what we call in the trade, “the Coke Cola Suit.” This costume is recognized because the fabric color is a bright red, much like the color used in the advertising of the Coke Cola beverage. Another distinction is gold buttons down the front to enclose the jacket rather than white fur. The jacket is a 3/4 length which is trimmed around the bottom in white fur.

No matter what name you give a Santa Suit the collar falls into some distinct patterns. One style is the mandarin collar which hugs the neck and is a short unfolded stand-up fur piece on a Santa jacket. The style derives its name from the gowns worn by Mandarins in Imperial China. From a frontal view a mandarin collar will usually be obscured by Santas beard. So, if you want to show off your beard this is the collar for you. This may be also one to consider if you do a lot of photography work. Your beard may not blend into or stand out on the white of a large collar.

The cape collar style is most popular. This is a white fur collar which curves over the shoulders and back. Some cape collars have a snap or two so you can close the front completely. A variation of this style lies flat across your chest and does not close in the front. Your beard may “blend in” with your white cape collar. When you buy a costume online or even from a seamstress, you usually will only have two belt loops, one at each hip. You’ll quickly discover this will not do. Your movements will have your belt riding too high but more than likely, too low. You’ll need at least six belt loops to hold up a heavy leather belt and metal buckle.

Belts sold with “off the rack” costumes usually, have an inexpensive buckle and are made from cheap faux leather materials. If you’re a New Santa use these until you have money to upgrade. After a season or so, you will have an idea of the type of belt you want and places which sell them.

If at all possible; it is wise to buy an extra pair of pants with your costume. One of the obvious reasons is your pants take more wear and tear than other costume pieces. The other is the possibility a child may have an accident upon your knee and you’re not going to smell fresh! Always look to have at least one pocket in your pants or jacket. Some of my first costumes didn’t have pockets (I still wear them) but I deposit my car keys in my boot.

Maybe your costume has a “Western look” about it and for your locale, cowboy boots may be acceptable however, (My opinion) “they are not Santa Boots.” The same is true for Medieval and Renaissance foot ware. The present day Santa boot is traditionally black leather and is 15–17 inches high. The heel is from 1 inch to 1-1/2 high, much higher will not be comfortable plus hard to walk in.

Most boots from costume companies come with zippers. Some Santas have a shoemaker sew zippers down the inside of the boot to make getting in and out of them easy. It is also common to have buckles sewn on the boots and even bells. You may wish to think twice about permanently affixing belles as that eliminates the element of surprise or causing a child’s apprehension. The best thing you can do for boot fur is to attach them with Velcro or sew elastic around the top to hold them up. I’ve seen a few of you who have sewn the boot fur to the bottom of your trousers. I’m sure you’re proud of yourself for being so creative. Doing this lowers the height of the cuff and in my mind makes you a “sloppy looking Santa Claus.”

Santa needs to have enough white gloves to change them between visits or as required. My suggestion is to order at least one dozen, white, extra-long or long wrist gloves. Normally, I buy the cotton fabric as this wash’s easily and looks neat. I have also bought the beaded gloves with the little rubber dots. If you tell stories from a book these will definitely help you turn the pages. Remember white gloves are your friends. They help to keep germs from your bare hands and they are visible reminders where your hands are. Make sure your gloved hands are visible in every photograph you take. It could help you!

I’ll try to cover other costuming details in future articles and as always your comments are welcomed.

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

Santa Lou Knezevich
Creator Legendary Santas Mentoring Program

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Saturday Evening Post, December 27, 1919; "Santa Behind the Window" by J. C. Leyendecker

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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 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.

Tom Valent
Midland, Michigan
1950 – Current

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

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