Well here we are in full swing and the height of our season and we are busier than ever on ClausNet!
Normally November and December are slow months on the site, but you would never know that from looking at the traffic statistics. This past November we saw the highest traffic on record on ClausNet and judging by trending, December is shaping up to beat that record!
As always, we try to keep ClausNet fresh, interesting, and fun. So this month we started a new tradition in picking our Featured Member of the Month. Beginning this December and continuing every year, we will feature not one but three ClausNet members in honor of Saint Nicholas. Be sure to read our interviews with this months featured members.
Speaking of fresh, you may have noticed ClausNet is now sporting a brand new coat of paint and several new features! Not only has the software been upgraded with new capabilities, but ClausNet is now running on a dedicated, and much faster server!
If the new interface is a little confusing, don't worry! After the first of the year I will be conducting several online training webinars on the various features of the site. If you would like to get help on a particular feature or task, send me a message with your suggestions and we'll schedule an online and interactive how-to session.
But wait there's still more! ;) I have one more surprise for the end of the year. We will be sending out a special year-end issue of the ClausNet Gazette. Look for the "ClausNet Year In Review" issue on Christmas Eve!.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish your all -- my extended family -- a very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Free Press -- On the list of things Michigan exports to the rest of the country and world, let's add that most magical of commodities: Santa.
For those who think Santa comes from the North Pole, here's a little secret: Santa -- and his worthy imitators -- gets his batteries recharged for the Christmas season in mid-Michigan.
Every autumn, about 70 Santa imitators descend on Midland, where Tom and Holly Valent have hosted the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School since 1987. License plates hint at the whimsy that fuels the Santas' voyages.
The school draws stand-in Santas from all around the world. This year, there was an elfin-like Santa from Norway, a onetime circus clown who sweats it out in Miami, and a fellow who customizes Scottish kilts to represent Clan Claus.
Read More »
DefendChristmas.com -- Merced’s (California) “Christmas Parade” is back after a name change to avoid lawsuits was blasted by residents as politically correct overkill.
The city became organizers of the 15th annual parade this year after its longtime sponsors backed out.
Officials quietly changed the name from “Christmas Parade” to “Holiday Parade” to guard against possible lawsuits claiming the city was endorsing one religion over another.
Residents called City Hall and sent letters to the editor of the Merced Sun-Star to object.
City Manager John Bramble says officials “never wanted to be the Grinch that stole the Christmas Parade” from Merced.
Read More »
Star Tribune -- Distressed over not being able to get on the priority list for H1N1 flu shots, Santa's helpers are taking matters into their own hands. The gloves, literally, are coming off.
"I'm a gloveless Santa this year," said "Santa Carlucci," aka Carl Immediato of Bloomington, "because that way I can use hand sanitizers."
His partner-in-alms, "Santa Tom," aka Tom Pierce of Outing, Minn., is going with more gloves, or none at all. "I'm bringing multiple gloves and a quart jar of hand sanitizer to every event," he said. "Whenever I handle a baby, I take the gloves off and Purell my hands."
The two St. Nicks, who work mostly private events, were frustrated over not being able to move up the H1NI immunization priority list. "We thought we would get to the head of the line," said Immediato, "but I have requested a shot at numerous places and been shot down."
Read More »
The Telegraph UK -- The "grinch-like" Father Christmas was axed from a festive lights switch-on for his "inept and sullen" performance.
The disastrous appearance of the look alike also saw him failing to communicate with children during the event in Evesham, Worcestershire.
But he was all to happy to communicate on his phone as he sent texts while posing for pictures with the kids.
The stand-in for the real and jovial Santa was supposed to be one of the main attractions at the event but the performer was slammed by organizers who branded him "inept and disinterested".
Hundreds of townsfolk flocked to the event where Santa was supposed to ride in gloriously on a sleigh pulled by reindeer and give out plenty of sweets as he chatted to children about what they wanted for Christmas.
Read More »
New Tang Dynasty Television -- The Zhu Zhu Pets interactive hamsters are a top choice for parents in the U.K. and North America.
"They're the hottest thing for the holiday season. Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters have 40 different sounds each.", said Adrienne Giordano, Spokesperson, Toys R Us.
"They come in all different characters; there are two boys and two girls, so little boys and girls are loving them this holiday season, and they're certainly flying off the shelves."
At $10 each, eager customers can’t wait to get their hands on the toy.
Read More »
Playthings.com -- Mattel has launched a new parent-friendly, direct-to-consumer online store, MattelShop.com.
MattelShop.com is designed to be “easy and intuitive for every shopper,” according to the toymaker. Its features include: ShopTogether, a social shopping tool from DecisionStep that allows people to browse the site together from separate computers and chat to each other while doing so; ConciseClick, a rollover-and-click technology that provides a description, price and opportunity to drop products immediately into a shopping cart while watching videos (the shop has its own YouTube channel); and the ability to search for products based on play pattern, such as “heroic play” and “competitive play.”
“We have developed a unique online shopping destination that is playful, social and informative,” said Chuck Scothon, General Manager & Senior Vice President, Mattel Digital Network. “The MattelShop.com serves as a research and shopping tool allowing parents, grandparents and gift-givers alike to choose the best toys for children this holiday season.”
Read More »
I've always felt that December was a special month here on ClausNet. So beginning this year, we will start a new tradition. In honor of Saint Nicholas, every December we will feature not one, but three ClausNet members!
The number three symbolizes many things in the Christian faith, but also in the history of Saint Nicholas. Three gold balls, gold coins, or sometimes three money bags, represent the gold Saint Nicholas gave as dowries to the three impoverished girls; and three children in a tub are often used to represent Saint Nicholas as the Patron Saint of Children.
With that I am happy to announce that our three ClausNet Featured Members of the Month for December 2009 are: Santa Felix, Santa Bob Elkin, and SCSmall.
Visit our Featured Members of the Month section to read past interviews!
A little early Christmas magic happened a few days ago when Santa got his whiskers.
I am somewhat of a Santa whisker stylist of sorts. All self taught, taking ordinary sets and working them into something better. Always on the look out for that perfect set of whiskers.
Well a while back I read of a Santa looking for a certain set of whiskers that are out of production. I know he had seen them in the advertisement on the Rubies site where he got his suit. It was a very nice beard made to look like the Yak sets of a bygone era. There is not a lot you can do; the good stuff seems to be all out of production.
One day I am scanning through eBay and see a box I recognize to be the package from Rubies Santa set 2306. Having no idea what was really inside, I make a couple of bids. Unfortunately I receive a notice I was outbid so that was it; so I thought.
The ad also incorrectly gave the wrong product number. I figured, "Oh it was not the 2306 set after all". So a week or two later having forgot about this I get a message from the seller that the buyer did not go through with the bid. He asks do I want the set? I ask him to check the tags sure enough they are a 2306. I make the purchase and wait to see what is actually in the box.
Several days later the box is wedged in my mailbox. It took some doing to remove it. I open it up and behold a brand new Rubies 2306 set in original package with the tags.
I contact the Santa who I don't know, except by reading some of his posts on ClausNet to see if he wants it. He is surprised to say the least. I tell him it cost half the retail that was advertised and it was his for the asking. I took it out styled it up a bit and sent it off to him. He seems quite pleased with my Internet bargain.
With a bit of Christmas magic, Santa got what he asked for this Christmas -- his whiskers.
Read More »
Specializing in home visits throughout the past years, I always get to see the current magic that my presence brings to a household. The joy and the laughter that the visit brings conjures images in my thoughts that I hope make memories that last for a lifetime.
It is all too often that once my visit is over and the laughs and the hugs are but a memory for me that is the last I see or hear from the people I just visited. Sure I often hear as I walk out the door how "Good you are", or "what a fantastic looking guy I am", but what lasting memories were made? Have I made any lasting impressions that in coming years and decades will be looked back upon with reverence?
This past weekend was the first time in my career as Santa that I had the opportunity to meet a young lady who was once a young child that I visited. As I sat in the back room awaiting my call to the photo set, a young lady of 15 years old approached as I sit perched in front of my fan. She was there to baby sit the shop owners young son. At the time I had no idea if this young lady was still a "Believer" so I went about my business as if she was.
After a few exchanges of banter she pulled up a chair and with a twinkle in her own eye, proceeded to peer deeply at my face. She said "I miss the time when I still believed you were the real Santa".
She went on to say that this would be the first year that her younger sister "knew the truth" as well. I told her that I understood that feeling completely, but even though I may not be the real Santa, there are real Santas amongst us everyday -- although they more than likely do not look exactly like I do. She agreed, and proceeded to look deeply into my eyes all the while the biggest grin was on her face.
Read More »
Each month we feature a quote from a famous Santa Claus of the past. This month's quote comes to us from Robert George.
Robert George was Santa Claus to six U.S. Presidents and his year-round Christmas display charmed thousands of disadvantaged and disabled children at his home in Southern California.
He started life as a barber from Nebraska. After retiring from barbering, George started to play Santa to disadvantage and needy children. After moving to the Los Angeles area, he decorated his home as a permanent display called “Santa’s Dreamland.”
He became the nations official Santa Claus in 1956 for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He subsequently accepted similar invitations from Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush.
"Santa is for everyone. He’s for your grandmother; he’s for a little two year old. He’s innocence, he’s beautiful and he has human emotion. Santa is not God, but is a man made symbol for the Christmas Spirit. Most importantly Santa exists for all of us that look for him in our hearts and souls."
May 18, 1924 - July 1, 1998
Want to learn more Santa Claus history? Check out the following: