The Tradition of Portraying Santa Claus Spans Across Generations

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Rhode Island Santa Claus, Michael Rielly will represent his late grandfather at the final Santa Claus Oath Ceremony

Michael Rielly, the grandson of Rhode Island's famed Santa Claus, James D. Rielly, will attend the final signing ceremony of the Santa Claus Oath on November 6, 2010 in Santa Claus, Indiana.

James D. “Jim” Rielly's career as Rhode Island and Southern New England’s most recognizable Santa Claus spanned over 60 years. He began his Santa Claus career in 1928 and was featured locally and nationally in both print and television. He was recognized by a host of dignitaries including Senator Claiborne Pell, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Pope John Paul II. In 1979 his name was recorded in the Senate Congressional Record as "James D. Rielly - A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus From Rhode Island".

Over the course of his career, Santa Jim Rielly took no money for his appearances. After Jim Rielly’s passing in 1991, his grandson Michael Rielly took over the role as Santa Claus. In his grandfather's honor, Michael Rielly appears at many of the same charitable organizations and hospitals his grandfather once visited.

On November 6, 2010, hundreds will gather in Santa Claus, Indiana to witness the final signing ceremony of the Santa Claus Oath. There, Michael Rielly will represent his famous grandfather at the event.

The Santa Claus Oath outlines eight principles that a Santa Claus should follow. Authored by Santa Claus Historian and Professional Santa Claus, Phillip L. Wenz, the Santa Claus Oath was inspired by two legendary Santa Clauses; Jim Yellig of Santa Claus, Indiana and Charles W. Howard of Albion, New York.

The Santa Claus Oath is a reminder to all who portray Santa Claus of the ideals for which Santa Claus truly stands for," said Phillip L. Wenz, "We are honored to have James D. Rielly become part of the Oath."

After the signing, the Santa Claus Oath Book will be sealed and placed into a time capsule at Santa's Candy Castle in Santa Claus, Indiana.

“I am so proud to be able to represent my grandfather at this historic event,” said Michael Rielly, “Papa took the role of being Santa Claus very seriously and I am sure he will be smiling down on us on November 6."

About Michael Rielly
Michael Rielly has portrayed Santa Claus for over 20 years and is a third generation Santa Claus and is the founder of (, the world's premier Santa Claus social network and resource for Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and Elves for the purposes of sharing stories, advice, news, and information. When not appearing as Santa Claus, Michael Rielly works in as a high tech sales and marketing professional serving in various roles; founder, board member, and business development.

About the Santa Claus Oath
The eight principles that make up the Santa Claus Oath ( were written with the ideals of what portraying Santa should be about. Authored by professional Santa, Phillip L. Wenz, the Oath was inspired by the lives of the two most prolific Santa Claus actors of the 20th century: Charles W. Howard of Albion, New York and Raymond “Jim” Yellig of Santa Claus, Indiana. Upon writing the Santa Claus Oath, the document was adopted by nearly every Santa Claus organization and individual Santa portrayer in the world. The final signing ceremony for the Santa Claus Oath will be held on November 6, 2010 in Santa Claus, Indiana.

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