On November 6, 2010, dozens of professional Santas came from across North America to the Candy Castle in Santa Claus, Indiana to encapsulate the Santa Claus Oath Book. The Santa Claus Oath’s historic journey has taken nearly two years with over 2,500 Santas and Mrs. Clauses in the signatory. Though the collection of signatures has been completed, the Santa Claus Oath will continue to be recited and pledged by Santa and Mrs. Claus portrayers at local, regional, and global meetings, along with Santa Schools and at Santa Conventions.
Included in the pages of the Oath Book are the origins of the Oath, Jim Yellig dedication and bio, Charles W. Howard dedication and bio, a memorial for outstanding Santas of the past, the story of the first Santa Claus group, the story of the first Santa Claus convention and subsequent conventions, the Santa Claus prayer, "What Matters" poem, Oath title page, October 2008 Oath dedication, the signed Oath page by the two grandsons, witness page, Charles W. Howard’s historic Santa Claus School information, Santa Claus, Indiana history and ambassador page, Candy Castle history, the Oath committee roster, traveling Oath information, Santa Claus Hall of Fame charter members’ bios, a dedication to the Santas of the world, historical overview of St. Nicholas and how St. Nicholas became Santa, title page for signatory and the signature pages, custodianship of the Santa Claus Oath Foundation, and a commentary by the Oath’s author.
Through research and documentation, we have linked Santa Claus’ first visit to a dry goods store, J.W. Parkinson’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1841, to the first known department Santa, James Edgar in 1890, and to the meeting of the Legendary Santas, Jim Yellig and Charles W. Howard in 1938. By the signing of the Oath by Will Koch, Jim Yellig’s grandson and Charles Bergeman, Charles W. Howard’s grandson in 2008, the Santa Claus Oath has connected the past with the present.
In the year 2035, twenty five years from the encapsulation date, a new generation of Santas will be given the Santa Claus Oath Book to open. This date will correspond with the 100th anniversaries of the Candy Castle and the Santa Claus statue, both in Santa Claus, Indiana, along with the 100th anniversaries of Jim Yellig organizing the Santa Claus American Legion to answer Santa letters and Charles W. Howard’s first year as a department store Santa. All four of these things happened in 1935.
On Saturday November 3, 2035, a set of instructions will be opened and enacted. The Santa Claus Oath and Book will once again be re-dedicated to Jim Yellig, Charles W. Howard, and all those who pass on the loving traditions of the Legend of Santa Claus. After the ceremony, new signatures and information will be added for one calendar year. Then the Oath Book will be resealed for another period of years. This program has been worked out and legally planned to insure the proper transfer of the Santa Claus Oath and the supporting documentation over time.
It is our hope that the new generations of Santa and Mrs. Claus portrayers from years yet to come will embrace their Santa tradition’s history and the endowment of the Santa Claus Oath from the thousands of signers and the many supporters of the Oath from the current generation of Santas and Mrs. Clauses.
It has been my personal honor to be Santa Claus and it has been my privilege to be part of the Santa Claus Oath.
Phillip L. Wenz