Debra Goldman as Mrs. Claus Banned from Raleigh Chistmas Parade, Elves Riot

Debra Goldman as Mrs. Claus Banned from Raleigh Chistmas Parade, Elves Riot

November, 22, 2009, by Jedidiah

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photo from News and Observer / Debra Goldman

Wonder why you didn’t see Mrs. Claus aside Mr. Claus at Saturday’s Christmas Parade at Raleigh? No, it wasn’t something simple like “She was sick”. Instead, Mrs. Claus was banned from dressing up in the red and white by the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, the N&O reported Saturday morning.  It was recently elected City Council candidate for district B and Raleigh Merchant’s Association executive director John Odom made the call.

John Odom, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, which runs the parade, said it’s confusing for children to see two people in Santa suits. He said it’s a policy that only Santa may wear the official outfit.

Parade officials even discourage people from wearing Santa hats, Odom said.

It was unclear how common youthful confusion of Santa and Mrs. Claus might be, and what harm might result from the misapprehension. Dr. Joseph Loibissio, a Wake Forest pediatrician, said Friday night that children can generally identify genders by age 3.

Seriously, confusion? That’s what we are worried about at our Christmas parade, children being confused over which person in the red outfit is Santa Claus (a fictional character)? There also seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether this has to do with Goldman being on the school board.  Goldman was part of the neighborhood school alliance, so it’s unlikely, as theoretically Odom and Goldman support the same assignment strategy.

Either way, I guess the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association and John Odom would like a lump of coal in their stockings this year. Way to put a damper on the holiday spirit and parade guys. Maybe we’ll see an elf riot at the State Capitol Building soon calling for equal rights of all sexes (and elves) in the red, white, and green outfits. Hey! Maybe this is a reason for David Sedaris to come back home.
Waleigh Wishes the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association a Merry Christmas

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Politics, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Fayetteville StreetChristmasJohn OdomDebra GoldmanParade


  • Jonathan
    11/22 05:21 PM

    Dude, I’d totally support those elves during the riot!

  • Debra Goldman
    11/22 05:33 PM

    I am THE Mrs. Claus and I thank you for the support!

  • Aaron
    11/22 05:49 PM

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in a long time.

  • RaleighMAC
    11/22 06:26 PM

    hehehehHAHHAAHAHAH “confusion”... Yeahhhhh… righhhht. Kids are much smarter than that. As are the adults reading through that beard of a story… Nice try!

  • Chico
    11/22 06:38 PM

    Confusion? Children will now be confused at how such a knucklehead is in charge of a Christmas parade. When kids asks where is Mrs. Claus, and they will, how does a parent explain that? I would say that she ran off with the Grinch.

  • JeffS
    11/22 07:12 PM

    Mr Odom, are your kids really that stupid?

    Probably so… apple/tree and all.

  • chh
    11/22 07:40 PM

    Good to know the fantastical enforcer of good and bad can only be a dude ... I was starting to get stressed out that lady Clause might be confused with that role.

  • William Needham Finley IV
    11/22 07:46 PM

    Why did you say Santa was a “fictional character”?

  • CC
    11/22 10:35 PM

    Wow.  Just when you thought the world could NOT get any more politically correct, our semi-elected officials prove us wrong.  I think next year, thousands of Raleigh’s fairer sex should show up to the parade as Mrs. Claus.  Take that, “Guy Who Took Mrs. Claus Out Of Christmas”.  And that whole deal about not wearing Santa Hats? WHO are the Parade Officials making that call? Scrooge Wannabees?

    PS: Ms. Claus looks fabulous in red.

  • ZaqHydN
    11/23 12:50 AM

    Red flag on the play.
    I’d like to pull the “Family Values” card.

    I think Mrs. Clause should be elected to take John’s place in council.

  • Tyler Dukes
    11/23 07:40 AM

    I think the talk before the election was about how Raleigh’s business community supported Wake County’s current socioeconomic diversity policy (the one Goldman opposes).

    The Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern about changing the policy, so I’d think the GRMA would take a similar stance.

  • JZ
    11/23 07:48 AM

    This continues to demonstrate how the priorities of the City Council are off the mark.  Its time to grow up Council and treat this place like a CITY, with sophisticated, educated, decisive leadership.  This issue is a waste of precious council member time, and ours…..

  • RaleighRob
    11/23 09:52 AM

    ^JZ- uh, just to be clear and accurate, the city council had absolutely nothing to do with this.
    Odom, the head of the Merchant’s association, made the call.  (Since it’s their parade.)  He was just elected to council, true, but I don’t think he is to be seated until Dec or Jan. 

    But yes this was indeed a dumb decision.  Very.

  • JZ
    11/23 10:12 AM

    Oh, I know, I know.  But it boggles the mind that a (future/past) Council member will take up this kind of torch….. It’s the nagging reminder, for myself, that priorities are out of whack in general…..

  • Betsy
    11/23 11:01 AM

    Please, don’t judge the rest of the City Council by the actions of John Odom!

  • RaleighRob
    11/23 01:43 PM

    If anything’s confusing the kids in regards to Santa, it’s the fact that he’s parading down the street a week before Thanksgiving.  :-P

  • Barry
    11/23 05:40 PM

    Mrs. Claus appears in many different venues around the world. Children are way smarter the John Odom gives them credit.  Perhaps he should ask them what THEY think

  • Lisa Jeffries
    11/23 06:49 PM

    ^ I was going to say, look at all sorts of Santa cartoons, pictures, etc., etc. and I think children are all sorts of exposed to Santa’s other half!

  • Todd Morman
    11/23 08:01 PM

    You guys missed the point here, at least according to a friend who pays attention to these things; Debra Goldman apparently sent out a press release announcing her appearance in the parade, and last year was (acc. to the friend) politicking in a major way during the parade. I’m sorry, but if those are true, Debra Goldman is wrong and John Odom is right here. I look forward to Debra’s response.

  • JeffS
    11/23 08:19 PM

    So it’s ok to give a stupid reason as long as it’s a lie?

    Tell the truth or decline comment. Maybe there’s more to it, but it’s certainly not evident from the article.

  • Todd Morman
    11/23 08:36 PM

    Jeff, I never said “it’s ok to give a stupid reason.” I think the reason given is really, really stupid and deserves all the scorn it’s getting. But the possibility that it was given to avoid embarrassing Goldman with specifics about any alleged bad behavior on her part adds a layer to the story that’s worth mentioning. To be clear, I have no idea if the person I heard this from has accurate information. But if it’s true Goldman send out out a PR statement about her performance as Mrs. Claus, then I think the folks involved had reason to tell her “enough.” Especially if the added accusation that she was obnoxiously politicking during last year’s Christmas parade is also true.

    Again, I look forward to Debra’s response, and hope New Raleigh asks some of the folks involved for more information.

  • blculbre
    11/23 11:31 PM

    are we really getting bogged down in this?

    I feel dumber already! Yay Wake Board of Education!

  • Tarheel Lady
    01/02 04:38 PM

    Mr Odom from a young child through current times must have trouble distinguishing between Santa and Mrs Claus therefore assuming everyone else must also. There is no cure for stupidity but there are ways to stop stupidity from spreading.Please Mr Odom, consult a surgeon in the Raleigh area IMMDEDIATELY to schedule a vascectomy for yourself.

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