St Nicholas Institute, Santa School Michigan, Santa Claus Training, Santa Claus School

"Where the North American St. Nicholas Revolution Began"







Purpose of SNI Awards Gala & Listing of Award Categories

Purpose: To honor those from diverse walks of Life, who embody the Christmas Spirit 365 days a year.

Award Categories:

Lifetime Achievement Award

Recognizes outstanding individuals whose personal life has dramatically personified the Christmas Spirit over the span of many decades.

Previous Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients Include

Wally & Irene Bronner, co-founders, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth, MI, diverse philanthropic contributions.

Art Van Elslander founder & Chairman, Art Van Furniture; Detroit) Chief benefactor on behalf of Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade, plus enumerable philanthropic contributions.

Thomas Monaghan founder / former owner, Domino’s Pizza) Enumerable philanthropic contributions.

Leonardo Defilippis, actor, director founder & president, Saint Luke Productions for his dedicated work in promoting inspirational, both film and LIVE theatrical performances that have inspired millions during the span of 35+ years.

Mike & Marian Ilitch, co-founders, Little Caesar’s Pizza; owners, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. Extraordinary commitment to a wide range of philanthropic contributions.

Dr. Ben & Candy Carson, Co-founders, Carson Scholars Fund. (Dr. Carson- presently serves as U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, and is the retired Chief Pediatric Neurosurgeon of Johns Hopkins University; Ms. Carson - carried a triple-major in music, medicine and psychology from Yale University and earned an MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School)

Spirit of Christmases

Past, Present and Future Award

Conferred upon noteworthy individual(s), living or deceased, who’ve made an indelible to the tradition of Christmas on a worldwide scale.

Spirit of Christmases Past, Present & Future Award Winners:

Virginia Patton Moss (2013), actress, “It’s a Wonderful Life (for her portrayal of Ruth Dakin Bailey, the on-screen sister-in-law to James Stewart in the 1946 Frank Capra Christmas classic film);

Maureen O’Hara (2014), actress and Lifetime Oscar Award recipient, “Miracle on 34th Street” (for her portrayal of Doris Walker, the on-screen mother of Suzie Walker, in the popular 1947 motion picture)

Charles M. Schulz (2015), “Peanuts” cartoonist, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (premiered December 9, 1965 on the CBS Television Network). Posthumous honor accepted by Jean Schulz (wife of Charles M. Schulz) Karen Johnson, Director, Charles M. Schulz Museum.

Karolyn Grimes (2016), former child actress, “It’s a Wonderful Life” (for 1946 portrayal as “Zuzu”Bailey, on-screen daughter of James Stewart), “The Bishop’s Wife” (for her 1947 role as “Debby Brougham,” the on-screen daughter of Loretta Young and David Niven. Cary Grant, yet another film legend Karolyn performed with, played the angelic visitor, Dudley.

Richard P. Kughn, “Mr. Lionel” (2017), is a highly respected Detroit area real estate developer and astute businessman. Fortunately, his lifelong love for Lionel Trains saved the struggling business from the edge of extinction in 1986. Ignoring the advice of many naysayers, Kughn bought the company and promptly formed Lionel Trains, Inc. (LTI) .In time, Dick successfully restored the company’s reputation for high quality products, innovation and cutting edge technology. We thank Richard Kughn for a legacy that endures to this day. Let’s face it, a Lionel Train chugging around a Christmas tree is as iconic as “jolly old St. Nicholas” himself!

Spirit of St. Nicholas Award

Annually honors four outstanding individuals who, to an extraordinary degree, embody the Spirit of Christmas 365 days a year. Individual recipients, chosen from a wide range of backgrounds, are recognized for strongly exemplifying one of the following four St. Nicholas Institute Core Values:

Nicholas as Our Model

Openness to the Christmas Spirit

Exercising Compassion

Love for Children

Living the above Core Values literally says: Christmas!”

Previous Spirit of St. Nicholas Award Winners Include:

Paul W. Smith (Detroit’s legendary radio personality and National Radio Hall of Fame inductee), annual Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) benefit, Paul W. Smith Golf Classic

Ted Lindsay (Detroit Red Wing and NHL Hall of Fame inductee), Autism Research advocacy founder, Ted Lindsay Foundation;

Dr. William Bennett (former U.S. Secretary of Education) author, “TheTrue Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas”

Dick Purtan (Detroit’s legendary radio personality and National Radio Hall of Fame inductee) “The Salvation Army Bed & Bread Club Radiothon”

Tony Semple (former Detroit Lion), “ Foundation For Hope Outdoor Adventures;”

Jim & Lisa Price (1968 World Champion Detroit Tiger catcher and Tiger Baseball broadcaster / Award Winning Interior Designer) co-founders  JACK’S PLACE for Autism Foundation, children’s care advocates;

Willie Horton (1968 World Champion Detroit Tiger) tireless advocate of enumerable youth advocacy efforts, including his founding the annual Willie Horton “Baseball of Kids Benefit Weekend;

Devin Scillian (WDIV Detroit, News Anchor), author of his imaginative children’s book, “Memoirs of An Elf”. (NOTE: A complete listing of all honorees, recorded according to year, may be found on the menu at left.)

Tickets for the Gala are no longer available online.

2017 SNI Awards GalaWednesday, October 4, 2017
6:00 p.m.
(Doors Open) - 10:00 p.m. Sacred Heart Banquet & Conference Center
29125 Six Mile Road (east of Middlebelt Road) Livonia Michigan 48152

IMPORTANT NOTE: 20% of proceeds realized by the St. Nicholas Institute from its non-profit Awards Gala event will help fund the 1st Annual “SNI Christmas Express.” This pre-Christmas celebration is designed to share the joy, peace and love of the Yuletide Season with disadvantaged children and their families who are facing personal and/or financial difficulties. All referrals are made by area charitable agencies.








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