Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Born to Be Santa

Sometimes life drops stories into a person's lap. This weekend I was up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin reading one of my favorite newspapers, The Beacon, a free paper published out of Williams Bay, Wisconsin. On the back of the paper was a story about the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, located in Midland, Michigan. It's a non-profit that was established in 1937 and it's the longest continuously running Santa Claus school in the world. This year it graduated its 75th class of Santa Clauses, with potential Santas from all over the United States and the world and former Santas returning for a refresher course (and not everyone gets in. There is an application process).
Image by USAG-Humphrey
(Note: the image above is not from the school. I just needed a photo with permission to use it). 

Being Santa is a more complex and very touchy job than one might expect. In an increasingly complex world, Santas have to be careful what they say and do (and promise). They have to steer clear of lawsuits. They need to know things (like the names of all the reindeer, how to say "Merry Christmas" in sign language, the history of St. Nicholas and...there's so much more). Altogether a fascinating article. I highly recommend reading the whole story of the Santa School, and because there was one image (that I loved) that wasn't with the original article, here's another great article on Santa Claus School, also from the LA Times (the comments about "attorney Santa Claus" made me smile). 

Check out the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School's website (including a wonderful quote from the school's founder: "He errs who think Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart." Charles W. Howard)

Lastly, this article came at an interesting time. This year, a documentary called "Becoming Santa" was made. It's on television this month (unfortunately, only on US cable right now, but I'm sure it will soon make its way to us mortals without cable and those around the world). Here's the trailer.


  1. I read an article in the newspaper that some Santas now will not allow children to sit on their laps for fear of being accused of inappropriate touching. What a world!!

  2. I know. They walk a fine line, don't they?

  3. It's sad. That's what it is. I want people to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, and I want the Lord's Prayer and National Anthem sung again in schools. A girl can dream.


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