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How to Become Santa Claus

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It takes more than a red suit and a good laugh to embody the true Santa Claus. Just ask her four men who have spread holiday cheer for decades.

“People think it’s easy, but it’s hard work,” he said. Larry Jefferson57, Santa at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, bleaches his beard and eyebrows year-round in dedication to his gigs.

There are solid requirements (Make fun memories!) and tricks (Scary kids? Stand behind them to take a picture). But above all, Santa needs to promote a spirit of love and giving, and help children maintain their belief in the symbols of Christmas, says the 72-year-old, who has played Santa since the 1970s. says Tom Valent. he also Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School Since then, he has been training with St. Nix in Midland, Michigan. 1937.

Here are some tips for seasoned Santas to get the job done right.

They say clothes make a man, and that’s especially true when it comes to Santa.

“You have to find which portrayal of Santa brings out the best in you,” he said. Alan SiuAt 49, he also works at the Mall of America and wears a bright red suit that reminds him of his childhood Santa.

Richard Reyes71 wears a red and black zoot suit every December since he was seen. 1981 movie Named after the garment.his Pancho Claus The persona is called Tex-Mex Santa. “I wanted to attract kids, and that seemed to be the fad at the time,” he said of his decision to put his own spin on Chris Kringle. suitable for.”

Kids have tricky questions and Santa has to get ready. At the Charles W. Howard School, Mr. Valente has students build toys and stand them on a large pedestal. Sled and meet reindeer As part of your training, you can draw from first-hand experience when answering children’s questions. He said it would be helpful to have an answer for the total number of elves you employ (he uses 886) and their names (Gino, Giuseppe, Spike).

“You are making memories of a lifetime,” he said. “You have to be in your game.”

People bring pain to Santa. “Show them empathy,” Siu said. “Show them that they are listening.”

Mr. Valent keeps a notebook to write down issues beyond Santa’s control, such as his parents’ divorce and family illnesses. The important thing is that the child feels that he or she is being heard. Their emotions and problems are just as noteworthy as those of adults.

What if that promised gift doesn’t reach the child who has a long memory and visits every year? said.

It’s better to say, “I’ll see what I can do.”

A boy once told Mr. Jefferson that his family would miss Christmas because his mother was unemployed. Mr. Jefferson, who was working for the Texas Labor Commission at the time, then pulled her aside, helped her find a job, and directed her to a place that offered free toys for her. “She started crying,” he said. “Then I start crying.”

working santa still strikingly white, But that is changing – much to the children’s delight. One boy who visited Mr. Siu and asked for Lego enthusiastically pointed out that Chinese-American Santa Alan’s eyes were shaped like him.

“Did someone tell you that your eyes are beautiful?” Mr. Siu asked him. “Well, be proud of your eyes.”

Still, some people have a limited idea of ​​what Santa looks like.In 2016, Mr. Jefferson, who is black, applied for a job at a large store. The phone interview went smoothly, but when the interviewer asked him about his racial background, he replied that he had no interest in hiring Black Santa at this time.

“It broke my heart a little bit,” Mr. Jefferson recalled.However, he kept his resolve steadfast, and later that year the Mall of America made him their original black santa“It’s not about race,” he said. “Santa Claus can be anyone with a good heart.”

Kitty Bennett Contributed to research.

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