(PCM) First off, we had no idea that Santa School even existed however with further research into what the steps are for becoming a shopping mall Santa, we learned that these schools do exist and what they are teaching may be a bit of a surprise, but not necessarily a bad thing.
Santas who are completing their training are actually taught to lower children’s expectations especially when asked for certain high-end toys and gifts. The Santa’s are taught to be sure that they never promise anything and sometimes try to create stories about adventures in the North Pole to explain to children why their requested gift may not end up underneath the tree. They will also sometimes avoid the story and say something like ‘A lot of children are asking for “insert item here”, what else would you like for Christmas?’.
The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School receives over 300 applications for would-be Santa’s and accepts approximately 120 each year. If you are getting a hilarious visual of about a bunch of Santa’s squished behind old-fashioned school desks, don’t worry, so are we! The Santa’s undergo about 40 hours of vigorous training over the course of three days and the school makes sure that every Santa-in-training knows about the historical significance of the character and impact they will have on a child’s life. They must always be on best behavior and be prepared to answer some really tough questions.
Another part of the Santa school training involves visiting a local toy store and being sure that you are up-to-date with all the most-wanted toys of the season, learning to sing at least one or two popular Christmas carols such as “Jingle Bells” or “Rudolf The Red-Nose Reindeer” and how to say several key phrases in sign language such as “Santa Loves You” and “Will you leave me milk and cookies” to be able to communicate with deaf children and adults.
At another school, instructors take the Santa’s to their home to teach them about reindeer care and behavior, so that they are able to answer any questions children may have and there is also course material to teach the Santa’s about tax returns, as well as, resume tips to be hired about some of the nations biggest department stores.
One thing that it seems that Santa school can not prepare many mall Santa’s for is some of the more heart-wrenching requests that come from children during the holiday season. Recently, Reddit posed the question ‘What is the funniest, most heart-wrenching, or shocking thing a kid has asked for at Christmas?’ and many mall Santas responded with tear-jerking requests such as one little boy only wanting a pair of shoes that fit, two little girls asking for their baby sister to be cured of cancer, and one little boy’s request that Santa use his magic to get his Daddy released from jail. That is only a few of the many responses and we seriously give these mall Santas a lot of credit for being able to hold it together, remain jolly, and keep these children’s wonderment in Christmas still alive.