Harvard Spreads Christmas: Santa Claus is Coming to Class!By Audri Taylors, UniversityHerald Reporter
Do you know that becoming a Santa Claus requires more than just wearing a red costume and a white, long beard? This is the reason why there are hundreds of aspiring Santa Claus pay for a three day training course at America's Harvard of all Santa Schools.
Around two hundred Santas and Mrs. Clauses came across from US, Canada, Denmark and Norway to Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan, to learn the skills of becoming a Santa Claus.
The training ran from November 18 to November 20 and taught about the history of Saint Nicholas, the skills of wood toy-making, storytelling skills, feeding reindeer and spreading the Christmas spirit.
The school was established in 1937 and was considered as the "Harvard of all the Santa Schools", according to Randy Schneider who considered himself as a professional Santa since 1999. This was made as a non-profit organization by directors Tom and Holly Valent.
"It's a privilege to be Santa," Tom said, sitting in a tall wooden chair with a "SANTA" engraving and green velvet upholstery.
"Every child that comes and sits on Santa's knee remembers that forever so when you're putting an everlasting memory into a child's mind, you want to make sure it's a good one."
And because there are just so many people who expressed their desire to be professional Santas, Tom and Holly had to refuse a hundred of them.
"What a great place to find a husband!" one Mrs. Claus joked.
One of the Mrs. Claus Kathy Armstrong actually found his Santa when she was in college, and they are now married for 44 years. They both decided to attend the Santa School when they retired as physical therapists.
"We decided it was something we both wanted to do," said Kathy.
"We even learned sign language," Bill, a loyal member of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, said. "It's important to be able to spread Christmas cheer to all children," he added.