In this classroom, laughing is encouraged. In fact, learning a hearty ho-ho-ho chuckle is required.
Best Santas, a program in Denver, teaches jolly men and women to become the best Mr. and Mrs. Clauses possible -- without having to travel to the North Pole. This cool school trains participants to act, move, speak and make merry just like St. Nick himself -- and then sends the gleeful graduates to perform at various gigs.
“We teach our Santas that being Santa is so much more than putting on a red suit and making sure your beard is white,” Jim Coleman, owner of Best Santas AKA “Santa Jim,” told The Huffington Post. “Their focus must be on serving children and sharing the magic of Christmas.
Coleman started the school after receiving professional Santa training at the Victor Nevada Santa School in Calgary, Canada. Wanting to spread the cheer, he founded Best Santas and shared his unique insight and talents with a fresh new team of hopeful Santas.
“We wanted to teach Santas how to do things differently than they're usually done,” Coleman said. “In so many cases you'll find Santas who sit on their chair like a bump on a log, half asleep. That's no fun and most certainly not magical! We knew there had to be a better way.”
After program participants complete a full background check, the schooling begins. The Denver Claus curriculum includes reindeer name memorization, Christmas carols and jingles, cultivating a perfect, hearty chuckle and learning cookie recipes.
"Santa must learn how to walk, gesture, control his body language, project his voice, and read the crowd,” Coleman said. “He engages the crowd immediately with his bigger-than-life presence and booming ho-ho-ho!”
Once the characterization is complete, and graduates receive their Bachelor of Santa diploma, the Santas are sent out on various special events, including holiday parties, homes and corporate events, booking at a rate of $195 per hour. Each Santa is fully equipped with a carved wooden cane, the Night Before Christmas book, and “a magical skeleton key that allows access on Christmas Eve to homes that don’t have a chimney,” Coleman explained. Some Santas are even coupled with elves that help with face painting and balloon art.
“There is just something so completely magical about Santa Claus,” Coleman said. “And it's not just for the children. [Adults] light up at the site of Santa just as much as the children do. I think it makes them reflect to those warm memories of their childhood.”
Coleman hopes to grow his Santa squad beyond Colorado, but for now, this holiday hoopla exists only in Denver. And at the North Pole, too, of course.
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