Are we the only ones who didn't know about this?!
The thrill of seeing Santa in shopping malls and department stores is one of those things that brightens anyone’s day, children and adults alike. But how do these helpers of Saint Nick embody the jolliness and holiday cheer we all expect Santa to have? The answer is Santa University, and it's located in Arvada, Colorado.
A Colorado-based company, The Noerr Programs—now part of the Cherry Hill Programs partnership—works all year to make Christmas magical. They provide Santas to malls and shopping centers across the country, and part of that process is training these Santas in all things Claus-related. The company even holds classes every year to train its Santas to be the best.
The week-long classes held at the company headquarters are not your average listen-to-a-speaker-and-take-notes kind of class. This is a holly, jolly, laughing good time, but it's no joke. There's a lot more that goes into being Santa than the red suit and fluffy white beard. (Note: the beards in this bunch are all-natural; no cotton or fake white fuzz here.)
These Santas come from across the country to attend classes in all sorts of Santa skills; beard maintenance and bleaching, basic sign language and Spanish, media training, how to answer those requests for real cars or exotic pets, and how to support kids when they are sitting with Santa.
Courtesy of American Events & Promotions (website)
The Santas also work to support charity organizations and put together with care packages for soldiers and kids in need, as well as organize toy drives. Barbeques and caroling practice accompany classes and Santas build a group connection, sharing secrets and tips of the trade. The spirit of Santa is not the suit, the beard, or the jolly good laugh. For these Santas, this is a yearly tradition, and often a calling—a way to keep the magic alive year after year.
Check out this video from a few years ago, showing what Santa University is all about:
Some Santas will travel to Colorado for training and then spend the "Santa Season" far from home in a mall. These Santas will work long hours for the holiday season, often with little sleep, keeping the smile and jolly attitude going for all the kids they will see. Many come back year after year because being Santa has become a part of who they are.
Did you know there was such a thing as Santa University? We aren’t surprised to know it's here in Colorado—it makes perfect sense to us! Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.