Ho, ho, ho! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa School!

Their eyes – how they twinkled! Their dimples, how merry! Their cheeks were like roses, and noses like cherries. Yes, you know who I mean – Santa Claus, only in this instance, it’s Santa Clauses. I’m taking a break from Halloween today to tell you about a little trip I took last week, and it was not to the North Pole.

Santa lore and training

The Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan.

Last week, I had a meeting in Midland, MI, home of Dow Chemical, the maker of STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam. While I’ve traveled to this town for many years, I had no idea that it’s the home of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. Another surprise – I had the privilege of being in town when the 2012 Santa School was in session! I stayed in the very same hotel where dozens of experienced and aspiring Santas had booked rooms.

Santa Claus school

Several Santas returning from the Santa Claus School (can you see the double-decker bus outside?)

What a treat! Imagine a hotel breakfast room, packed with Santas. Or a line of Santas climbing aboard a shiny red, double-decker bus, which served as their shuttle to and from the hotel to the school.  And just in case Santa’s belly isn’t jelly, we even overheard a discussion about a padded suit with the ability to keep you cool. Wow, who knew?

the oldest Santa school in the world

The Santa Claus School is the oldest, continuously operating Santa School in the world.

The Santa Claus School was established in 1937 and it’s the longest, continuously running Santa School in the world. Thomas Valent, dean of the school, and his wife Holly, have made the magic happen since 1986. In fact, Tom and Holly (her real name) have traveled the world teaching Santa skills. “We come together to share our common love of Christmas and the magical spirit of Santa Claus,” say Tom and Holly.

During the three days of Santa School, students learn the about the history of Santa Claus and life in the North Pole. They learn about making cheeks rosy with makeup and how to style hair and beards. The curriculum includes a little child psychology, and how to handle tough questions (and tough parents). The Santas brush up on their Christmas carols, learn how to ride in a parade, and hear about the hot toys for the holiday season.

what do Santas do in their off-hours?

Two Santas take a break between classes and other Santa Claus School activities.

While I had to spend my days in meetings, and just caught a glimpse of these jolly old elves at the beginning and end of each day, it was a treat. These Santas are dedicated to their craft, and work hard to make the magic happen.

the history of Santa

A classroom of Santas at the Santa Claus School in 1948. (Photo credit: The Santa Claus School)

If you’re now in the mood for a little more Santa and Christmas crafting, check out the collection of Santa crafts from last year on Crafts ‘n Coffee. Thank you for letting me share my Santa tale today. Tomorrow, I’ll be back in Halloween mode, sharing super-fast Halloween crafts all week long.

I think unexpected moments like this can make the best travel memories. Have you had a similar experience in your travels? Have you encountered the undiscovered or unexpected, making for an adventure that was unplanned and memorable?

Happy crafting!


P.S. I’m going to play Santa on Halloween and give away a copy of Stephen Brown’s new Halloween book, Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween: A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting!  Don’t miss your chance to win it!

Halloween craft book giveaway

I’m giving away this book on Halloween!

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13 Responses to Ho, ho, ho! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa School!

  1. Going to Santa school training for Mrs. Claus has been on my bucket list for several years. This is a awesome school with a great history of tradition. 🙂

  2. crochetinspired says:

    Awe, I loved your post about the santas! I bet that was fun!

    TracyAnn from http://www.crochethappy.com

  3. JuneA** says:

    I had no idea that there was such a thing! I guess I hadn’t thought it through. Talk about seredipity-school being in session during your trip! Thanks for sharing …and ho ho ho!

  4. Lisa M says:

    Gee, what fun to see a Santa schoo. Since it is snowing here. 🙂

    • Sharon says:

      And vice versa – it seemed funny to see so many Santas without a flake on the ground and the leaves still on the trees! I hope you get a break before the real thing hits. Sharon

  5. dgehring71 says:

    I loved this post! It made me smile and brought some light to a gray, rainy day here in Chicago.

    • Sharon says:

      So glad you stopped in for a bit of cheer, Dawn. It was such a happy surprise to learn about the school, and it made me smile, too. (and it still does, even while it’s pouring here today.) Merry Christmas! Sharon

  6. Cindy Eikenberg says:

    I loved this post so much and the school is entirely too cute for words! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    • Sharon says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Cindy. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I was in awe of these Santas — they’re such a sincere and hardworking crew, whose only goal is to make Christmas magical. They really embody the spirit of Christmas. Sharon

  7. Wilma says:

    Wow… Santa is real afterall !

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