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The mystery behind becoming Santa.
The mystery behind becoming Santa.

Resource Guide for Educators: How to be Santa

80th Anniversary of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School 1937-2017

Come, and be a part of this historic 80th Anniversary year of the Santa Claus School. The school is located in Midland, Michigan. In 2017, the CWH Santa Claus School will be on October 26th, 27th, & 28th. There will be additional optional activities on October 29th for students who stay after graduation.

The CWH Santa Claus School captures the Spirit of Santa Claus and brings to life the legends and facts of Saint Nicholas. Our expert lecturers from all over the US and Canada teach the heart of Santa. Students attending the school will experience and learn:

  • The History of Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus
  • Proper dress and use of make-up
  • Experience for radio and television interviews
  • Santa Sign Language
  • Live reindeer habits
  • Practice Santa flight lessons
  • Newest toys and gadgets on wishlists
  • A trip to the Largest Christmas Store in the World
  • Friday & Saturday dinners are included
  • And much, much more!

How to be a Mall Santa Claus for Christmas Cash:

Once you’ve got the suit, beard, wig, and so on, you’re ready to be Santa. This can lead to gigs at parties and for other public events. What do you say?

1. It helps if you can develop a good Ho Ho Ho. Forget the nutty Australians. I know it sounds unnatural but you gotta do the H- Ho ho thing. Kids expect to hear Ho Ho Ho, parents expect to hear Ho Ho Ho. So you go: Ho Ho Ho!

2. You have to know the names of the reindeer. Just try to get that popular Rudolph line down to get them in order and that’ll help: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen. Some child will eventually ask their names.

3. You’ll need to think fast on some other questions. I got asked: who is your mother? I fumbled a bit, but then said “Mrs. Claus. Not Mrs. Claus my wife, but Mrs Claus my mother.” It worked,

4. Expect the occasional child who brings cookies or maybe oats for the reindeer. Just set them aside with appropriate comments. For cookies, just say you’ll love to have them later with you milk. For the oats, just say the reindeer will love them, they love oats more than anything.

5. The child may not want to sit on your lap. Go with it. If they show reluctance, I tell them they can sit on my lap or just stand next to me, “whatever you want.” Interestingly, most then jump into my lap.

6. Ask their name first. Use it once or twice if you can.

7. Expect some mumbling and soft voices. It isn’t important you really hear clearly what they want since your response will always be the same. However, keep in mind that there will be kids who will bring you a written list or who will show you a magazine clipping showing what they want. Use that: examine the picture closely, ask if they have anything similar already, that sort of thing.

8. Do not promise them anything specific. Just say “I’ll see what I can do. But whatever you get for Christmas, I’ll make sure it’s something you like.”

9. Be ready to make adjustments to this advice depending on the circumstances, whether you are a guest at a children’s party or in public with a line of kids ready to jump in your lap and provide their list.


The following guidelines are to help you and everyone enjoy SantaCon. They are not rules. SantaCon has no rules except that you must dress like Santa but if you take heed of the friendly advice below it will help keep you safe, warm and on Santa's Nice list.

  1. For the purpose of SantaCon, "Christmas" is the name of a popular secular holiday and has no religious connotations (much like the word "holiday"). This doesn't mean we don't respect religious views. It simply means that taking part in SantaCon doesn't imply you support any particular religion or doctrine. It's just silly fun.
  2. Dress up! A Santa hat alone is not enough. You don't have to dress exactly like Santa but the theme is red. That having been said, unusual interpretations of Santa-ness are often appreciated and Christmas trees, elves, reindeer themes etc. are all good.
  3. Have fun.
  4. Don't get drunk.
  5. Address your fellow santa as "Santa."
  6. Watch out for elves. Elves work hard for Santa all year and especially hard during the holiday season. Santa loves his elves except when they show up to his red-themed event dressed in green. Traditionally, elves are abused at SantaCon.
  7. Not all these guidelines should be taken seriously.
  8. Some of these guidelines should be taken very seriously. If you can't work out which ones they are then you are not intelligent enough to take part in SantaCon.
  9. Don't get drunk in public. Being drunk &/or disorderly in public will tarnish Santa's reputation. One bad santa can ruin things for an entire location because we're all dressed the same, duh. Also, it's an offense and will get you arrested. Remember that there is no "bail fund" for incarcerated santas and if you cross the line you'll be on your own. Don't be that Santa.
  10. If you do get drunk in public, you should get into a fight with other santas, get arrested as quickly as possible (before anyone gets hurt), be carted away in handcuffs and have the whole thing recorded on video for the evening news and Youtube.
  11. Santa does not make children cry. Does this really need to be said? Seriously, if you see kids, don't do anything to freak them out. Give them a nice smile and possibly a gift of some kind...
  12. Optionally, bring gifts: Nice things to give children; nice or naughty things for adults.
  13. Do not throw your gifts at anyone, especially if those gifts are raw Brussels sprouts.
  14. Santa dresses for all occasions. If it's cold outside, wear multiple costume layers. Dress to maximize merriment whether singing carols in the snow, or swinging from a stripper pole in a hot nightclub.
  15. Santa doesn't whine! Some SantaCons are supremely well organized and others fall apart within the first 5 minutes. Some involve a lot of walking. Sometimes Santa is turned away. It's all good fun if you choose to have a positive attitude.
  16. Santa does not mess with security. This includes the police. Security staff are there to ensure everyone's safety - it's an important & necessary job. Most venues welcome Santa but some security staff will see you as a potentially dangerous mob wearing disguises (which, let's face it, is probably true). If you are turned away, don't argue - just move on to somewhere Santa is more welcome and can have fun.
  17. Make sure you always tip the good people who are serving you. We want to be able to do this again next year so be polite and cultivate the goodwill of the local community.
  18. Please pay for your refreshments as you go. Santa gets tired of waiting on other santas to clear their tab before being able to move on. Ideally, this entire adventure should be cash only.
  19. No santa left behind! Don't think only of yourself - Santa cares about his fellow santas. Pick a few people you know and keep an eye out for them especially when it's time to move to another venue. If you don't see them, speak up so other santas know to wait a moment. Every santa should have at least 2-3 other santas they look out for and 2-3 that look out for them in turn.
  20. Stay with the group. It's not just a case of "the more, the merrier" - Santa is safer with large numbers of fellow santas and what one santa can't achieve (or get away with) is a possibility for a posse.
  21. Santa doesn't drink & drive. If you're going to drink you must make sure that you can get safely home without driving yourself. Check public transport, carpool with a designated sober driver, make arrangements to sleep over at someone's place etc. Organizers sometimes try to coordinate transportation for Santa - check the event details to find out if this is being done in your area.
  22. Santa doesn't talk to the press. Even "ho, ho, ho" is controversial these days. Seriously, no-one speaks for Santa - not you, not me, not even Santa. You can express your opinion but, since you're dressed like Santa, the media might treat it as Santa's opinion.
  23. Read these guidelines one more time.
  24. If you have reached this rule, it means you didn't get locked into a loop reading the guidelines over and over again as per the previous rule. You are therefore probably intelligent enough to take part in SantaCon!
  25. Have a very merry Christmas!

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