Avery Keller - Staff Writer
For years we’ve been hearing that Santa’s coming to the mall! Everyone gets pumped and waits in long lines to sit on an old man's lap and tell him what we want for this Christmas. But where did the idea of this come from? Who was the first Mall Santa?
Mall Santas don’t get it too bad. Did you know that there are multiple santas at the mall you’re shopping at? They switch off when no one notices. They get to use the private bathrooms located around the malls.
Most Santas, if they’re really serious about their job, go to Santa School in various locations. The top rated school is the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan. It’s in the fall, and costs anywhere from $490 to $920 to take the course. You also get paid pretty well. A 18 year old Santa could make $30,000 in a single season if they take it seriously and plan on doing it for the next couple years.
But are all Santas worth seeing? I went to see one at the Traverse Mountain Outlets with some friends, and the guy there did not play the part. Taking a picture with him cost money and I couldn’t take one with him with my personal device. He had a small, grey beard and just didn’t look like the stereotype and didn’t even put on a fake beard. I didn’t get the chance to talk to him and ask questions about his job unfortunately. There weren’t any elves, but there were moms that asked if I wanted a picture so I assume they were the part of elves. When I left, he said, “Bye Bye!” and I just about lost it. He did not sound like the real Santa. But that’s just with this Santa.
The setups for these kind of things are really cool actually. Over Black Friday, I hit a couple different malls and although Santa wasn’t in yet, I got to see the little cottage and inside and the chairs look very comfortable and the trees are well decorated.
But where did the original ‘Mall Santa” come from? The correct answer is Brockton, Massachusetts. This is not a very new concept because James Edgar started dressing up as Santa and got his fellow co-workers to dress up as elves in 1890. Taking pictures with Santa didn’t start up until 1918. But now, you can set up a reservation a day or so early to go to lunch or dinner with Santa and no one else.
So even though these Santas are necessarily the real Santa, it brings the Christmas Spirit everywhere and just gets everyone hyped for this holiday season. I highly recommend going to a Santa workshop or cottage and sitting on his lap to tell him what your wish list is this year.