How do Santas get a first-rate education in Christmas etiquette. Naturally, they go to a Kris Kringle school.
The Charles W. Howard School, led by Tom Valent and his wife, Holly, in Michigan welcomes more than 100 Santas each year for a three-day seminar on how to look and act the part. The cost? New students pay $425 and returning pupils are charged $395.
Here are eight things Santas learn in school:
1) Makeup: Santas are instructed to put blush high on their cheekbones and noses and learn how to color their eyebrows. The makeup can't be red or else Santa may be mistaken for a clown "We stress that the Santa should always look like a healthy, outdoorsman who just came in from the cold," Holly Valent said.
2) Hair: Santas need to keep a neat appearance. In order to keep the snowy white color shiny, a hairdresser goes over shampoos and other products to use. The Santas are also taught how to curl their beards so kids can give them a proper tug.
3) Hygiene: In order to leave kids with good memories about Santa Claus, the school goes over the importance of fresh breath and clean nails.
4)Wardrobe: Santa suits should also look authentic and be ironed properly. Belt buckles should be centered and boots should be shiny, Holly Valent said.
5)Sign language: The school teaches basic Christmas sign language so Santas can communicate with deaf children and adults. Among the about 20 phrases taught at the school, some of the commonly used are, "Santa loves you," "What do you want for Christmas?" and "Will you leave me cookies and milk?"
6)Reindeer care: The Valents take students to their home to show them how their two reindeer, Comet and Blitzen, live, eat, act and play games. "It's important for a well-rounded Santa to know about reindeer and to see them in person," Holly Valent said.
7) Tax returns: Certain items such as Santa suits are tax-deductible so the school offers a session with an accountant to explain to Santas how to fill out their tax forms.
8) Résumé tips: Santas learn marketing tools and how to construct a sound résumé in order to stay competitive in the job market and get hired at well-known department stores.