Santa School: It’s hard work to be Father or mother Christmas Says Holly Valent

Being Santa is a serious business. It requires hard work. And conscientious study.

“It’s a cardinal sin to forget the words to Jingle Bells,” says Holly Valent. “And the names of your reindeers — Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.”

With husband Tom, Holly Valent is the co-dean of the Charles W. Howard Santa School in Midland, Mich. Founded in 1937, it is the oldest continuously run Santa school in the world.

The school is named after an actor and teacher who worked as a Santa for Macy’s in New York. Howard died in 1966, but the Valents uphold his legacy, preserving the tradition of Father Christmas and the Santa ethic.

Growing up in Salamanca, N.Y., Tom and Holly knew each other as children but never talked until college. Tom decided he wanted to be a Santa when they were expecting their first child.

He remembers loving the Santa that visited his farm in New York State. He enrolled at the Charles W. Howard School, becoming dean in 1987. Holly brought their five children to the classes. They never knew.

“My job was to keep the kids away from the windows when he drove away Continue reading “Santa School: It’s hard work to be Father or mother Christmas Says Holly Valent”