PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — Christmas is still many months away, but Santa’s work never stops. Nearly two dozen Santa Clauses gathered in Pickerington Saturday to get their Bachelor of Santa Clausology degree, which will help them perfect their craft.
It’s 16 hours of training over the course of the weekend. Santas learn about the history of Santa Claus, St. Nick’s wardrobe, how to pose for pictures, and how to interact with kids in character.
“Number one rule is we are there for the children. We tell Santas this all the time,” said Timothy Connaghan, a School4Santas instructor and national Santa Claus. “When they’re coming to visit you make sure you’re focused on them, you’re listening to them.”
Although their Santa bachelor’s degree is not accredited by a university, it shows the time and energy these Santas put into their craft.
“This is just a way for them to let other people know that they have invested in what they’re doing. That they really want to make that visit with the family. They study hard, they work hard,” Connaghan said.
Local Santa Claus Ben Belhorn has been a Santa for the past two years, and he is getting some valuable lessons from the workshop. “Learning how to be a better Santa makes you a better person,” Belhorn said. “We learn so much from the school, but you learn so much more from the 20 other people that are here and their stories.”
Belhorn says almost anyone can be Santa and bring joy to children, as long as you have some key characteristics: “To be honest, to be true, and to have love in your heart.”
And though there were around two dozen Santas at the workshop, most of them work for the real Santa and help out with his workload. But you never really know who is watching, so make sure you are nice all year round.
“Haven’t you figured it out?” Connaghan said. “The real Santa is here today. You just have to figure out which one.”