By Jordan Smith
For Sioux Falls Santa, it’s all about keeping the Christmas spirit alive and spreading joy to others, no matter the time of year. He loves the quote, “When you stop believing in Santa, you get underwear.”
How did you get into the gift giving industry?
Sioux Falls Santa: I worked with the Festival of Trees in Sioux Falls for 23 years, helping with decorating and donating and sometimes I had to fill in for Santa. I had a beard, so I took the suit and gave it a try and it was great. Then I decided if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this right.
In 2010, I attended the International University of Santa Claus in Branson, Mo. I studied under Tim Connaghan, who is known as Hollywood Santa, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Santa Clausology. In 2012 I received my Master’s in Santa Clausology. Last year, a group of 28 Santas were taking a cruise to North Pole, Alaska. At the last minute, I found out that Tim Connaghan needed a cabinmate, so I decided to go. I am now working on a presentation of Santa Claus the storyteller, and have worked hard to get a hat in red that goes along with each job in the story, including a red top hat from China. After giving this presentation successfully, I will receive my PhD in Santa Clausology.
What makes your suit special?
SFS: I call it my 50-pound business suit. It is a custom suit, and with all four pieces on, it weighs at least 50 pounds. I have a walking stick from Texas, sleigh bells from Wisconsin, and a limited edition belt. Every day, I try to incorporate red into my outfit somehow.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
SFS: The thing I remember most is Christmas Eve church services. I make sure that is a part of my Christmas tradition, and incorporate Santa’s Prayer.
What are you involved in during the Christmas season?
SFS: I am the Santa in the Parade of Lights this year. I also attend elementary schools and do a storytelling of “How Santa Got His Job.” I will pay visits to company parties, visit hospitals, and do various appearances in the Sioux Falls area. I hope to travel more and I will be visiting Iowa and Minnesota, as well.
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