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This Santa Claus School from 1961 Reveals Some of the Secrets of Being a Good Santa

Christmas is so close I can almost smell the egg nog. So let's all hop on our sleigh, travel back in time to 1961 and let's give the world's oldest school for would-be Santas a visit...

Established in 1937, the Charles Howard’s Santa Claus School actually still exists today in Michigan, proudly claiming the title of the world’s oldest Santa School.
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Students pictured here in 1961 have signed up for a 5-day, $75 course in the hopes of receiving a Santa certificate that will help them get jobs at local department stores during the Yuletide season.
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Here, Santa Clauses are put through test during a practice session with child volunteers.
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Demonstration on how to properly wear the Santa suit.
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Enrollees in Santa Claus School learning how to render a jolly belly laugh.
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Would-be Santa Clauses learning how to do a spritely soft-shoe dance.
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Learning how to wear wigs and whiskers.
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Founder Charles Howard show students how much of Santa’s face should show between wig and beard.
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This certifies that …. has honorably and diligently completed the course in the study and art of Santa Claus, and is now ready to carry on as a Helper of Santa Claus.

As holder of this diploma, I fully realize the responsibility and privilege that is mine in spreading joy and happiness to the children of this world through their beloved friend and servant, Santa Claus.

I hereby sincerely and solemnly promise to give my best, my all to carry out the principles Santa Claus stands for.

H/T LIFE Archives | Photos: LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt
 

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