Kids and adults around the world know there's only one true Santa. He visits Michigan and the rest of the world in record time Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. (I assume that includes a stop at Bronner's, too?) That said, Santa needs helpers all around the world and he has them trained right here in Mid-Michigan.

Is there a special school for being Santa?

  • Midland, Michigan is home to the one and only (legendary) Santa Claus School: Charles W Howard Santa Claus School. It's not like public universities or private schools -- completely non-profit.

How long has the Santa Claus School existed?

  • The school was started by Charles W Howard in 1937. According to the official website, Charles W. Howard was a farmer in Albion, New York. He was motivated to launch the school after seeing so many Santas in 'frayed suits and cheap beards, and a shockingly inadequate knowledge of reindeer.'
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Was the Santa Claus School always in Midland, MI?

  • C.W. Howard started the school an hour outside of Albion, New York in Salamanca, NY in 1937. Even the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade featured Charles W Howard as Santa Claus from 1948 to 1965. It wasn't until the 1960s when the school was taken over by Nate Doan that he moved it to Bay City, Michigan. By 1975, its current steward, Tom Valent was a student who later took over and moved to the current Midland, MI location where he operates the non-profit with his wife, Holly Valent.

How many people become a trained Santa at the Charles W Howard Santa Claus School each year?

  • Each year, they welcome around 300 students ready to learn all about being the best Santa they can be. Tom & Holly Valent have a World Santa School which has taught in countries all around the world.

How much does it cost to become a Santa at the CW Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, MI?

  • It's not cheap. For a two-day class, new students will pay $600 while Alumni students will pay $570. What does that get you? 2 full meals (one at Bavarian Inn Frankenmuth, MI and a graduation banquet) plus toy making, marketing advice, acounting & business tips, Health & Exercise (who knew?) and all about Mrs. Claus. There's plenty more, you can see the full list, here.

What does the world's oldest Santa Claus School look like in Midland, MI?

Santa's helpers are real and very highly trained. So, for any child questioning how Santa could be at stores, events and parades all around Michigan, the United States and the world -- his team of capable helpers know how to spread the joy of the holiday season on the big guy's behalf.

Take a Look Inside Santa's North Pole Home Complete with Tiny Elf Homes

Looking for the perfect owner, this little gem on Zillow has a beautiful home along with several "smaller" homes on the property. Located in the North Pole, this is the perfect place for anyone with a love of toymaking, Complete with a garage with space for an all-weather sleigh and stables that board eight live-in reindeer, plus a bonus stall for red-nosed company. Serious inquires only.

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If you want to get into the holiday spirit, these Christmas light displays across Michigan are sure to put a twinkle in your eye. There are plenty here in Mid-Michigan and even more across the state. Find out where and when these light displays are happening.

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