The Big Picture

Becoming Santa

At the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich., some two hundred Santas and Mrs. Clauses came from across the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway to learn wood toy-making, brush up on storytelling skills, drive sleighs, feed reindeer and, most importantly, spread the Christmas spirit. Cookies are readily available at all times during the three-day training course on becoming Santa.--By Reuters
1
Santas disembark from a wagon following a tour around the Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm in Clare, Mich. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
2
Santas learn breathing techniques as they attend class at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
3
Santa Jim Hastings (right) from Durham, N.C. is helped into his suit by a fellow Santa prior to a visit from a group of children at the Santa House. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
4
Mrs. Claus takes a photo of her husband Santa Bill Armstrong (right), with Santa Fred Osther as they head for class. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
5
Santa Leon McBryde performs at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich., on Oct. 29. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
6
Santa Leon McBryde (left) of Buchanan, Va. and Santa Stephen Gillham of Chapel Hill, N.C. pose at the end of classes from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
7
Rudolph walks out of Pizza Sam's with fellow Santas on Main Street during a lunch break from class. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
8
Santa Randy Schneider of Muskegon, Mich. learns wood toy making in the Gerace shop in Midland. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
9
Santa Sam Hopeck of Commerce Township, Michigan rides the Polar Express train during a field trip from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
10
Santas and Mrs. Clauses eat lunch at Pizza Sam's on Main Street during a break from class at Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
11
Santa Glenn Johnson of Woodstock, Ga. learns new dance moves during the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
12
Santa Jack Bradley of Iron Ridge, Wis. is fitted for a suit following classes at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
13
Thomas Valent, dean of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School sits in the Santa House in Midland, Mich. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
14
Santas and Mrs. Claus greet a child at the Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm in Clare, Mich. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
15
Santa Paul Fanning of Tyler, Texas rides past Christmas decorations during a break in schedule at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
16
Santa Lamar May of Dallas, Ga. is shown how to groom his beard and moustache during class. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
17
Santa listens to a reindeer at the Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm in Clare, Mich. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
18
Santa Fred Osther from Oslo, Norway waits for the afternoon session of classes at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
19
Santa Jerry Julian of Colorado Springs, Colo. hides in the grass following a ride on the Polar Express during a field trip from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
20
Santa Fred Osther from Oslo, Norway shops at a Toys R Us during a field trip from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
21
Santa Jerry Julian of Colorado Springs, Colo. shows some yoga moves outside the Santa House. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
22
Five-year-old Claire tugs the beard of Santa Barry Westmoreland of Germanton, N.C. as the Santas visit a Toys R Us store, during a field trip from the school. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
23
Santas board a bus for a field trip from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
24
Santa Holmes Kimble from Farmer City, Ill. learns to apply Santa make-up during classes at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
25
Santas laugh as they learn about Santa Spirit during class. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
26
Santas wave as they leave for lunch between classes at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
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