Santa School

In Disney World , the characters are trained to be Cinderella, Beauty or Goofy.  They must attend school to become the living versions of the Disney characters we all know and love.

How about Santa?  He needs training, too!

The oldest Santa school is in, appropriately,  cold Midland, Michigan.  The Charles W. Howard Santa School was established in 1937.  Howard was a Macy’s Santa and served as a consultant on the 1947 hit Miracle on 34th Street.

Thomas Valent, current dean of the school, first studied under Charles Howard.  The 3-day course teaches beard and hair care, the importance of changing gloves frequently, St. Nicholas history, and how to work with children with special needs.  This is just a smidgen of the instruction that centers around the privilege of being a Santa.  The three-day class, this year on October 18, 19, and 20 costs $415 for new students.  Registration is now open.

In a parody of the mall Santa and Santa school, Homer Simpson becomes a mall Santa and must attend Santa school in “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” or the The Simpsons Christmas Special was the first full-length episode of The Simpsons.  It originally aired on December 17, 1989.  I’m putting viewing this episode on my Christmas-must-do list.  I suspect all I need to do is check with my sons, or Jeremy, who can most probably quote segments already!

Santa Claus, CEO!

I’ve been getting a good bit of feedback after my last post on the leadership secrets of Santa Claus.  Seems like people like what Santa does as a businessman, so I did a little more research into the corporate lessons that Santa has to offer.  There are more than you might expect.  There are many articles and posts all detailing lessons Santa’s followers have to offer.  There are lessons about management, ideas about motivation, thoughts on marketing, and more.  All credited to the example set by Big Red.

There’s another book and workshop series dedicated to Santa.  Santa, CEO by David Soulby combines the business of Santa and Christmas in a satirical tale of corporate credit and profit at all cost decisions.  There are companion workbooks and web-based helps to guide the reader to learning Santa’s way.  Check out the site and find out more- Santa, CEO.

If you find yourself still doubting the draw of St. Nick as a business icon, even Forbes magazine credits his skills.  They rank some of the titans of industry as Santa disciples.  Industry giants like Steve Jobs and Dave Thomas are compared to the success of Jolly Old Nick.  Read all the details in the article Lead Like the Best CEO Ever: Santa Claus.  

Santa- Ultimate Leader?

I wanted to get back to our more random bag of blog posts this week after about a month of themed posts.  I had some good ideas in my files and even got a great new idea from one of our readers, Liam.  All of these will be used but didn’t seem what I wanted for today.  So I asked for some help from our intern, Hildy.  Her response was “All you’ve been talking about is leadership lately, can’t you find something with that?”. Hildy hit it right on again!  She is the true secret to the Yule Log success.  In the next 10 days I will be facilitating a leadership training day and attending a 3-day leadership conference.  So what leadership lessons can be learned from Christmas?  Plenty!

Digging through my shelf of books I remembered I had The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus.  This little gem is published by the Walk the Talk Company, focused on leadership and values-based business practices.  The sub-title reads “How to get big things done in YOUR ‘workshop’… all year long”.  Intriguing right?  I mean Santa runs a world-wide business with billions of customers all wanting basically the same things, on the same delivery schedule, and with little support.  Santa is the ultimate successful CEO, eat your heart our Lee Iacocca.  Santa has devoted followers and thousands of imitators- a true sign of admiration.  What are the secrets to his success?  The book reveals them in 8 “gifts” to the reader.  Simple guidelines to steer you and your organization to inevitable success.  Each “gift” has a chapter outlining the secret with three ideas to summarize the meaning.  The eight gifts are:

  1. Build a Wonderful Workshop.
  2. Choose Your Reindeer Wisely.
  3. Make a List and Check It Twice.
  4. Listen to the Elves.
  5. Get Beyond the Red Wagons.
  6. Share the Milk and Cookies.
  7. Find Out Who’s Naughty and Nice.
  8. Be Good for Goodness Sake.

You can order books, workshop kits, and more from the Walk the Talk website.  Maybe this is just the hook you need for your next corporate or business professional development series!  If you’re not quite up for books, workshops, and training seminars no worries there is a link for you too.  Santa has also posted a short video outlining his leadership secrets on YouTube.  What do you think?  Does Santa hold the secrets for true business success?  Post your thoughts for all to see!

Nollaig Shona Dhuit! (Say what?)

That’s Merry Christmas in Gaelic!  To be honest the literal translation lines up better with Happy Christmas.  The Irish, like the Brits, tend towards Happy for their Christmas.  I like this and might try it out this December!  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we will focus on some Irish Christmas information and traditions this week.  Let’s start with some basics.  Christmas in Ireland is celebrated much as in the rest of Europe.  There does tend to be a stronger emphasis on the religious aspects of the holiday due to the strong Catholic presence in Ireland.  The high focus of the season lasts from Christmas Eve through Epiphany.  Santa visits the children in Ireland and is known as Santy.  Treats are left out for him on Christmas Eve but no milk and cookies!  Mince meat pie and Guinness for Santy and carrots for the reindeer.  Family, song, and hearty meals fill the celebrations of most throughout the season.  The Irish place great emphasis on dessert including cakes, pies, yule logs, and puddings.  Some of these are coated in rich sauces and may even be lit on fire for special celebrations.  On Christmas Eve it is tradition in Ireland for small white candles or electric lights to be placed in the windows of the home.  These are a sign of welcome to family, travelers and even strangers!  Symbolically welcoming the christ child as well.  Midnight mass is very important.  Gifts are exchanged on Christmas morning.  One Irish speciality for Christmas morning is the swim.  Throughout Ireland the hearty take part in a plunge into the sea Christmas morning.  Today the swims are mostly organized to benefit a local charity in the town or village where the swim occurs.  Diving into the freezing North Atlantic or Irish Sea is a task for only the hearty!  There are a few other great Irish events I will share in detail in later posts.  Whitewashing and the Wrenboy procession merit more in-depth discussion.  We will also talk about some Irish music, food, and other bits o’ knowledge.