_ If you want to be successful, it pays to go back to school now and again. Just ask the graduates of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan. The 80th class of Santas graduated over the weekend. The school was started in 1937 by Charles W. Howard — who served as Santa for Macy’s — in order to instill the utmost values and etiquette in those looking to take on the role. Each year over 100 students from across the world gathered for the three-day intensive course. The $500 tuition gets students all kinds of hands-on training, lectures, and field trips geared toward prepping the Santas for every possible scenario:

• The History of Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus• Proper dress and use of make-up• Experience for radio and television interviews• Santa Sign Language• Live reindeer habits• Newest toys and gadgets on wishlists

… Not all of it is warm and fuzzy. The school also helps Santas protect themselves and helps them navigate their rights during the crazy holiday season, from contract issues to making sure they are entitled to regular bathroom breaks.

… The golden rule? Keep your hands where everyone can see them. Even better, wear white gloves so there’s no mistake about it. Liability issues are sadly a part of the biz.

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