St. Nick School Trains People to Be the Best Santa They Can Be

St. Nick School Trains People to Be the Best Santa They Can Be (ABC News)

Do you have what it takes to be the perfect Santa Claus?

A school in Denver, Colorado, offers a training program to help aspiring men to become the best Kris Kringle they can be.

"The perfect Santa is authentic looking," said Jim Coleman, owner of "Best Santas" Santa school. "Our biggest priority is that they are safe, love children and are passionate about bringing that magic. It's more than a suit and making sure your beard is right. It's about using elements to create fun stories instead of just sitting around and just taking pictures. We teach our Santas to interact with the children and that’s what makes us so special."

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Coleman, 33, said "Best Santas" currently has seven Santa Clauses, three Mrs. Clauses and eight elves enrolled in his school, ages 33 to 72.

Only real-bearded Santas are in the program and all must complete the two-day training course as well as a full background check, he said.

"The younger Santas have to spend about 10 hours in the salon chairs bleaching out their beards," Coleman said. "They learn how to walk talk and be Santa -- be in character, voice inflection, mannerisms, body language."

While there's no height or weight requirement, Coleman said it's always a plus when aspiring Santas are "plump" just like "the big guy."

Following their free two-day training session, Santas are assigned to their gigs through the school -- making visits to homes, holiday parties and corporate events, where they deliver gifts, tell stories from the North Pole and take photographs at a rate of $195 an hour.

"It's an honor to be Santa and watch the kids light up," Coleman said. "What's funny is adults love Santa [too]. It changes the environment and the mood of the party."

Joshua Lackey, 34, a former "Best Santas" student and current Santa Claus, said he took on the role because of his love for performing.

"It was another character, another performance that I had to do," he said. "And what greater character than Santa Claus?"

Lackey of Centennial, Colorado, said his three children, Sebastian, 18, Aristotle, 15, and Infinity, 6, enjoy the idea of him playing Santa, especially his youngest daughter who believes he works for the "real one."

"She thinks it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread," he said.

Coleman said although he gets requests from parents, his Santas are not allowed to be disciplinarians for the children.

He added that he's considering expanding "Best Santas" to other metropolitan areas.

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