For the first time ever, there’s a Black Santa at the Mall of America, here to teach children that fictional holiday figureheads come in all shades.
Texas native Larry Jefferson, a retired Army vet, has signed up to wear the garb of Santa for four days (from Thursday to Sunday) at the Mall of America in Minnesota, where he’ll help dupe children into believing an extremely charitable, bearded and immortal North Pole resident named Santa exists.
Somehow, this is the first time there’s been a black Santa at the mall to pose for legendary Santa pics. “It’s no big deal. I’m still Santa, but I just happen to be a Santa of color,” Jefferson tells CBS Minnesota, in the video clip below, in which the hosts earnestly talk about “Santas of color.”
The co-owner of this Santa photo spot at the Mall of America, Landon Luther, says he’s been looking for a Santa like Larry for a year:
Jefferson is the result of a year-long search Luther started in 2015. He was uncovered at a Santa convention in Branson, Missouri, where he was the only black Santa in attendance. “It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Luther said. “He considers himself a Santa for all.”
“It gives the kids an opportunity to see a Santa that looks like them,” says Jefferson. “It gives them something to identify with.”