While some are merely taking “tis the season to be jolly” to a whole new level, many are looking to cushion retirement and find a new source of income by taking on the hefty role of Santa Claus. The New York Times reports that last month, the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Michigan, the largest (and most prestigious) of its kind in the US, experienced the largest enrollment in their nearly 75 years of Father Christmas education. While many students were veteran Kringles looking to perfect their craft, a handful, including an aerospace engineer and an accountant, were turning to Santa studies as struggling victims of the recession in need of help. Amidst a swelling class size, a recent shift in curriculum also points to the changing times. Student Santas are being trained to size up parents’ pockets in terms of what Santa can promise to deliver, to remind children that not everything on their two-page list will necessarily be under the tree come the morning of the 25th and even how to confront questions such as the recently more frequent, “Can you bring my daddy a job?”

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