① At “Santa schools” around the world, aspiring impersonators learn how to project the perfect “Ho, ho, ho!” (from the diaphragm), but also how to handle unbelievers, work with disabled people and, vitally for the self-employed, navigate the practicalities of tax law and social-media marketing.
② The largest, the International University of Santa Claus, has over 3,300 graduates.
③ The oldest, named after a pioneer of the profession, Charles H. Howard, celebrates 80 years in 2017; alumni take an oath about hearing the secret dreams of children and adults.
④ Santa conventions have gathered in at least 382 cities in 52 countries.
⑤ But interest may be waning. According to Pew, less than half of American parents now pretend Santa is visiting, down from almost three-quarters in the previous generation.
⑥ In Europe, Santa’s monocultural monopoly is being challenged by nativist movements championing local folkloric gift-givers like La Befana, a witch, in Italy. Peak Santa?
take an oath: 立誓
Peak Santa: 圣诞老人盛极而衰