Charles Howard’s Santa Claus School on This Week’s State of Greater Western New York Report – December 9, 2021

Did you know that the spirit of Christmas that traditionally embodies the American experience of that holiday comes from Greater Western New York? It began when a very determined man in Albion, NY didn’t like what he saw in department store Santa Clauses. He decided to do something about and what he started forever changed what children across the nation experience each yuletide season.

Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian, returns as a guest to tell the story of Charles Howard, a farmer by trade, who became the epitome of Santa Claus. She describes how and why he got interested in Santa Claus, his first jobs at major department stores in Rochester and Buffalo, and how he got the gig as the Macy’s Parade Santa Claus.

But Cooper spends the bulk of the time showing and outlining Howard’s famous Santa Claus School in Albion. Each year, department stores from across the country would send their Santa Clauses to the school to learn how to be a better Santa. They’d also send the costumes with their Santas for repair and refitting. Cooper even relays a few choice lessons, including one where Howard explains how a Santa should answer a child who wants everything.

Finally, she explains why there’s renewed interest in Howard and how his legacy lives on to this day.

Our guest happily answered questions from the live audience. In fact, these are probably some of the same questions you had. Would you like to be a member of our live audience so you can ask our guests questions? Click here to join the growing number of members who share your feelings on because then we can automatically send you the link to watch our shows live.

Theme music by mansardian courtesy of under Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0

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