All Santa wants this Christmas is for kids to lose a few of those extra pounds.
It turns out the rising rate of childhood obesity isn’t just worrisome for parents, it’s also cause for concern for Santa’s health.
So says Victor Nevada, a Calgarian who has played Mr. Claus for 23 years. He runs a four-day Santa School every year and has written a lengthy training manual for aspiring Santas.
The latest chapter of Nevada’s book, a 535-page manual that is continually being added to, details what to do with children who are morbidly obese.
Nevada, 65, advises fellow Santas not to take such children on their knees for the sake of their own health.
“The best way is to bring them in close and establish a bond that way,” he says.
Damaged backs or knees from heavy children are real concerns for Santas, many of whom are over the age of 60, says Nevada.
“I’ve been playing Santa for over 20 years, and last year I looked at the issue and saw a need for a chapter on it,” he says.
Nevada, who has played St. Nick in TV commercials, attracts students from all across North America to his yearly Santa training courses.
He started writing his manual for Santa wannabes who could not attend his Santa school.
Other chapters in Nevada’s book include information on everything from how to answer questions commonly asked by children to improvisation and comedic skills.
Nevada describes his Santa guide, which can be purchased from his website, www.santaschool.com, as the most comprehensive instruction manual on the market.
“Santas read it over and over because there’s just that much material and information inside,” he says.
Nevada, who estimates he’ll attend more than 80 events as Santa Claus this holiday season, says most people don’t realize how complicated being a Santa is.
“There’s a lot more to it than just putting on a red suit, a fake beard and practising your ‘Ho ho hos’,” he says. “You’re an actor and you have to be on all the time. It’s a tough job.”
Being a Santa is certainly not without its perks, though, says Nevada.
“In the space of 30 to 45 seconds, which is the average visit that Santa has with someone, I have the power to totally change their lives,” says Nevada.
“I don’t know anybody else that has that ability.”
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