Larry Jefferson, a retired US Army veteran, has landed a four-day job at the country’s largest shopping complex, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Larry will be the first Black Santa to appear at the mall since its opening 24 years ago. Santa Larry will be at the mall from Thursday, December 1st. to Sunday, December 4th.
The company that operates the photo sessions, Santa Experience, went to the annual Santa Claus convention in Branson, Mo. in July with the hopes of finding a Black Santa. One of the company’s recruiters, Santa Sid, was at the convention and lucked-up by finding Larry. The company offers free photo sessions at the mall with the stipulation that a photo package must be purchased. In explaining the reason for specifically looking for a Black Santa, the Santa Experience’s co-owner, Landon Luther said they “want Santa to be for everyone, period.”
Speaking about his alter-ego as Santa, Larry Jefferson said, “There need to be more Santas of color, because this is America, and kids need to see a Santa that looks like them. They’re far and few between, that’s why I do it. It’s a calling.”