Inside the worlds longest running Santa School that has been going for 85 years

Charles W Howard Santa Claus School in America has been teaching wannabe Santas the tricks of the trade since 1937, making it the world's longest-running school of its kind, according to the Guinness World Records.

Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, the Michigan school sees about 300 student Father Christmases pass through its doors each year.

The school teaches students how to ride a sleigh, dance moves to popular Christmas songs and how to build toys in a workshop as well as how to properly dress as the big jolly man himself.

The Guinness World Records reports that the lessons on how to dress like Santa even go through how long it should take to get into the costume as well as the time it should take to apply your Santa makeup, which is all of 30 or so seconds.

Mrs Clauses are also welcomed at the school and after an in-depth course on the dos and donts of the festive season they're sent out into the world to entertain eager kids.

One student, Bernard Brewer, told Guinness World Records that the course leaves him feeling "reinvigorated and rejuvenated" before he returns home to spread festive cheer in his neighbourhood.

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Brewer added that the course provides him with the opportunity to "meet old friends make new friends, see folks, do stuff and just get really in the spirit for Christmas".

Another student, Michael Beurer, said that he thinks the school is "a really important foundation for anybody that wants to be Santa".

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"It becomes a Santa family and you can actually lean off each other. Together we're better – this is one of the main foundations I think Charles Howard was trying to portray."

The school was set up by Charles W. Howard, a farmer from Albion, New York, who had a passion for toy-making and playing St Nick, appearing once as Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Howard decided to set up the school after being annoyed at seeing so many Santas dressed in bad suits and cheap beards and who had no idea about reindeer, according to the school's website.

The school's first students were a welder from New Jersey, one of Howard's friend and a neighbour. It then grew to include a Christmas-themed park, with several barns, a train and some reindeer.

The school has had several owners. It is currently run by Tom and Holly Valent, who both remember visiting the school at its original location in Albion.

Readers living in Manchester might wish that one of these Santas had been deployed to their annual Christmas markets after the event came under heavy from disgruntled locals earlier this month.

The popular stalls were branded 'sh**e' and 'rubbish' as they returned to the city centre.

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