Dec. 22, 2022
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
Santa Claus School is a real thing.
Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich. has existed since 1937, and Hilbert native Rick Glasow is a graduate of the school that has helped him spread Christmas joy for the last six years.
“He errs who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart,” Howard said in 1937.
For Glasow, that rings true.
With his white hair and long white beard, Glasow had been told he looked like Santa before. Brillion resident Pamela Hooyman was the first to ask Glasow if he ever considered being Santa.
“She said, ‘You’d make a really good Santa,’ so, that’s what started me out in this career,” Glasow said.
After deliberation with his sisters and a little convincing, he made his way to the school that is multiple eight-hour days. He was one of 300 graduating Santas.
“They tell us how to respect the children, the questions they might ask you and how to answer them,” Glasow said.
The school includes a Santa’s workshop with toys.
“It’s heartwarming to say the least,” Glasow said.
What Glasow learned in the school has been close to what he has experienced with children.
“You just gotta remember how to answer some of the questions so you (give) the same answer for each (child), especially when it comes to how many elves you have working with you, the reindeer, if it’s always the same reindeer or if you have new reindeer coming in,” Glasow said.
During the Christmas season, Glasow makes stops anywhere from Green Bay, Manitowoc and Oshkosh for public appearances and private ones. Some are with Hooyman, who plays the part of Mrs. Claus (and is featured in a separate article below). Some are on his own.
“It’s almost like the best six weeks out of the year,” Glasow said.
Closer to Christmas, Glasow can make as many as three stops in one day.
When Glasow enters the room yelling out ‘Ho, ho, ho,’ children generally have the same
“The eyes wide open; it’s like you can see how surprised they are and happy they are. Some of the kids are so scared, they don’t know what to do at first and then all of a sudden it takes a little while before they warm up to you,” Glasow said.
Some children are scared, and some are eager to talk to Santa. Many ask the million-dollar question – is he the real Santa?
I say, ‘Yes, I am,’ but then I should turn around and say, ‘I’m one of his helpers,’” Glasow says.
At the Santa school, they are encouraged to say ‘cousin.’
“We’re all cousins,” Glasow said.
Please see the complete story in the Dec. 22, 2022 print edition of The Brillion News.