Candice Ward/for Metro Metro Calgary's Katie Turner gets into the holiday spirit by getting the full Santa makeover.

It’s an extreme makeover, Santa edition.

In an effort to understand what it truly takes to be the man in crushed velvet, I decided to take an intro class with the dean of Calgary’s very own Santa School, Jennifer Andrews.

As a self-proclaimed Christmas enthusiast, Andrews, who has operated the school for four seasons, was able to provide several tricks of the trade.

Being a female in my 20s and lacking the full-fledged Santa belly (though holiday treats have me well on my way), I was already at a bit of a disadvantage in the overall look of Kris Kringle.

However, aside from a real snowy white beard, Andrews said character development is one of the most crucial components.
“Obviously, first and foremost, it has to come from his heart,” said Andrews.

“We want him to be as much like Santa as he an possibly be so that they can bring happiness and joy to kids of all sizes.”

And with that, it was time to get in a jolly frame of mind.

As soon as the faux-beard and wig went on, it started to come together. Slipping on the red cloak, pulling up the hood, I began to feel the warmth of the Christmas spirit (or, maybe that was the beads of sweat underneath the costume).

The final touch? One hand full of sleigh bells, the other on my stomach and a full belly “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and the look was complete.

I may not have spread joy around the world, but I certainly gave myself a chuckle. Santa makeover? Complete.

Santa School spirit:

  • Victor Nevada, who lost his battle with cancer in 2009, founded the Santa School several years ago.
  • Andrews said instead of holding one class this year, the Santa School hosted four classes due to demand.
  • The school involves everything from voice training to character development and assistance with hair, beard and costume.
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