For many of us, mall Santas are as much a part of the holiday season as anything else. But it would lead to a lot of difficult questions for our families when your house would be full of dark skinned St. Nicholas depictions but the one you’d take pictures with every year looked nothing like them.

Well, the Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the United States, has hired its first black Santa Claus and changing the way little children think of the man in red. 

“I love Christmas,” Larry Jefferson-Gamble, who moved from Dallas to fill the role in Minneapolis this year, told The Huffington Post. “I enjoy making people smile and be happy. During the holidays, people go through a lot.”

Jefferson-Gamble has been depicting St. Nick for years, going back to when he was only 12 years old, but didn’t make the decision to attend Santa school – yes, that’s a real thing – until 2014 when he retired from the military.

“Kids love Santa no matter what color you are,” he said. Bu he did add that it helps kids of color feel a deeper connection.

“It gives them something to identity with,” Jefferson-Gamble told CBS Minnesota, “but Santa is still just Santa.”

Families that plan to spend time with Santa can book their appointment in advance at the Mall of America’s website.

Someone should grab one of Nas’ Kneeling Santa sweaters and take a classic photo for the culture.


Image via Santa Larry Jefferson/Facebook