On Thursday, Jefferson had his first day of a four-day stint at the Mall of America — marking the mall’s first black Santa and providing some Minnesota families with a holiday experience they thought was long overdue. One woman told Jefferson she had been waiting 25 years to see a black Santa. Other families told him they had driven hours just so that their kids could meet him.
“They’re far and few between,” Jefferson, who is in his mid-50s, said of Santas of color. “That’s why I do it.”
Late Thursday evening, a reporter called a phone number listed for Jefferson’s event scheduling, expecting a booking agent or an automated recording. “Hello, this is Santa,” the voice on the other end responded as if it were second nature. After 17 years in the profession, and nearly a lifetime of taking on the role, his deep connection to his red-robed alter-ego is second nature.
As kids sit on his knee this month and snap photos with him, Jefferson will also be hoping to capitalize on his newfound celebrity, telling the Post, “I want to go to the White House!”
But, Jefferson who describes being Santa as “a calling,” says, in the end, there shouldn’t be so much fuss about the mall’s first Santa of color. “It’s hilarious to me, I’m really humbled by it,” he said. “Everyone’s making a big deal about this because I’m a black Santa. But gosh, I’m just Santa!”