Kids lining up to take a picture with Santa Claus at the Mall of America are getting a big surprise this year. CBS News Minnesota reports that organizers of the Santa Experience booked the mall’s first Black Santa.

“It’s no big deal,” Larry Jefferson told CBS, “I’m still Santa, I just happen to be a Santa of Color.”

Landon Luther, co-owner of The Santa Experience, told the Star Tribune that he conducted a national search for a Santa who children of color could relate to.

“This is a long time coming,” Luther said. “We want Santa to be for everyone, period.”

Black Santa will appear at the mall for four days and pose for photographs and video with children by appointment.

Jefferson told CBS that children of color are thrilled to sit on the lap of a Santa who looks like them. He recalled that a child on Saturday spoke up: ‘Santa, you’re brown.’

“Yes, I am, but Santa comes in many different colors,” Jefferson told him. The child responded, ‘oh.’

Jefferson gave the boy a candy cane, and he hopped off Santa’s lap and joined his friends.

SOURCE: CBS News Minnesota, Star Tribune

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