Our own Terry Mattingly is no fan of the commercialized, mall-defined Santa Claus.
In a GetReligion post last year, tmatt asked:
Why pass on the beloved lie that is Santa Claus?
I don't disagree often with our editor (who is devoted to the St. Nicholas of the ancient church), but personally, I love the jolly ole elf with the red suit and white beard.
Undoubtedly, part of the reason is that I grew up in a Church of Christ household where we celebrated Christmas as a secular holiday, but not a religious one. (For more details on that, check out this 2005 piece I wrote for The Christian Chronicle.)
Like me, the Morning News writer obviously believes in Santa. Her lede makes that obvious:
Although his job takes him to the North Pole and other faraway places, this Santa — the first black St. Nick at the Mall of America — would prefer to work closer to home.
Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army veteran, returned to Irving on Monday after spending four days greeting children and handing out candy canes at Minnesota's Mall of America.
While he said his time in Minnesota was amazing, Jefferson would prefer to keep his workshop in Dallas Fort-Worth, and hopes to one day open a winter wonderland storefront.
In the meantime, he has gigs lined up at the Uber office in Dallas (he's also an Uber driver), the S.M. Wright Foundation's Christmas in the Park at Fair Park, and this weekend at the Irving Wal-Mart.
Jefferson was chosen for the historic Mall of America job after Landon Luther, the co-owner of the Santa Experiencephoto studio in the mall, sent his elves out in search for a more diverse Santa, the Star-Tribune reported.
The potential — and unexplored — religion angle comes later in the Dallas story: