No matter what Megyn Kelly says, Santa Claus isn't just white. And we know that because for the first time in 24 years, the Santa Experience at the Mall of America in Minnesota will have a black Santa, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. "Anybody can be Santa; it’s what’s in your heart," says Larry Jefferson, aka Santa Larry. Jefferson started getting paid to be Santa in 2014 after retiring from the military, but his career as jolly old St. Nick really started at the age of 12, when he took care of Christmas presents for his ailing father, the Huffington Post reports. According to WCCO, the Texas resident will break the Santa color barrier at the Mall of America by posing for photos and videos for four days this week.
Jefferson came to the attention of Santa Experience co-owner Landon Luther after Jefferson was the only Santa of color out of hundreds of attendees at last summer's Santa Convention in Missouri. "This is a long time coming," Luther tells the Star-Tribune. "We want Santa to be for everyone." Jefferson tells WCCO that having a black Santa can give children of color "something to identify with," but most kids only notice the suit—and the candy. "One child said, ‘Santa, you’re brown,’ and I said, ‘Yes, I am, but Santa comes in many different colors,'" Jefferson says. "He said, ‘Oh,’ so I gave him a candy cane, he ran off with other kids.”