Oakdale resident Charles Clausen knows a lot about being Santa Claus.
And he’s got the documentation to prove it.
Clausen, whose time dressing up as Santa Claus goes back to 1970, recently secured his doctorate of “SantaClausology” during a two-day course at the International School of Santa Claus held the Hyatt Hotel in Bloomington.
The April 13-14 sessions marked the third time Clausen has taken courses, having previously secured his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Years ago he went to visit nieces and nephews, and while renting a tuxedo for a wedding he saw a Santa suit for sale. He did it for his family for a time, but a woman once offered him $15 to come to her home.
“I said, ‘Wow, I can make money,’” Clausen said.
“It just went from there,” he said.
As part of earning his latest degree, Clausen had to teach a course on the history of Santa Claus, which came naturally—he has a history degree from the Winona State University. Those who attended the recent International School of Santa Claus learned from each other, he said.
“And most of them have real beards,” he said.
Clausen, who has grandchildren—and two grown children he called “elves”—said he enjoys being Santa Claus and interacting with kids.
“It’s fun and it’s rewarding,” he said. “It makes my Christmas.”