For the first time in its history, the largest mall in the U.S. will feature an Asian Santa Claus this holiday season.
Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, will have Allan Siu as part of The Santa Experience, which is returning after a three-year in-person hiatus due to COVID-19.
Siu, whose parents are from Hong Kong, believes that “a good Santa is one that brings the Sony PS5, is empathetic, a great listener and remembers the love the Christmas holiday brings.” He will join five other Santas for the holiday installment, including two African American Santas.
“To run across someone who speaks your language, there’s kind of a bond there,” Siu, who also speaks Cantonese, told FOX 9. “Not only is the language a bond but there is also some sort of psychological bond as well.”
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Created in 2007 after years of overwhelmingly long lines for Santa photos, The Santa Experience specializes in appointment-based in-person and virtual Santa visits, offering unique Santa photos, videos and Christmas merchandise. In 2020, the small business introduced a virtual experience for families to “visit with the ‘big guy’ from the comfort of their homes.”
With Siu joining the club, countless Asian American children will finally see a Santa that looks like them.
“Santa is such a magical figure. He brings such a positive feeling. It’s really important for kids to see themselves in Santa that way,” co-owner Lando Luther told FOX 9.
Larry Jefferson joined The Santa Experience in 2016 as its first African American member. This year, Santa Pat will become its second African American Santa.
“We like to continue to increase the diversity pool so that our Santa Clauses can look like America,” Jefferson told KARE 11. “Santa Claus, for me, is the person you’re with at that moment. … I am a Santa for all.”