BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) - For the first time in three years, children are back sitting on Santa's lap at the Mall Of America (MOA), but that's not the only change you may notice at The Santa Experience this year.
Five years ago, Larry Jefferson became the first African American jolly old elf at the MOA.
This year, he won't be the only one bringing some diversity to the North Pole.
"I think it's fantastic because it gives children and parents a different option of selecting a Santa they want their families to see," Jefferson told FOX 9.
The Santa Experience will have six Santas listening to the young ,and young at heart, recite their Christmas wish lists to St. Nicholas.
But two will be African American and one will be of Chinese descent, becoming the first Asian Santa in the mall's history.
"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," said The Santa Experience co-owner Lando Luther.
Some of the Santas will not only look more like the people sitting on their laps, they will sound more like them too.
For the first time, two of the Santas will be bilingual, able to speak Spanish and Cantonese, to tell children if they've been naughty or nice.
"To run across someone who speaks your language, there's kind of a bond there. Not only is the language a bond but there is also some sort of psychological bond as well," said Allan Siu, known as Santa Allan, whose parents were from Hong Kong.
Jefferson says helping everyone in Santa's workshop broaden their horizons is the best Christmas present The Santa Experience could give this holiday season.
"Although I'm an African American Santa, I see just as many Caucasian children. African American children. Hispanic children. I'm just Santa Claus," said Jefferson.