Santa Claus is coming to town!By Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / December 16, 2020
The Greensboro Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and The Historic Magnolia House will host Santa Claus for families to visit with on December 19 and 20.
Admission is free but reservations are required at www.santagso.com, which outlines a COVID-19 compliant method for families to reserve a time to meet Santa Claus in a socially distanced format.
The Historic Magnolia House opened on Gorrell Street in 1949 as a hotel, serving as a safe haven for Black travelers and entertainers during the Jim Crow Era. It was listed in Green Book, a handy directory for traveling African Americans during the harshest days during America’s period of segregation. Prominent figures like James Brown, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, Joe Tex, Carter G. Woodson and Jackie Robinson have stayed at the Magnolia House.
The Historic Magnolia House also has a special relationship with the nation’s oldest Civil Rights Organizations, as it also served as a space for NAACP meetings and conventions.
Greensboro NAACP, 2nd Vice President, Rev. C. Bradley Hunt II noted that the presence of a Santa Claus who is African American conveys respect, honor and unity for the African American community, especially for children who can recognize and identify with an iconic figure sharing a racial resemblance.
Natalie Pass-Miller, owner of The Historic Magnolia House, discussed the racial/cultural significance of bringing a Black Santa Claus to Greensboro.
“Why not? I think in the world of today where we are really working on diversity and inclusiveness, in all areas of life, really tells the narrative to our youth that their dreams are possible. Why not continue telling that narrative across the board?” said Miller.
All families will receive a complimentary photograph with Santa Claus courtesy of Piedmont Business Capital and a surprise gift for the first 100 participants.
Representation also matters to Greensboro couple Xavier and Brooke Carrington who have created their own brand of Black Santa Claus wrapping paper called, “Wrapper’s Delight.” The logo depicts an African American Mr. & Mrs. Claus in a warm embrace. The design is an all-original creation by Xavier, who is also a skilled graphic and tattoo artist.
Brooke came up with the idea late one night and after doing some internet research, she noticed there was a lack of Christmas items that showcased a Black Santa.
“In that moment I went and bought the domain because I was so excited about this idea. It’s been a blessing to see it become a reality and become what it has. I really believe that the way things lined up for this project, means it was meant for us to do,” she said.
The couple noted it wasn’t hard to nail down a design.
“Representation matters. Santa can be White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian, whatever. What matters is the inclusivity of what you bring into your household. The fact that it is so hard to find a Black Santa clearly shows a problem in itself. We want to be included. We want to share with our children the importance and the beauty of the Black culture,” said Brooke, who added, “More importantly, when have you ever seen a Black Mrs. Claus? Something else we wanted to convey was the celebration of Black love and Black families,” she said.
The couple has been busy filling orders for weeks now and says that their children are also excited to be a part of the family business. The message behind Wrapper’s Delight is family.
“It’s important that we create diversity for our children. Because of some of the social injustices that have been going on in the world, I felt this was important for our culture – that we display ourselves in the manner we want to be displayed,” said Xavier. “This pandemic has truly been an impact on the homes, particularly in Black homes. I hope this can encourage more corporation and communication in the household.”
For more, visit www.wrappersdelight.shop.