Alicia and Daren Woodard are bringing a new meaning to the Christmas season for families in their Pennsylvania hometown by dressing up as two of the biggest stars from the North Pole: Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
The couple, who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, doesn’t recall ever seeing people of color as the beloved fictional characters during the Christmas season Black Enterprise reported. Their goal is to spread Christmas cheer and joy to the people in their hometown and surrounding areas by revolutionizing the Santa Claus industry. As diversity and inclusion advocates, the pair believes that Black children deserve to see themselves reflected.
“We want our Black Santa to represent our culture by giving the Ma and Pa feel and the auntie and uncle vibes,” Alicia told the Erie Times-News, per Black Enterprise. “Spreading inclusivity and having a similar and familiar face bring cheer is very important to us. We want our services to symbolize family and hope.”
To change the narrative and reality for children in their region, the couple launched Woodard Dynasty Entertainment, a family event business, to make their vision a reality. The Woodards offer customers seeking a Black version of the Clauses with services like photoshoot sessions, event pop-ups and “Crafting with the Clauses,” a unique twist on a typical coloring and craft class.
The Woodards offer four Mrs. and Mr. Claus package options ranging from $100 to $250 per hour. Each package comes with an unlimited amount of pictures.
The couple also accepts reservations for personalized house visits on Christmas Eve for only $25. The entrepreneurs dress up as Mrs. and Mr. Claus and stop by the homes of residents in Erie for 15 minutes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to take photos, accept baked cookies and letters to Santa, take photos with the family and drop off a gift that includes sweet treats, hot chocolate and creative activities for everyone to enjoy, according to their website.
Through dedicating their time to provide innovative experiences to all during the holidays, the Woodards take pride in spreading positive vibes while simultaneously making a lasting impact in their city.
“No matter the gender, the race, we want them [Erie residents] to feel [like] family, and that’s what we bring,” Alicia shared with Erie Now News.
Check out the news segment below!