FORBS is a Special Non-Profit Fraternity for Pro Santas
Every holiday season, in almost every mall in America, children line up to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Being Santa can come with long hours, and maintaining Santa’s jolly demeanor can be tiring (even if it's up to the parents to do the actual toy gathering, wrapping of presents and making it look like Santa came) and these “professional Santas” even have their own union, specifically a non-profit fraternity, for support.
Yes, the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, or FORBS, is an organization of men who look like Santa Claus and make a vow to promote a positive image of Santa. Every dues paying member is required to have an real long white beard as well as a clean background check. The group also helped to pioneer "Santa insurance."
It started in 1994 with a group of 10 professional actors who were being featured as Santas in an Otto Versandt commercial. While they were together, they discussed the different acting jobs they have had throughout their careers and found themselves talking about almost solely Santa-related jobs.
After the shoot, they met up again (for milk and cookies? Maybe not.) and dubbed themselves the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, before eventually becoming FORBS. They even host an annual reunion.
From mall Santas to commercial Santas to grandfather's dressed up like the big man himself, the mythical figure of Santa is a tradition beloved by many. Here are some jolly facts you didn't know about Santa Claus.