The Black Santa Experience


The Black Santa Experience, a holiday event founded in 2022 to celebrate Lansing’s Black community and give children an opportunity to meet a racially inclusive Santa Claus, returns 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 25) at The Venue by Eleven 11 events in the Lansing Mall. More than 25 local Black-owned businesses are expected to attend, offering the opportunity to discover unique and diverse products and services while supporting entrepreneurs from the community.

"Representation matters, and the Black Santa Experience is all about creating a magical holiday atmosphere where we celebrate our culture,” said founder Karla Wagner. “All are welcome! We were blown away by the response last year, and we are thrilled to bring it back to Lansing for another unforgettable event.”

Socialight Society, a local Black-owned bookstore, will host an hourly story time for children from noon to 5 p.m. at its Socialight Society Storytime Stage. Kids can also enjoy face painting, crafts and photos with Santa, played by George Smithers, a graduate of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland. 

For adults, the new Comfort Zone Cigar Lounge & Bistro will have a lounge space where guests can “unwind, savor and discover a taste of the extraordinary while supporting a great cause.”

The first 150 attendees will receive a free swag bag. To learn more, or to pre-register for photos with Santa, visit


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