The following story was written by Bonnie Kulenkamp and the resources section below was updated in 2017 by Katie Surfleet.

“Santa can sometimes be brown you know?” I said to my 5 year old daughter as we pulled decorations out of Christmas storage. I had remembered that two seasons ago, my sister in law had gifted us an African American Santa Claus ceramic ornament to add to our collection. My daughter raised her eyebrows at my comment.

At the time we were gifted Black Santa, my children were a few years younger and had not verbalized any comments about the change in skin color on our newest ornament. This year, like most five year olds, my daughter held a strong opinion. “Mom! Santa isn’t brown he’s pink, like you and dad!” she exclaimed. I frowned thinking I had done a poor job exposing her to different types of Santas.

black santa

As a transracial adoptive family, I knew the importance of exposing my African American children to opportunities to see themselves reflected back in the books we read, the shows we watched, and the people we met on a daily basis. Somehow I felt I had dropped the ball when it came to exposing them to a Santa Claus that looked more like them. Because of our conversation this Christmas, I was determined to show my children more diversity when it came to Santa. This is the reason I’m excited about some of the opportunities to meet different kinds of Santas in person around Indianapolis this holiday season.

Here is the 2017 list of some of the opportunities for your family to visit with an African American Santa in the Indianapolis area. If you know of other opportunities not on our list, please let Indy with Kids know, so that we can add to our list for our readers. Happy Holidays from the Indy with Kids family to your family!

Breakfast with Santa at The Willows

It’s time to gather once again and this year, it’s all about the Gingerbread Man! Gumdrops, candy canes, peppermint and more. A sweet celebration is what we have in store.

Please join the Indianapolis Chapter of Jack and Jill of America for our 18th Annual Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy pictures with Santa, Dancing to DJ Mama Mia, Games, Balloon Art, Vendors, Buffet Breakfast and Fun!

Adults and children 11 and older: $35

Children 4-10: $25

Children 3 and under free

*** Doors open at 8:30am***

***All ticket sales are final. No refunds. Ticket sales end at midnight, November 25***

Purchase tickets at Eventbrite.

Black Business Bazaar 2 hosted by Don’t Sleep

Guess who’s making an appearance at Black Business Bazaar 2? Parents, bring your kiddos to meet, greet and take photos with a Black Santa and get some Christmas shopping done with Black Owned Vendors, grab some food from Black Owned Restaurants and Caterers and engage/network with members of your community! DJ E-Will will be on the turntables as will all your favorite vendors, come see us on December 2nd at Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Visit the Black Business Bazaar 2 Facebook Event Page for more information and updates on this event.

Santa at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Santa will be at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Thursday, December 7, 4-8 p.m. and again for the neighborhood party, which is by invitation only to families who live in the six surrounding neighborhoods.

Madame Walker Theatre Center

On Saturday, December 16 from 10 am-2 pm, the Madam Walker Theater located at 617 Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis will host Santa Claus to allow for photo opportunities with your children. This event is free and open to the public. No reservations are needed to attend. For more information, please call (317) 236-2099.

Books and Breakfast with Santa

The Emerging Pears Foundation and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority are hosting a breakfast with Santa on December 2, 9am – 1pm at Lighthouse Academies East. Tickets are $10 per person for breakfast and festivities. Each child will receive an age appropriate book and Christmas CD + family photos. The Arsenal Tech Choir will entertain and vendors will be on site for shopping.

Tickets available here.

Christmas “Lite” Concert

Northminster Presbyterian Church will host a kick off to the season full of carols, hilarious songs and skits. It’s Christmas…Lite. Afterwards, children (and adults) can meet with and take a photo with Santa.
December 3, 1pm – 2:30pm
No tickets or registration required.

Holy Angels Catholic School

On Saturday, December 9 from 9 am-1pm, the Holy Angels Catholic School at 2822 Doctor M.L.K. Jr Street will host their annual pancake breakfast with Santa. Breakfast is $5 per person. No reservations are needed to attend. For more information, please call (317) 926-3324.



On Friday, December 22 from 7-10 pm Skateland’s Santa experience will feature an African American Santa Claus! Don’t Forget to grab your camera to take pictures with Santa! $7 admission and $4 skate rental.

If you can’t get to one of the above events in Indianapolis this holiday season, there are other opportunities to introduce your children to a diverse array of Santa Claus’ through the following children’s books.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: An African-American Version by Meloyde Benson Rosales

This retelling of the Clement Moore classic poem offers illustrations featuring an African American Santa Claus.

Jump at the Sun: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Holiday Classics by Rex Perry

Images of an African American Santa as well as African American children help illustrate diversity in this children’s picture book series.

When you attend this and other events with your family, please be sure to share your experiences on social media with Indy with Kids using the hashtag #PLAYindy. Follow Indy with Kids on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest and don’t forget to use the Indy with Kids Mobile App for up to date information on all the wonderful local happenings for your family!