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How to become a Mall Santa
Nearly all of us have experienced the joy of sitting on good ol' Mall Santa's knee during the Christmas Holidays. Thousands of malls around the world hire people to be their mall Santa for the season. Usually two men are hired, but sometimes more, depending on the mall size. On an average day each Santa can expect to encounter between 5,000 to 10,000 children with their Christmas wishes.
We often underestimate the work that is put into this profession, thinking that it is just a seasonal job and requires no skill, but that couldn't be any further from the truth. While many malls directly hire their Mall Santa's, there are certain companies that supply pre-trained Santas to major market malls.
Companies like Santa Plus and Noerr train employees on site. Each prospective Santa must undergo a rigorous background check. Past misdemeanors and crime violations are an automatic red flag. These high profile companies also usually require a real beard, dyed white or gray. Original chubbiness is preferred, but is not a requirement. Each Santa is taught the dos and don'ts of being a Mall Santa. All Santas are restricted from any alcohol use. Drug tests are performed with the bigger Santa companies also. You must stick to a healthy regimen of meals and avoid overeating. Remember, you will have to sit in one seat for hours on end, so getting lots of rest is also a must. The most important thing that is stressed by these companies is to never break character. No matter if your wife or child is present, you must never acknowledge them while on duty. Santa companies usually furnish the Santa suit, which is of the highest quality. They also expect you to have your own make up and glasses accompanied by thick black Santa boots.
How much money can be made being a Mall Santa?
Companies like Santa Plus and Noerr look at your resume. Believe it or not there are hundreds of Santas with extensive resumes. There is also a 1 day Santa training course at ISCU, based in Riverside, California. The course teaches you how to speak to children, stay in character, guessing each child's age and how to deal with disorderly children. They also stress the importance of having fresh breath and keeping a spare Santa suit on you at all times. There is no telling when that one child will decide to drop chocolate on your nice red suit. A one day course at this facility will cost about $90 and will only make your resume more enticing to those Santa distributing companies. It is not uncommon for Santas that have completed this course to earn between $8,000 and $10,000 per season. Some veteran Santas have been said to earn upwards of $15,000 to $18,000 because of their relationship with returning mall customers.
What do these companies look for in a Santa
Santa companies will almost always ask you what Christmas means to you. There are right and wrong answers. Making money should never come out of your mouth as a response. Usually the companies are looking for answers like "Giving gifts to others", "Bringing joy to little children", "Seeing the joy on other's faces when they receive a gift". The key is to be genuine and unselfish. When joining any of these companies, you must be willing to travel. You are likely to be stationed 2 or 3 states away if not more. These companies do try to situate local Santas with local malls, but since they are also concerned with the best candidates, it may be a good thing to have a way of travel and housing accommodations in the location your are sent to.
The downside of being a Mall Santa
While the money is good in the Santa industry, there is also a huge downside. Whether we like it or not, there are many naughty lads and lasses out there. Some of these children will sit on your lap, only to get a chance at pulling that nice white beard or purposely spill something on your suit or just to simply ridicule you. You must also realize that not all kids are excited to see Santa. Many mothers and fathers carry their children to see Santa to get that Christmas picture. Some of these children will be in tears before they even reach your lap. You must always be prepared to deal with these crying children. It is always good if you have past experience with children or grandchildren, which is also a question that the Santa distributing companies will most likely ask you. You will also have some children that are infatuated with you, not wanting to leave Santa's lap. Eye contact and communication with the parents during these situations is a must. You have to have great conversation control.
The Benefits of being a Mall Santa
We have seen that there is a downside of being a Mall Santa, but the benefits of being a Mall Santa truly outweigh the consequences. Seeing the innocent smile and joy on a four year old's face as they approach your lap is unmatchable. Most of these young tykes will request a big hug and some even want to kiss you on your cheek. What could be more humbling than that? If you are a local resident of the mall where you are stationed, you will most likely see those children that sat on your lap in the past. Many memories of these children will never be forgotten. If you stay in the Santa business for long, you will be able to see these children grow up. The kids won't even know who you are, but you will know that you once brought happiness to them. In a way you will also be famous. Imagine how many pictures you are in and how many memories of families you will be a part of.
To apply to be a Shopping Mall Santa with one of the biggest companies in America you can apply online at Noerr's Website. Keep in mind that they only accept natural bearded Santas and prefer that you have previous experience. This company provides Santa Claus's to 170 major market malls and is very selective.
There are several schools around America for Santa Claus's that will help out your resume. Most aren't very expensive. You can find more information by visiting Santa School, The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School or The International University for Santa Claus's. There are many more, but these are the most prestigious.