It may be a little late to apply to be a Santa Claus this year, however, if you plan ahead you can get a seasonal job as Santa Claus next Christmas. Usually you’ll want to start thinking about looking around and applying in July. You’ll need to be able to look and act the part (or transform yourself into Jolly Old St. Nick). If you don’t think Santa suits you you can also apply for the part of Mrs. Claus or one of Santa’s helpers.
Before you go applying to be a Santa next year, however, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind:
You’d better like kids: Well, duh. Kids are going to be crawling all over you, pulling your beard, and talking your ear off for two months. If you can’t put up with that, don’t bother to apply.
You’d better like Christmas: If you hate the crowds, craziness, and chaos that surrounds the season, don’t work as a Santa. You’re likely to sit in overheated, noisy crowded malls or party halls and you’ll have to put up with everything from kids who resent you because you messed up last year’s list to helicopter parents who nervously watch you to make sure you don’t make promises they can’t fulfill. If you don’t enjoy the season, you’ll crack before Thanksgiving.
Be ready for all kinds of questions: Kids will ask some personal, surprising things. It helps if you’re able to think fast on your feet to come up with creative answers that don’t blow the Santa mystique. Brush up on your Christmas lore so you’re ready for everything.
Stay in character: You have to be able to stay in character at all times. This doesn’t mean you have to be an actor, but you do need to always remember who you are and don’t say or do anything that Santa wouldn’t do.
Look the part: As previously stated, Santa is becoming more diverse, but most Santas are still in the traditional mold. You need to either have the look naturally or be good with wigs, fake beards, makeup, and padding. You’ll likely need to demonstrate your look at an interview, so practice now.
Know where to find work: You’ll find ads in the classifieds and on various job hunting sites. You can also call or visit the malls, stores, and civic groups around you to see if they’re hiring. Don’t forget party companies and temporary agencies.
Take courses on how to be Santa: If you need professional help to brush up on your Santa-ness , you can register for the International University of Santa Claus. You may also be able to find courses through your local extension programs, or there might be a retired Santa willing to take new students under his wing.
You’ll likely have to pass a background check: Because you”ll be working with and touching kids, most places will make you pass a background check before hiring you. If you have anything that will be a problem in your past, don’t bother to apply.
Santa work varies in pay. You may make minimum wage or significantly more. If you work with private parties, parades, or civic groups you’ll likely make more than at the malls. Pay also varies based on how much you look and act the part. The more you look and act like Santa, the more in demand you’ll be and the more money you can command.
Remember that if you want to be Santa Claus next year you’ll need to start looking early. Some malls put Santa to work as early as Halloween. However, it could be the greatest ways to make extra cash around the holidays.
Photo: T Dale Bagwell