It’s July and time to start thinking about Christmas. Seriously. If you want to work as Santa Claus this Christmas, now is the time to start training and looking for work. Santa work isn’t hard to come by. Many stores, malls, civic groups, and party companies hire Santas. Santa is needed for parades and private parties, as well. The trick is that you must look (or be able to transform via make-up and padding) and act the part. Don’t worry if you don’t fit the “jolly, fat, white man” stereotype, either. Many places are now hiring Santas of different races and weights to fit a more diverse picture of Santa Claus. Women can also find work as Mrs. Claus. If Santa is out of your league, there are plenty of elf positions out there.
Now is the time of year when many places start looking to fill these seasonal positions. In some places Santa hits stores as soon as the day after Halloween. That’s only three months away. In order to get prospective Santas hired and trained, companies start looking start now. If you want to spend your Christmas acting as Santa, Mrs. Claus, or an elf, here are some things to know.
You’d better like kids: This might seem like a “Big Duh,” but 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: Another “Big Duh,” but 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 I said above, 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.