On Monday’s podcast, Jeremy revealed that he has been a Santa, albeit years ago and for a college event, NOT professionally. Together, we talked to a friend of ours who is close to retirement, and, although he lacks the white beard NOW, has some of the requisite qualities, including a good sense of humor and friendly and potentially crinkly eyes. In my employment search I learned that now is the time to jump on the Santa wagon and get hired.
Each mall does not hire its own Santa. The food chain, as it were, is that the mall hires the photography company. The company hires its Santa. The contract for the Santa, if he has experience, may even include temporary housing to be relocated to the mall near you! The Noerr Programs Corporation, one of the largest providers of mall Santas, has an online application for Santa (natural beard only) and a Santa referral program, if you have a friend you can recommend. They advertise, “We seek kind gentlemen with natural white beards for character roles. If you know a candidate who embodies the spirit of Santa, please refer.” (I have TWO friends. Mmmm. This could be interesting.)
Perhaps not embodying the spirit of giving, in 2008, the Tysons Corner, Virginia mall Santa sued the mall for breech of contract because the mall hired a new photography company that provided its own Santa and did not continue with the experienced Santa at the $175 an hour that he was earning. Old Santa out—new Santa in. According to the Washington Times, the jolly old elf did not win his suit. Let that be a lesson for future Santas.
It’s April and there’s some urgency. Now is the time for Santas to get to work applying. While teenagers are looking for summer employment, potential mall Santas need to hit the pavement, too. On the blog site, “From Santa Hollywood,” the author Tim Connaghan, Santa for the Hollywood Santa Parade, gives wannabes tips for finding the perfect job and links to the major photography companies, including Cherry Hill Photo Enterprises, the largest supplier of mall Santas.
I know you’re not ready for full-time seasonal employment, Jeremy, but you could start working on the beard.