WHAT QUALITIES DO GREAT SANTAS POSSESS?
By: Santa Richard
ith the earth’s annual population increase of several million every year, let’s face it, Santa needs help to provide a loving, joyous Santa experience for every child. Santa needs quality local representatives to help provide this delightful experience to children around the world.
What about you? Are you excited about the possibilities of joining the “Santa team?” Some Santas only work malls; some Santa reps accept only private party contracts from entertainment companies. Some Santas are busy almost all year making commercials, movies, and character bit parts. Many Santas like the parties best, but they may not be as profitable as the malls because the work may not be as steady. Santas receive more per hour from party assignments, but there aren’t enough paid hours to make up for the steady work of a mall contract.
“If you are a happy, outgoing grandfatherly type person,… you know well how to bring happiness to children.”
Listed below are personal qualities that are very necessary if you should decide to become a professional Santa.
If you are a happy, outgoing grandfatherly type person with children and grandchildren of your own, you know well how to love and bring happiness to children. Santa is a very happy, outgoing person who loves to meet and greet children of all ages. Santa takes great delight in interacting with everyone. Santa listens carefully when children speak to him focusing totally on each one at a time. Santa makes them feel that they are the most important person in the world to him for this fleeting moment in time of conversation.
If you are a person of good character with well established high moral values for yourself, you are well suited to this profession. With all the moral decay in this world, Santa needs to be a beacon of purity, honesty, integrity and family values, personified. Santa needs to avoid all appearances of questionable behavior. Santa needs to be careful with the placement of children on his knee and the placement of his hands so that at all times they are clearly visible to the camera and to parents.
3. Work ethic
Santa needs to remember that he is hired to do a job. As a person who goes to work, he needs to think about doing a good job so that his supervisor will recognize his good work and hire him again for future work.
First, dependability and punctuality are key. If Santa can not be counted on to show up as scheduled, even a few minutes early to give yourself a cushion of extra minutes time to allow for traffic, and ready to go to work, he will not be called on for future jobs. Santa needs to know what is expected of him at every Santa assignment so that he can find a way to fulfill and exceed these expectations. The client will sometimes recognize Santa’s good work and call his agent commending Santa’s excellent performance. This is how you build repeat business.
Santa needs to be so well-focused on staying in character that he can overlook all the frustration going on all around him. In the shopping malls many times parents stand in line for up to an hour so that their kids can have their moment with Santa. The parent’s day is so tightly scheduled picking up the kids from school, driving around the mall parking lot desperately searching for a parking spot, and then finding an hour wait in the Santa line. Because of all this the parent may not be a happy person when they finally arrive next in line for Santa and their children, who were so anxious to go see Santa, now are screaming in fear at this very scary man in the red suit and beard. Some parents will insist on putting their screaming child on Santa’s knee for the photo even though the child is terrified. In spite of all this, Santa needs to remain calm, happy and smiling as though nothing was amiss. Santa can speak softly to the child offering soothing words of greeting; however, it does not always help. My point is that Santa needs to remain calm and stay in his happy, joyous character no matter what is going on around him. Santa can not afford to slip out of character and show anger or frustration, not even once. Santa is not in charge of the set or it’s workers. Santa does not give orders or try to solve customer disputes. Santa is just one member of the team that can always be counted on to remain calm, smile, and be friendly.
Nothing will make a Santa so repulsive to children and adults as wearing a fake beard, having a worn, ratty looking costume, having a terrible dragon breath, offensive body odor, or smell like booze. If you really want to succeed in this fascinating world of professional Santas, you will need to make careful preparations that include investing in a custom-made Santa suit complete with professional Santa accessories. You will need to be a person who values flawless personal hygiene. Wearing the Santa suit can bring on overheating and perspiration. Wear a tee shirt and walking shorts under your Santa suit to try to shield it from the sweating. At the end of the day when you take off your Santa suit, turn the pants and coat inside out, hang them on a chair and spray them with Febreze which will deodorize and dry them out overnight. Leave a fan on all night to circulate the air around them. Prepare yourself for your Santa appearance with the same anticipation and attention to detail as you did on your first date with the prettiest girl in your class at school.
6. Be Creative
Some Santas come to their assignment to sit in the big comfy chair and rest. They don’t say much and they don’t do much except look at the camera waiting for the photographer to take the photo so they can move on to the next child. What a waste of time for you and the child. Wouldn’t it be so much more fun to try and bring some tender loving care and attention to each child and adult you meet as you interact with them? How about a genuine smile and “Hello, Susie, so nice to see you again? My, how you have grown this year! Come and sit right here so we can talk.”
I use an extended version of this greeting and include this question: “Susie, would you be willing to help Santa so he can bring you a very nice gift this year?” Susie says: “Yes, Santa, how can I help you?” Santa says: “Susie, there are four ways you can help Santa so he can bring you nice gifts.” At this point Santa points one finger up and says: “Susie, please touch Santa’s finger with your finger.” When the child has done this, Santa says: “The first thing is to listen to mom and dad when they talk to you because they love you very much and just want you to be a really good person. Will you do that, Susie?” “Yes, Santa.” Now point the second finger up joining the first one and have the child touch both fingers. “The second thing you can do for Santa is to try really hard in school to do your best so you can be a really smart person. Can you do that?” Then three fingers touching. “The third thing is to CLEAN UP YOUR ROOM SO IT WON’T BE A DISASTER ZONE! Will you do that?” “Yes Santa.” Now four fingers touching. “The fourth one is very important. When you leave Santa today, will you go up to mom and dad to give them a big hug and tell them you love them? That’s really important for moms and dads to know!” “Yes Santa.” “If you can do all of these things really well Santa will bring you a really nice present.”
Why do I do all this two minute routine with children? I do it because I love interacting with children. I do it because parents who are listening in are shaking their heads in approval. I do this because it reminds the children of things that are important to learn as they are growing up. Whatever methods you choose to use to make the children feel valued, important, and listened to is just fine. When the child is ready to leave, I slide them down off my knee, stand them in front of me, take both of their hands in mine and tell them Santa loves them. Then I give them a hearty Santa hug and they are on their way.
If you have a natural white/gray beard, and have a high standard of personal hygiene and grooming, you will be well accepted. If you are a person who enjoys interacting with children and parents, you’ve got what it takes. Develop a hearty “Ho Ho Ho.” Make it deep and loud and sign up now.
Let’s get started!
HOW TO GET STARTED
You have three choices for your first Santa experience.
1. Will you be a mall Santa as an independent contractor for a Santa photo promotion company?
2. Would you rather do parties for entertainment companies?
3. Would you choose to do TV commercials, movies, or print ads?
For the best Santa bookings, contact www.santaforhire.com.
These Santa tips and so many others are included in my book: “BECOMING SANTA” which you can purchase from my website: www.santabelts.com. On the website you will also find a complete selection of professional custom Santa belts and accessories.
My wish for you is a most excellent Santa season!