Hand in your notice and pack your bags, you could be making a hell of a lot more than you are right now for a living – that is, if you fancy being Santa Claus.
Spoiler alert if you hadn’t realised Father Christmas was a fraud, but fear not, because it turns out you can capitalise very nicely on that childhood scam.
Your job at the local supermarket is going to look even less appealing when you see how much money you could be making if you put on a red suit, fake beard, and stuffed a few pillows down your torso.
So hop on a flight and join the training programme at Santa School in Calgary, Alberta, and you could be on your way to making a seriously festive figure.
Although, Santa school is not just mince pies and brandy. Starting in early summer, the process is intense and detailed, The Guardian reports.
You don’t just adorn a white beard, red velour suit and be done with it, you have to actually learn all the techniques that make a true Father Christmas – yule be sorry if you mess around.
Jennifer Andrews, who is the dean, or ‘lead elf’, of the school notes the pressure to perform as a real life Santa.
People are expecting Santa’s to be high-quality now, way more than they ever have before.
You have to learn how to walk, talk and laugh like Saint Nic. Aspiring Clauses even have to adapt to be a certain smell. I certainly don’t remember sitting on Santa’s lap and sniffing the scent of Christmas trees, candy canes and peppermint – perhaps mine was just a budget Claus.
But there’s truly snow limit to how much candidates can do to truly embody the king of Christmas.
The school is even located in Canada, ‘which is fitting since the north pole is the closest to us’, Andrews noted.
Santa recognizes that he obviously can’t be everywhere all the time, so he always wants his best regional representatives trained to be as much like him as possible. So he has asked me to train Santa’s so that they can be as much like Santa while he is not available.
It doesn’t matter what your background, as the school has ‘Santa’s who are judges and lawyers and engineers and investment bankers’ to ‘couriers and military men’.
‘Some of them do this for a little additional income. Some of them do it, honestly, just because they love it,’ Andrews explained.
However, if you don’t love Christmas enough to become Santa out of joy, the nice pay cheque you may get at the end of your shift may just make the scratchy beard worth your time.
A Santa who works in a shopping centre can earn between $6,000-$8,000 in the holiday season.
At private events, vice president of Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santa’s, Ric Erwin revealed he makes between $8,000 to $10,000 for 60 to 90 hours of events.
It has been debated how much real Santa should make for his yearly duties. For flying presents via a sleigh, manning reindeer, professionally shopping, gift wrapping and list checking, a survey by Insure.com concluded that his salary should be roughly $150,000 a year.
However, you can’t just want the money to become a pro Santa. You do actually have to not ‘be awkward about children’.
Moreover, being Santa is an investment and his outfit doesn’t come cheap.
Santa may be a man of the people, but he clearly likes designer bling, considering his red velour suit can cost from a couple of hundred dollars to over $1,000.
Many buy their own outfit prior to attending the school, which means the job is not quite as simple as your day-to-day role, sticking on a cheap t-shirt imprinted with your cafe’s logo.
Santa’s beard is most important of all, and it is prohibited for a potential Santa to be a smoker, which would cause a beard to smell.
If you thought girls took long to get ready for a night out, then listen to how long it takes as Santa.
Most Santa’s have to bleach their beards. Sometimes they are quite white but there are little black strands through them. You want to bleach those out.
It has to be done professionally with a high-peroxide-volume bleach and then they have to be toned afterwards and sometimes they have to be bleached several times and toned several times so that you don’t get that yellowish appearance.
The beard must be ‘trimmed and kept well’ including being washed and conditioned ‘every single day’. ‘ Some Santa’s shape their beards and blow-dry them. Some of them will curl them. Depends on the type of beard they have,’ she said.
Moreover, Santa must not just look and smell the part, but sound it too. ‘Ho-ho-ho’s’ must be practiced often and aspiring Santa’s must prep for potential questions, being ’empathetic’ and a ‘good listener’, while not making ‘unrealistic’ promises to kids.
There ‘is [also] no such thing as a Santa who is afraid of heights’, according to Andrews, as Santa’s have an ‘innate ability to go through chimney’s, which relies on a ‘good, balanced diet’.
So run wild and free this winter, adorn a red suit and snuffle up some extra mince pies, if you want to fulfil your bearded dreams, then sign up via the Santa School website.
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