It’s that time of year that Santa finds himself in malls and community centers across America with the sole mission of bringing some Christmas cheer to young children ahead of the big day.
It’s a tall order, but the data shows that Santa is fairly well rewarded for his efforts.
According to ZipRecruiter, the median annual salary for this gig as of December 13 is $47,564. In other words, that’s about $22.87 an hour.
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The only caveat is that Santa’s appearance at the mall only lasts from early November through Christmas. During the holiday season, however, malls typically require Santa to sit in his chair for six- to 12-hour shifts, depending on mall hours and the employer, according to Monster.com.
At just over $22 an hour, Santa can rake in over $274 for a 12-hour shift. But Mitch Allen, founder of HireSanta.com, says that number is on the low end of the spectrum.
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Allen’s company recently acquired Santa Claus and Co., making it the oldest Santa recruitment agency in the United States
Allen and his team work with businesses and individuals to bring Christmas to life by using Santa at Christmas parties, community events and various malls across the country and in some cases the world. Allen also employs Mrs. Claus, elves and mascot entertainers.
For example, a Santa who works at a mall for a full season can bring in anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000, according to Allen.
“It can be a good extra income for these gentlemen during the season,” Allen said.
Even Santas who work on holidays and do house calls “can make a similar amount of money” if they work at many events throughout the season, Allen added.
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The demand for such Santa Clauses has also increased significantly over the past Christmas season. Allen said he gets hundreds of calls every day from people asking them to staff an event.
Allen estimated that U.S. demand for Santa Clauses is up more than 20% year over year and more than 120% from pre-pandemic levels.
In fact, people have already started booking Santa for next year, he said.