Getting paid to dress up as cheery,
chubby Santa Claus may seem like a cushy seasonal job, but the truth is, it’s
hard out there for a Santa — especially a mall Santa.
Just ask professional Santa Claus
Tom Carmody, a former high school teacher who’s been “Clausing” for
the past eight years, four of which were spent at malls around the U.S.
According to Carmody being a professional mall Santa is a tougher
job than most people realize. Turns out, only the strong survive.
“You have to be partially deaf
to deal with the constant noise around you,” Carmody joked. “That,
and extreme patience and an ability to stay in character at all times — even
when your shift is over.”
Carmody, who’s played jolly old St.
Nick at malls in Washington, D.C., Cincinnati and Chicago, said the typical
steady mall gig consists of 10-hour shifts up to seven days a week for roughly
two months between early November and Christmas Eve
Carmody said he was once hit in the
head with a strawberry that some naughty child flung from a few stories above
in an attempt to be funny. Santa was not amused.
He also admitted he’s been puked on
“just a little” by babies on the job, but he’s never been farted or
peed on by kids, so that’s a plus.
Carmody said his most cringe-worthy moment as
Kris Kringle was the time he was taking a picture with a man and a woman in
their 20s who appeared, at least to him, to be a couple very much in love.
“They were on my
lap and I told them to smile and think about the first time they kissed and
they looked at me with utter shock and screamed, ‘We’re brother and sister!’ I
was so embarrassed. That’s what you get for making assumptions.”