The INSIDER Summary:
• Men who play Santa Claus at malls have a tough job.
• But they can make up to $60,000 in a single holiday season.
Playing Santa Claus at the mall is one of jobs that only seems easy. Sure, anybody can put on a fake beard and a suit and sit atop a Christmas throne — but it takes a special kind of person to smile and pose for pictures for squirming kids for hours on end.
But most mall Santas are handsomely rewarded for their efforts: They can make anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 in the five- to six-week season.
That’s according to Iconic Group, a company that provides professional photography services for more than 10,000 events each year. Iconic hires 6,000 mall Santas, photographers, and festive helpers every holiday season, establishing a presence in 300 malls and 100 Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores across the country.
It turns out that Santa photos ops are pretty big business: Iconic’s data shows that Santas can generate more than $1 million in revenue for a mall. Each of their photo packages costs anywhere from $40 to $75. (Of course, the chance to catch your kid making an embarrassing face on Santa’s lap is totally priceless.)
Thinking about sprouting a beard and raking in some extra Christmas cash for yourself next holiday season? You might want to enroll in the Michigan school where men and women train to became the perfect Mr. and Mrs. Claus — it’s been dubbed the “Harvard of Santa Schools.”
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