Claus, Inc.: The Business of Being Santa Sure it's seasonal work, but the pay can be pretty good for a mall Santa, especially if the beard is real. Some of the men who play the role for children at stores even take their month-long job so seriously that they give it year-round attention. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
NPR logo

Claus, Inc.: The Business of Being Santa

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4242990/4243759" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Claus, Inc.: The Business of Being Santa

Claus, Inc.: The Business of Being Santa

Claus, Inc.: The Business of Being Santa

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4242990/4243759" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A Cherry Hill Photo Santa entertains 8-year-old Jerry Nguyen at the Westfield Shoppingtown North County mall in San Diego. Scott Horsley, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Horsley, NPR

Joe Mystic performs as Santa Claus at events and parties in San Diego. In the city phonebook, Mystic is listed as "Santa Claus." Scott Horsley, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Horsley, NPR

Christmas Eve is the busiest night of the year for Santa Claus. But for Santa look-alikes, business has been booming for weeks. A jolly old man in a red suit can make good money this time of year by playing Santa Claus — especially if he has a real white beard.

The number of families flocking to the mall for a ritual visit to see a local Santa Claus representative means that the seasonal work can pay off handsomely.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, whether it's a local mall or a national chain of Santa shops that also sell photos, it takes a blend of Santa and selling to thrive at Christmastime.