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22 Secrets of a Shopping Mall Santa

Truth is, most shopping mall Santas aren’t like like the ones from “A Christmas Story.” (Thanks goodness!)

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1. I Know How to Make Kids Smile

1. I Know How to Make Kids Smile

Never force your screaming kid onto my lap. Just bring him close and give me a few minutes. I’ve got plenty of tricks up my sleeve.

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2. I Rush For a Reason

2. I Rush For a Reason

Some of us get bonuses for making our daily photo quota. So please forgive me if I try to move things along.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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3. The Wish List is Long

3. The Wish List is Long

I make around $10,000 a season doing this, but cut me some slack. Between October and December, most of us work about forty 10-hour days and listen to 30,000 children.

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4. Hands Out

4. Hands Out

Wondering why both of my white-gloved hands are always where you can see them? Ask my lawyer.

(Photo: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Thinkstock)

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5. My Wish-Granting Powers are Limited

5. My Wish-Granting Powers are Limited

I’m sorry grandma is in heaven or that mom and dad have split up. But even Santa can only do so much, so let’s just stick with what you’d like to unwrap on the big day.

(Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Thinkstock)

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6. Skip the Mall

6. Skip the Mall

Want to have more than just a few seconds with me? Let’s meet at your kid’s preschool or a photo studio that invites Santa in for special portraits.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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7. Santa Academy Exists

7. Santa Academy Exists

As a matter of fact, I did go to school for this. Topics of study: how to hold children, manage sticky conversations, and care for my hair and beard.

(Photo: Ablestock.com/Thinkstock)

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8. Pay Attention

8. Pay Attention

I don’t have total recall. Don’t come back after a few minutes and ask what your kid requested. Stand close enough to listen.

(Photo: BananaStock/Thinkstock)

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9. These Beards Don't Come Cheap

9. These Beards Don’t Come Cheap

Those of us with real beards think we’re superior. But the best of the rest of us pay as much as $3,000 to wig makers to make us authentic-looking whiskers.

(Photo: Digital Vision/Photodisc/Thinkstock)

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10. I Don't Make Promises I Can't Keep

10. I Don’t Make Promises I Can’t Keep

I see you vigorously nodding your head, but even so, I will never, ever promise anything to a child.

(Photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock)

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11. Boys Get to the Point

11. Boys Get to the Point

They tend to give it to you straight: “I want a video game and a remote control car.” Little girls want to explain everything.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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12. Is Santa Real?

12. Is Santa Real?

“Well,” I reply, pinching myself and grimacing, “I feel real.”

(Photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock)

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13. The Reward Outweighs the Negatives

13. The Reward Outweighs the Negatives

I’ve been kicked in the shins, hit in the groin, scratched, bitten, and peed on. But there’s a reason I keep doing this year after year – This is the best work I’ve ever found.

(Photo: Pixland/Thinkstock)

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14. I'm Not an Orthodontist, Either

14. I’m Not an Orthodontist, Either

Don’t ask me to tell your child why she needs to stop sucking her thumb.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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15. Stop Ruining the Fun

15. Stop Ruining the Fun

I’ve noticed a lot of you have started telling your kids the truth about me a lot younger than you used to. Sometimes you spoil things before your child even asks the question, just because you’re worried he’ll hear it from someone else. Please stop.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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16. I'm Rarely Home for the Holidays

16. I’m Rarely Home for the Holidays

Santa’s family almost never gets to spend Christmas with him on December 25. Most of us schedule a delayed celebration for early January.

(Photo: Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock)

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17. I'm Not a Puppy

17. I’m Not a Puppy

So please don’t pet me like one.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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18. Very Few of Us Do This Full Time

18. Very Few of Us Do This Full Time

We’re truck drivers and salesmen, engineers and schoolteachers in our normal lives. Lots of us are also retired.

(Photo: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock)

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19. How do We Keep Our Outfits Dry?

19. How do We Keep Our Outfits Dry?

It’s hard not to sweat in our heavy wool suits. To make sure we smell nice, some of us sprinkle baby powder in our beards; others use evergreen-scented colognes and sprays. And we’re always sucking on breath mints.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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20. Think Your Kid's Request is Over-the-Top?

20. Think Your Kid’s Request is Over-the-Top?

I’ve been asked for giraffes, pigs, and elephants, for visits from Carly Shay and Elmo, even for a cookbook for mom because she’s not a good cook.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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21. Speaking of Good Hygiene...

21. Speaking of Good Hygiene…

Please take your barely potty-trained two-year-old to the restroom before you get in line. Soil my suit, and it’s coal for you, buster.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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22. I Love the Kids, But...

22. I Love the Kids, But…

My favourites are the little old ladies in nursing homes. When they sit on my lap (which they love to do!), they turn into kids themselves, and their favourite Christmas memories come pouring out.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)