It’s that time of year again! Ugly sweaters, gingerbread, cinnamon flavored candles and of course, suffocating mall crowds that cause panic attacks heard round the world. But while you’re looking for your brown paper bag and feeling thankful that at least you’re not in the line for a picture with Santa, have you ever found yourself wondering how the Big Guy made it to your local mall in the first place? Or better yet, what amount of money it must take for him to voluntarily deal with screaming, crying, urine soaked children? Because let’s face it, they’re not all gumdrops and lollipops. Well, we thought about it and boy oh boy! Take a candy cane stroll with us as we answer these burning questions and find out some interesting tidbits along the way.
Sometime around 280 A.D. in modern-day Turkey, there was a monk named St. Nicholas that was believed to be admired for his generosity and kindness. The story goes that he gave to the poor and helped the sick and his 15 minutes of fame really took off when he saved three sisters from being sold into slavery by their father. Never mind, that he did this by purchasing them with a dowry and marriage, but…happy thoughts. After that he was known as the protector of children and sailors. Also, not so sure how these two are related unless he also made the children eventually become sailors, but that’s for a different blog.
In December 1774, a group of Dutch families in New York gathered to honor St. Nicholas death and this began an annual tradition. A man started making wooden figurines for the crowd that portrayed St. Nicholas and voila, the first Christmas decoration. A writer named Washington Irving later referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York. Because New Yorkers love anything New York, A New York newspaper picked up the story and shortened the Dutch nickname for St. Nicholas from Sinter Klaas to Santa Claus.
There was a boom in gift-giving in the early 19th century and by the 1840’s, newspapers were advertising specifically for Christmas gifts. Hello consumerism! In 1841, thousands of children showed up to a shop in Philadelphia for the chance to see a life-size Santa Claus model. Executives near and far felt a little tickle in their pants when news of this spread. Imagine what would happen to sales if there was an actual live Santa. Whoa! In the 1890’s, the Salvation Army needed a way to fund their Christmas meals to needy families and jumped on the bandwagon. They dressed unemployed men up as Santa and sent them to the streets of New York to solicit donations. Brilliant and festive! Thus, the mall Santa we know and love was born.
But…what does it take to be the jolly ol’ fellow? A lot actually. First off, there are at least 4 different Santa Schools they can attend to prepare for the 30,000 children they will meet during the season. Back problems are common from picking up the children and the amount of pee and vomit from those kiddos alone, are enough to keep the dry cleaners in business. Not to mention the money they sink into the beard bleaching, Santa scent and those outfits that can cost well over a couple thousand dollars.
The pure time commitment alone is not for the faint of heart but can be financially rewarding. Santa typically works an average of 40, 10-hour days during the season and makes anywhere between 10,000 and 60,000 dollars. Fun fact, the ones with real beards get paid more and have a superiority complex over the ones that pay up to $3,000 for a beard wig. Can you imagine what the sitting arrangements are in that lunch room? I can only assume Regina George would be pleased!
So, what happens when the season comes to an end and all the children are snug in their beds? Santa is looking for a part-time job to support his lavish lifestyle, that’s what! Much like Santa’s little helpers at the mall, umé is basically like the elves of job searching. Whether you’re busy working or busy celebrating your 9th family gathering at your step-aunts, son’s friends pot luck dinner, make sure you setup your umé profile so our elves can get to work. We’ll notify you when you have a match and after you down that gallon of eggnog to prepare for your 3rd company Christmas party, just hit apply. It’s that simple! Download umé jobs on IOS or Android to get started.