The result is a Christmas season in which Santas — including the 115 of them in this year’s graduating class of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School — must learn to swiftly size up families’ financial circumstances, gently scale back children’s Christmas gift requests and even how to answer the wish some say they have been hearing with more frequency — “Can you bring my parent a job?”
Santas here tell of children who appear on their laps with lists that include the latest, most expensive toys and their parents, standing off to the side, stealthily but imploringly shaking their heads no... Some children show up with elaborate printouts, cross-referenced spread sheets and clippings from catalogs. “I try to guide the children into not so unrealistic things, and I do tell them that Santa’s been cutting back too,” said Tom Ruperd, of Caro, Mich., who added that parents often silently signal their appreciation.
Additional details at the New York Times link. And, in case you were wondering, "mall" Santas earn about $25-50 per hour.
Link. Photo from the school's gallery.