21 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Mall Santas

Surely, being Santa Claus is the best job in the world. Anyone can be a volunteer Santa Claus for a charity or school, but the men who are Santa Claus at shopping malls year after year take the position very seriously. Many of them attend Noerr's Santa University, where they learn the intricacies of making it through the Christmas season in character. For a mature man with a white beard and patience for children, the job can be quite lucrative. Some Santas love the job so much, they stay in character all year! Several professional Santa Clauses spoke about the ins and out of their holiday at the mall.  


“I refuse to go to the public restroom if it’s at all avoidable,” says RG Holland, one of Noerr’s men in red. “The whole deal of being Santa, particularly at the mall, is when you’re dressed as Santa you have to stay in character and it’s kinda hard to be in a Santa suit staying in character in front of a urinal.”

In some malls, Santas have their own designated dressing area complete with a bathroom. And if not, they improvise. “I find the restroom in the mall that is the most obscure and private,” Holland says. “If I have trouble finding those, I find the nearest department store and use one of their restrooms that’s out of the way.”


Kids say the darndest things on Santa’s knee, and no amount of studying can prepare a Kris Kringle impersonator for all the odd questions or bizarre requests. You know you’ve stumped Santa when he brings up the wife.

“I blame a lot on Mrs. Claus,” says Holland. “If anything comes up that’s questionable, I say ‘I’ll have to check with Mrs. Claus about that.’ It really defuses a lot of skepticism.”

But Mrs. Claus does more than just take the blame for Santa’s shortcomings. She often helps shy kids feel more comfortable. “Sometimes the little ones are afraid of the big guy in the red suit and the beard but they’ll come to someone who looks like grandma,” says Carol Hildreth. “So they’ll sit on my lap and then talk to Santa.”

Learn a lot more about mall Santa Clauses at Mental Floss.

(Image credit: Flickr user Ross Dunn)

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