The most important job at our Christmas market is Santa. He is the person that needs to be there every day and must always exude the holiday spirit. It’s not always easy to be jolly 365, but our Santas need to be.
From middle of January to the end of October, we have usually two Santas on staff. These two Santas have been with us for four years and take their jobs very seriously. They always keep their hair and beard trimmed in a Santa-style, and they’ve eaten enough cookies to make sure they have Santas perfectly round belly. Their Santa suits have been custom made for me them and include embellishments with their initials. These Santas are so serious, they even belong to a Santa union!
Then, from November to the first part of January, we hire an extra two Santas because we are quite busy. These Santas are usually not the same because we expect a high caliber of Santa and some of the better ones get hired to work longer-running jobs. We also need more than one Santa at the market at a time because of the number of visitors. Don’t worry, though, the two Santas are kept completely separate and there is no chance a youngster would notice that there are two Santas on the premise. We go to great lengths to keep the magic of Santa alive for our young visitors.
Each fall, we start holding auditions for our Santas. We look for those who have the Santa look. They have to have natural hair and bear—no fake beard here! We also ask them to pretend visiting with different children. We want to see how they do with children who are shy, upset, and just a bit too talkative. We also want to see what kind of voice they use and how they respond to the children. It’s extremely important that they are good with kids and know how to make children feel safe.
Once we hire our Santas, they go through an extensive training and then are fitted for suits. Each Santa has two suits so they can rotate them out to keep them pristine.
Then, our Santas get to work bringing out joy and love!