Talking to the Visionary Who Made Santa a Business Man
The last person you expect to put you on hold is Santa, but then again, Santa is busy. Really busy. One of the other Santas had a family emergency and can’t make his scheduled appointments. On a weekend. In December.
That’s because Santa is a business, man. As president of the Kringle Group LLC, Tim Connaghan is the main Santa at the center of a Santa empire. Not only is he a year-round professional—even celebrity— Santa who plays the bearded man in the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, he runs a Santa booking agency, an annual Santa convention and a Santa school. He literally wrote the book on being Santa: Behind the Red Suit: The Business of Santa Claus. And his is just one part of a worldwide Santa economy. The Santa world boasts its own professional associations, a Hall of Fame, an annual congress in Denmark and supports a side-economy of costume makers, stylists and other craftspeople. Dedicated Santas take their job seriously—many even take a popular “Santa Oath”, pledging, in part, to be “dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both children and adults”.
All of this may sound whimsical and charming, but it translates into dollars.
“A good Santa can make between $5,000 and $10,000 during the holiday season whether it's through private parties or mall work,” says Connaghan. A top-tier Santa and Mrs. Claus working together could pull in $20,000. And a few fulltime Santas are able to support themselves year-round with a combination of private parties, television appearances, modeling and other work....MORE