Something for the weekend: professional Santas accrue earnings of up to $20,000 (£15,644) in a year, according to a recent article on US news and opinion website Vox.
Baltimore-based Santa Brian Marchetti told author Zachary Crockett that he gets around 110 gigs over the holiday season, working the circuit of corporate events, home visits, office parties and restaurant meet-and-greets.
He is one of the Santas who “choose to act like independent businessmen”, charging anywhere from $100 (£78) to $350 (£274) an hour. With prime season starting the day after Thanksgiving and running to early January, Santas like Marchetti can bank around $20,000 on a good year.
On a lower level, there are Santas who vie for smaller shopping mall gigs, which pay a salary between $6,000 (£4,693) and $15,000 (£11,733) for 40 consecutive days of six-hour shifts.
According to data from booking website GigSalad, there are more than 1,200 professional Santas working in the US.
However, there can’t be many as successful as Ed Taylor, otherwise known as Santa Ed, who claims to earn in excess of $100,000 (£78,220) a year. His gigs include TV programme the Ellen DeGeneres Show, private events with basketball team Los Angeles Lakers and American football team Los Angeles Rams, and company parties at internet giants Facebook and Pinterest.
Taylor has even set up an online school, the Santa Claus Conservatory, where he charges budding Santas $197 for a series of courses. So far, he’s attracted 900 clients.
Here at Employee Benefits, we’re aware some people might not take the job of shopping mall Santa seriously, but with earning potential like that, it’s snow joke. However, we think the chances of getting the sack must be very high.