Hi reddit! My name is Jim Manning and I'm a full-time professional Santa Claus (http://www.santaboston.com/). I first commented in this reddit thread "Mall Santas of Reddit,what is the funniest request a kid asked you?" and my comment went viral (check it out here http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/1px2a3/mall_santas_of_redditwhat_is_the_funniest_request/cd73d8u).

Unlike most Santa Claus, the majority of what I do is visit with clients who hire me to act as Santa at various functions (for example, I light the tree in Boston every year; a golf course flies me in by helicopter every year, which is pretty awesome; I've helped 2 guys propose to their girlfriends, that's a fun one; and visit businesses and private holiday parties).

I'm happy to talk about designer beard Santas versus real beard Santas (think East Coast versus West Coast), secret Santa Conventions (they're not really secret, but I'll talk about them), and anything at all!


Comments: 176 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

Sporgie51 karma

I'm becoming Santa tomorrow for work. I work with Disabled young adults. Any tips you could give me please?

JungleJimBoston120 karma

Oh yes, definitely.

1 - just go ahead and assume they will believe you are the real Santa. Even if you're worried they will recognize you, just play Santa the best way you see fit.

2 - The big thing that everybody really wants is a really nice photo. As long as they are comfortable sitting on your lap they can do that, but certain disabled young adult populations that I've worked with, tactile sensations are not their thing. So have a chair next to Santa Claus so you can give them the option of sitting on your lap or next to you. Also, a fun thing to do that i can do with older disabled adults is you can stand up, link arms and pose back to back - it's a bit different, it's fun, and it can make them feel more comfortable.

3 - If they are going to have a lot of questions for you as Santa Claus, I took improv classes years ago and the number one rule is "yes and". So if they ask you about the reindeer, share your best information, if they ask you about cookies, say "yes, and I like Oatmeal Raisin." A lot of being a good Santa is listening. You don't always have to be talking to. And you are probably going to do a lot of individual photos and meeting, but I think it's fun to do a group photo - not a lot of people think to do that but it's a nice thing for you to be able to remember.

4 - Enjoy it and relax!

Yellow_DF23 karma

I'll give it a twist. What is the funniest request an adult asked you?

JungleJimBoston54 karma

There are so many to choose from! The first thing that comes to mind is I had a very drunk older woman blatantly ask me to make a special visit to her house that night. I stayed in character and said "oh! that would make Mrs. Claus jealous" so as to play it off nicely and not hurt anyone's feelings, but when she was very insistent, I always kept another person between me and her. She was a bit aggressive. There's another story about me getting groped on a separate occasion. It was one of my most miserable Santa Claus occasions ever. It was a group of older women and one of them, who was very very nice, she's a regular client of mine, she had hired me to come in and do a Santa appearance as a gag for her and her friends. By the time I got there on a Thursday night, they were all feeling the effects of a couple of bottles of red wine, and this one woman who could barely stand wanted to take a picture we me. She sits on my lap slurring inappropriate comments (which is fine, it's not the first time I've dealt with that) and then all of a sudden her hand was reaching down towards my crotch area. I grabbed her by the wrist to make sure nothing went farther, and fortunately my fat suit was blocking her, but then she got REALLY aggressive. I stood up, she fell because she could not keep her balance, and now she's angry and yelling at me while her friends cackle and cheer her on. So I go around the table to get away from her (even at this point, I don't want to make anyone feel bad), and she is crawling / stumbling towards me saying things like "You're not the real Santa!" I managed to avoid her the rest of the visit until the end when they wanted to take a group photo, and someone suggested to her that she sit on my lap, AGAIN, and goes for the same crotchgrab (oh and by the way, her husband is there the entire time) - at this point I grab her wrist, I imagine a little bit painfully, but I wasn't going to let her touch me inappropriately, and once the group photo was over, I stood up, half-caught her so she wouldn't fall again, and then went to my client and said "now would be a good time for me to go." This was at an apartment building with an elevator that came right up to the floor, so as I'm waiting for the elevator, same drunk lady came around the corner again swearing at me... I get home and tell my wife who was none too thrilled about it.

julio_and_i21 karma

How many kids pull on your beard to make sure it's real?

JungleJimBoston44 karma

Usually 1 per visit. Because I have a designer beard, the guy who helped me put my beards together, Santa Tom from Weymouth, Mass (the foremost expert on Santa designer beards in the country) - my beards are strapped in on 3 places so that when a kid tugs on it, it does not go anywhere. And that ends up really helping to sell the experience.

Babies under the age of 2 years have a nice little grip too. So it has to be able to last!

feminaprovita44 karma

I just love that there exists a "foremost expert on Santa designer beards in the country."

JungleJimBoston25 karma

Santa Tom is amazing with the designer beards. I'm so lucky to let him. He makes me look so much better than I ever did before. He's also made me realize how important it is to work on your own wig and beard combination whenever you get them.

jiingwen20 karma

Hey Santa, what do you do for work in the other eleven months?

JungleJimBoston43 karma

That's a great question jlingwen! I am actually a full-time, professional family entertainer. People often get confused when they asked me what I do for a living and I tell them I'm a professional Santa Claus.

I always think of that episode of "King of the Hill" where Bill plays Santa Claus, and it's a really special time for him. Then he keeps the suit on into March, he still paying for the elf and it's gotten really awkward.

A lot of people don't know what I mean by family entertainer, so to explain, I do performances in libraries, schools and at birthday parties.

Oh, and I only do Santa Claus in the month of December. Here's why: I once walked into a birthday party a few days before Christmas as my character, Jungle Jim, and let out a big "Ho ho ho!" much to the surprise of the children and the parents.

jednorazowa19 karma

What percentage of children you deal with are afraid of you?

JungleJimBoston26 karma

The percentage: 33% of them are nervous or flat out afraid. But it really comes down to the age. The majority of 2 year olds, about 1/2 the 3 year olds, and about 1/4 of the 4 year olds are nervous. There are a few kids older than that who are nervous, but it comes down to age a lot.

Ecoste-48 karma

The little ones are always more frightened ;))))

JungleJimBoston14 karma

They are, which is why I try to be really gentle as a Santa Claus when they are around.

Robot_Thoughts17 karma

I am an instructional designer by trade, so I am always in awe of the power of industry-specific knowledge. You definitely fit the bill of a subject matter expert. Have you thought of starting an online training school/program for would-be Santas across the world?

JungleJimBoston22 karma

Hey Robot!

I've thought about doing my own Santa Claus school, but an online training program might actually be a better fit. I'm glad you mentioned the world, because it's not just the United States and Canada where there are professional Santa's.

I feel like I've really come into my own in the last three years as Santa Claus and, while I do make my living off of this, it really means a lot to me to see good Santa Claus's out there.

You also just made me realize I don't know how to do the possessive of "Santa Claus."

Seriously though, do you've any suggestions how one would get something like that started?

Robot_Thoughts8 karma

I guess it all depends on who you can connect with, but if you want to start small, look into getting a learning management system set up. Moodle is a free learning management system. I set my online environment (hosted by host gator) up just using youtube videos to help along the way.

It's pretty cool that you can have your own "school" in a matter of hours.

Ideally you would have the help of an instructional designer to help you create the curriculum and an MBA type to figure out the business end of things.

Best of luck, Santa!

JungleJimBoston6 karma

That's brilliant robot! I will check it out!

QwertyXYZ114 karma

Have you been to the north pole?

If not, would you want to visit the north pole for vacation/exploration? And who are the 2 people you would bring?

JungleJimBoston21 karma

I've not visited the North Pole yet, but it would be fun.

My wife (Mrs. Claus likes the cold more than me), and my friend Buddy. Because his name is Buddy.

QwertyXYZ19 karma

you have a human friend named Buddy?

JungleJimBoston18 karma

I do have a friend named Buddy. No joke. And for the first time this year, he dressed like Buddy the Elf for Halloween. and he looked awesome! Let me text him to see if he'll let me put a photo of him so you guys can see.

JungleJimBoston41 karma

Here's My Buddy!


captainJackDan14 karma


JungleJimBoston46 karma

My pleasure Jack! Glad you're enjoying it.

Most professional Santas at some point in their career handle a difficult requests and tough interactions. In terms of the request, I'll tell you a story about the toughest request I've ever gotten:

“Santa, all I want for Christmas is Mommy and Daddy to come back from heaven.” This was a very polite 4-year old girl. I saw the woman she was with (her aunt's) eyes go wide as these words came out of the little girl’s mouth. I’ve gotten similar requests before, usually with a favorite pet or grandparent. Twice before I’ve been asked to bring a parent back. Never before have I gotten a request for both parents. The little girl, let’s call her Julia, asked very matter-of-factly. In her mind, Santa’s job was to bring her things and all she wanted was her Mommy & Daddy back. My heart just sank.

I told her that while Santa Claus has the power to bring many things, including love and joy, there is only so much that even I could do. I asked her to remember how special Mommy & Daddy were, how they were looking down on her from heaven right now, and it seemed that she had a lot of loving people in her life, and that’s a very good thing.

I found out later from the aunt her parents had been killed in a car crash the previous August. The little girl didn't talk about it too much, which is why her aunt was so surprised when she asked me. I was fine in the moment, but it was upsetting to me afterwards. I'm glad I handled the situation well, but it was one of the more impacting moments I've had in the red suit.

BakerIsMyFriend13 karma

Has there been a large increase in people trying to fight you, since the release of "Elf"?

JungleJimBoston31 karma

It's kind of a weird thing, but as a costumed character, people often don't see you real. I've played other costume characters before, much to my chagrin (playing the purple dinosaur actually helped pay for college), and for whatever reason, people somehow don't think there's a human being in there. No one's ever tried to fight me, but I've also gotten pretty good at spotting potential awkward situations, generally with adults who maybe have had a little bit too much to drink.

I'd like to make some crazy comment about me having a red and white jujitsu belt, but it seems to be much funnier in my head.

Hun9ryHun9ryHobo13 karma

Hey Santa! If you could indulge me...

  1. Is it challenging to keep up the jolly demeanor all the time? I know holidays are meant to be happy, but I can imagine being happy for a job can take its toll...

  2. What is the funniest/weirdest thing anyone as asked for or said to you as Santa?

  3. Can you tell me where all the naughty girls live?

JungleJimBoston14 karma

  1. When i'm in the suit, I am Santa Claus, and Santa Claus is always jolly. While I don't take myself too seriously, I take being Santa VERY seriously and I always make sure to play the character well, and someone is always watching me, so it's important that I always keep the demeanor correct. This year has been really stressful, because another Santa Claus I had trained I've had to scramble to replace him with other Santas whom I hadn't trained. Because of the amount of events I do (between 60-70) and because I make 1/4 of my income in a 3 week period, the pressure is definitely on, so the balance of keeping clients happy, being a jolly Santa and trying to do everything as right as I can can be tough. And I love it.

  2. It's hard to quantify funniest, but I will bring up a few. I had a little boy ask last Saturday for $10,000 and he didn't smile or flinch, it was very straightforward that he wanted $10,000. I get so many requests I will try to put them out throughout this AMA, but here's another highlight. Something that's a little awkward is I get asked by a lot of single women for men, and they seem to actually believe that I will bring them a man for Christmas. It's not entirely funny or sarcastic when they ask.

  3. Hahaha! Let's see. Santa never tells anybody else who's on the naughty or nice list.

Hun9ryHun9ryHobo7 karma

Thanks for the reply! I can totally understand how the suit would transform you, and in a way I think back to the Oscar Wilde quote: "Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face."

Must be really rewarding to bring so much joy to others :)

A question about the single women who ask, as adults... are they serious? It seems like they would already know what the answer to their request would be, but still ask anyway...

Also, has anyone come up to you after Christmas and said you made their dreams come true? Like got them what they wanted?

JungleJimBoston11 karma

I have actually! And children will remember what I brought them last year, and that's where the improvisational "Yes, and" comes in, because I am Santa Claus, I am supposed to know what I brought them and their names. And you know as much as I get stressed out and I'm running a business, I do it because I believe in the power of Santa Claus. To me it's really special. I've had 10,000 children' sit with me over the past 10 years, probably more, so it really does mean a lot to me to be Santa Claus.

In regards to the single ladies, honestly I don't think they expect me to bring them someone, I just think they want attention. And inasmuch as I'm a guy in a suit, I'm also a mythical figure and it makes them feel better to know that someone is out there. There's a little bit of a good luck thing to it.

dankowalski11 karma

How much work is it keeping the hair and the beard up? How much does a great looking Santa suit cost?

JungleJimBoston31 karma

Good question! A little bit of backstory: I have 5 beards, 4 wigs, and 5 mustaches. I generally go through 2 mustaches a day. They are held in place with spirit gum. Every night when I get home I have to brush out the beard and wig, I have to soak the mustache in rubbing alcohol to get the spirit gum off, and then style the mustache the next day so it looks right. The suits I have 5 of. I have a regular rotation at the dry cleaners, and when they get home I have to air them out. I have 3 fat suits, and I use Febreze on those to keep them neat and clean. A lot of this stuff I have learned over the years from other Santas and experience. It also helps that my wife is a professional hairstylist from Aveda who helps me maintain the wigs and beards.

My suits cost between $500-700, the belt costs $300 because it's handmade (I have 2 of those), the boots are $200 boots because they are really good Santa Claus boots. I use real bifocals because they look better. I get a headache from wearing them all day (I'm only 37) but it's worth it for authenticity. I have eyebrow whitener that I brush into my eyebrows because that looks authentic as well. So over the years I've invested roughly $5,000 in 10 years on Santa accoutrements.

andyc14011 karma

How would you act as Santa for a deaf child or a kid who could not physically sit on your lap (e.g., in a wheel chair)?

JungleJimBoston36 karma

Well I have actually worked with a number of deaf children and their parents are usually good about informing me. The parents will help translate sometimes, and when they are translating for me I remember to look at the child, not the parent, because even though they are speaking with their fingers, they are speaking to me from their heart.

When I give the answers, I know that a lot of deaf children can read lips as well. And beyond that I don't treat them differently than any other child. For children in motorized wheelchairs, I've had a few jobs working in a children's hospital so I know that a lot of children with cerebral palzy for example, their physical bodies might not be 100% but their minds are as sharp as anybody's and so I try to stay on their level.

Even though I might not understand 100% of what they say, I always try to stay on their level. And when I greet most children, they are looking at me - if they hop right on my lap, great, but a lot of times it's the eye contact. And like most Santas, I have a special place in my heart for all children, especially ones who haven't had the easiest time of it. I get more of their visits than they do, I think!

ssgohanf810 karma

What kinds of things have children asked for from you that would assist them in getting more things?

Basically playing on the thought that they could ask you to bring them a genie, so they have three unrestrained wishes of some sort.

JungleJimBoston9 karma

I mention this before in my thread about requests from children that ended up getting pretty viral. I actually had a little boy bribe me with a five dollar bill.

OK, I had to think about your question. I get it. Hmmm, That's an interesting one. I've some children rattle off an endless list, but more often than not I have children who freeze at the big moment and I try and guide them through telling me what they'd like to have for Christmas.

I've never gotten asked for multiple wishes that I remember, but I do get asked for anything and everything.

One thing to note as well is that some children are just very happy to see me, and they are often willing to say "Whatever you bring me is terrific, Santa!" That is always a cool moment.

RicsFlair10 karma

Hey Santa,

Who do you think has portrayed the best Santa on television or movies?

Also, I would like a basketball for Christmas. :-)


JungleJimBoston14 karma

Great Username!

Easy answer, and Part of my inspiration to be Santa Claus: Edmund Gwenn. He is easily the greatest Santa Claus to me. let me share a great story with you about him. I'll find it online.

OK, I can't find it but I'll retell it as I remember. Years after the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" came out, Edmund Gwenn would appear as Santa Claus for disabled children. He would spend the whole day as Santa Claus interacting with children. I'm not doing the retelling justice, but it was a very sweet story. I'll try to find it later.

As I always tell the children when asked me for anything specific, I will see what I can do. Do you prefer Wilson or Spalding?

neilparkertx10 karma

Do you have any rules about adults sitting on your lap?

JungleJimBoston18 karma

Everyone is welcome to sit on my lap, and it's pretty funny how people react, especially women. They are always afraid of crushing Santa's lap. The thing is that most Santas know at this point who you can have on your lap and who you can't. Santa will stand up before you get there if you're too heavy for him. He'll let you know. I meet X amount of guys between 18 and 30 and they never have any problems jumping on Santa's lap! The one thing I rarely do is sit on anybody else's lap. I will only sit on select people's laps because I feel it takes away from the character sometimes.

Minion6667 karma

Can you give us an idea of who's lap you would sit on?

JungleJimBoston17 karma

Sitting on Arnold Schwarzenegger's lap as Santa Claus would be a real treat. I'm a big guy, obviously, so I want to make sure I'm not hurting whoever's lap I would sit on.

krusokat10 karma

How many times have you been urinated on by children?

JungleJimBoston18 karma

I've had the rare fortune of never having been pissed on by a child. This is not through accident. I've attended a few Santa Claus schools, and one of the first things I learned about avoiding children with wet diapers is that if the caregiver walks toward you with the child, arms outstretched, elbows locked, it means they're trying to avoid the child pissing on them. But they have no problem allowing the child to piss on me, and ruin my suit. So what I do in those situations is stand up, calmly explain to the caregiver that Santa will be happy to visit with the child, as soon as their diaper is changed. Then they think I'm psychic, because I somehow knew.

It helps as a Santa Claus that I have ESPN. Other Santas I know have ESPN 2.

muellzy9 karma

Do people sometimes mistake you for the real Santa Claus?

JungleJimBoston39 karma

I am the real Santa Claus. To explain, when I play Santa, I become the real Santa Claus, and when other Santa Claus are Santa Claus, they represent the true spirit of Saint Nick. We all embody him. When kids see Santa Clauses at the convention, you have to explain that there's one real Santa and the rest of them are all helpers, and the kid has to figure it out. That way they don't freak out!

flame2point09 karma

After reading the comments you sound like an awesome embodiment of Saint Nick. Thanks for bringing the joy.

Now, has any kid ever called you out in public, like their parents told them santa was fake and they started questioning you about everything, how did you handle it? If you haven't encountered it, how would you?

JungleJimBoston11 karma

Thanks Flame!

A regular part of the job is handling children who say that I'm either fake or that Santa Claus is not real. A lot of it comes down to the situation I am in. if it's a nine-year-old try get attention in front of a number of four-year-olds I may simply ignore it.

If, however, it's a child who just wants a genuine answer, I will bounce the question back to them: what do they think? Then I let them know that I believe Santa Claus is real (which I do, though that's a bit of a deeper answer but hopefully I'll be able to get into this later).

The best is when children come up to me and tell me that they're Jewish. That gives me the chance to tell them Santa Claus is for everybody. When it's an adult to tell me that their Jewish I talked extensively about hanging out with Hanukkah Harry.

For those of you don't know:


Mattress6669 karma

What is the wreirdest/most interesting experience you had working?

JungleJimBoston9 karma

Actually, I wish I could bring a film crew with me on Christmas Eve. My day starts around noon and wraps up before midnight. A lot of the Santas who do private visits like I do or retirees and won't work Christmas Eve, and certainly not the amount of visits I do.

Most of my visits are 45 minutes to an hour long, and on Christmas Eve I try to be there no longer in 30 minutes. You really don't need Santa Claus longer than that, particularly if you less than 10 children at the event, generally someone's house or home party.

by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, I've already done over 50 visits. I'm tired, I'm looking forward to time off and will have spent more energy in a short period of time than most people do in my profession.

I live in New England, so weather is always a factor, and my challenge lies with getting between visits, with some drives being as long as an hour. For the first couple of years I drove myself, then in the last few years my wife has driven me, and for the first time this year I'm actually hiring a car service because it's too much stress on the both of us.

That being said, the joy of visiting families on Christmas Eve is amazing. The kids are absolutely flipping out when I arrive whether they known coming or not; and the parents are so excited for the kids excitement. A lot of families are together on Christmas Eve, so aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends are altogether. A couple years ago my wife drop me off and pull down the block (I try to never let kids see me getting out of a vehicle, but I can handle it if they do), and from a block away she could hear the cheers and clapping as I came in the door.

Being a Santa Claus on Christmas Eve is a highly recommended endeavor!

CapAnson8 karma

In movies/tv shows it seems like they always portray Santas as being alcoholic losers who can't get any other job, is that common enough to be an actual problem/ and are those Santas shunned by the responsible guys?

JungleJimBoston13 karma

The quick answer is: the only Santas who would ever drink when visiting with children would be those who don't do it on a regular basis. I will say that when I do an event for the first time and I show up and people have never seen me before, I am often offered alcohol and I always respond with "never on duty!"

At the Santa Conventions I've attended, I can't recall meeting any other professional Santas who would drink on the job. Generally drinking Santas are volunteers who offer to be, say, Santa for the office and then they need the "liquid courage." But that would just be my best guess, because I don't run into a lot of folks like that, seeing as I am usually the only Santa in the room.

zaikanekochan8 karma

Who is your favorite band?

JungleJimBoston19 karma

This may sound a bit cheesy, but I really am a fan of Michael Buble.

I also like Coldplay. And the Monkees.

Penguinswin37 karma

First, love the AMA.

Have you ever broke out into song?

What's your favorite so g to sing?

JungleJimBoston22 karma

Hey Penguin!

I love to sing! And believe it or not, this leads me to a funny explanation.

I am a trained baritone, and 10 years ago when I first started playing Santa Claus I naturally added in singing to my repertoire of my Santa Claus appearances.

Here’s where the experience comes in: I sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

If I can, I avoid singing any other song.

The natural one would be “Jingle Bells.” Everyone knows it, it’s nondenominational and upbeat. Here’s why I don’t sing it anymore at Santa appearances: Everyone, including the children, know the first lines (jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!). I sing, the kids sing, the adults saying, the babies sob; it’s a great old time. Then we get to the part with “dashing through the snow.” The kids don’t really don’t know this verse and stop singing. A few seconds later, the adults realize the kids aren’t singing get really self conscious and stop. I am forced to continue in this awkward solo where it appears that Santa Claus is desperately trying to steal all the attention the room when in reality it’s just worse if I stop singing altogether. “Jingle Bells” is just bad news for me.

I had forgotten why I no longer sing or at least start singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

My very first visit this year was a wonderful dad who hired me to drive his new car into the driveway (insert comment here). His three-year-old son was a big fan of Santa Claus, and had a great time when I drove the car in. Then the little boy asked me to sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

When I sing “Rudolph,” during the part about Santa Claus, I always sing in the first person. Its cute, gets a good chuckle and is fun for everybody. Not so much when we get to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

“You’d better watch out, you better not cry,” was not a problem. It was when I started singing “I see you when you’re sleeping, I know when you’re awake.” The little boy was oblivious, but I could tell his parents were uncomfortable and I started sweating bullets in a seemingly an awkward situation. Then my nerves kicked in.

For whatever reason, I start singing “WE know if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sakes.” I sang “WE.” No idea why. I think I even creeped myself out. As if I’m the NSA, which apparently stands for National Santa Agency.

So I do like to sing, but Santa chooses his songs very carefully!

vicorator6 karma

How did you become a fulltime santa, and what do you do inbetween december?

JungleJimBoston11 karma

Hey Vicorator!

The first time I played Santa Claus was in college for my sister’s friends family. Two little girls, I can only imagine the kind of job that I did, but I do remember that they were big believers and it was a very positive visit.

Fast-forward to 2003. I got laid off from my nonprofit job, had won a plane ticket anywhere in the world, and went to Australia for six months to clear my head. That was when I was inspired to become a family entertainer (not a clown), is working with children and making them laugh was one of the only things I thought I knew how to do.

When I first started my company, it was all based on costumed characters (I played Batman, and the fact that my future wife stayed with me after seeing me in spandex on weekends on regular basis lets me know she’s a keeper).

I already played Santa Claus once, and it was a natural fit. My first gig booked was for Logan Airport In Boston. I couldn’t believe they were actually going to pay me to play Santa Claus.

The rest of the year I entertain children at libraries, schools and birthday parties as my alternate ego, Jungle Jim.

doodledeedoodle4 karma

What are your thoughts on the "Waffle House" restaurant chain?

JungleJimBoston7 karma

I used to live in the South, as much as it bothers me, I'm a big fan. It really does come down to the waffles.

LChaos22 karma

How many elves do you have working in your workshop?

JungleJimBoston15 karma

I'd tell you, but then I'd have to gift you.

enteringxghost1 karma


JungleJimBoston10 karma

So I’ve been playing Santa Claus for 10 years. I work with really rich kids, really poor kids and everything in between. I’m actually pretty happy to report that (in my opinion), kids are not more selfish or greedy. It is a different world that we live in, but every generation believes that the generation behind them is much worse. And it’s like anything: you have your great kids and your bratty kids; your really generous kids and your very entitled kids. I probably don’t have the say that the child reflects mostly on the parents.

What the children ask me for is different now than 10 years ago. This year’s mini-iPads; three years ago it was iPhones. Usually it’s simpler items, particularly the younger the children are. And often I have the steer the children towards something because they get quite intimidated in my presence (no pun intended).

I think the thing I would share with you is how touched I am when children ask for something for their sibling who is too shy to tell me what he or she wants; or when they ask for something for a pet, their dolly or a parent. What I think is really terrific, and may come as a surprise, is that oftentimes children are less concerned with what I’m going to bring them and more just excited to meet with me and interact with me.

I don’t think kids are getting more selfish or greedy. I think it’s a little easier to focus on them in this day and age I can tell you there is a single visit I’ve ever had is a Santa Claus where I haven’t met at least one great kid. I would say 75% of my visits I leave delighted by the children I’ve met.

And, just for an example, I used to make a joke with the children I met that they had to save their Halloween candy to share with me next year. I was trying to get a rise out of them, but now I don’t bother with the joke because so many of them are willing to save their candy for me.

AsksRudeThings-12 karma

Why do you let young children sit on your lap all day? You sick bastard.

JungleJimBoston7 karma

Actually, the majority of the younger children won't sit on my lap and that's fine. I encourage my clients to have a chair next to Santa Claus so as to give the children options. Many times when a child is shy simplest thing for them to do is to stand right next to me. If a child is truly frightened, I will often leave the area for a minute, have them sit in my chair and stand behind the chair for a fun pose. This allows the parents to distract them/entertainment and so makes for a good photo.

flavourenhancer621-16 karma

Do you feel bad peddling a lie?

JungleJimBoston14 karma

The magic of being Santa Claus is much more than a black or white truth. The experiences I have with children and the joy that it brings their parents makes me feel good about what I do.