Everyone loves Santa.
OK, that might not be entirely true, but nothing can turn a “Bah, humbug!” into a smile faster than Santa. Even more surprising is that Santa can bring joy to adults as well. Having a Santa at your special holiday event, be it for work or a private event, is a great way to get all your attendees in the holiday spirit.
But you knew all this already, that’s why you want to have a Santa at your holiday party. The problem is, you’ve never hired a Santa before. You’re not sure what questions to ask, or even where to start looking. Well, Merry Christmas. In this short post, we’ll give you a quick primer of how to hire a Santa, what questions to ask, and even a slew of links below to get you started in your quest for the perfect jolly old man.
Are you really Santa Clause?
Before heading out into the great white north of the internet looking for your perfect Santa, it may help to put together a mental image of what you’re looking for. Santa’s may look different depending on what corner of the world you’re in. We will focus on the North American Santa. Depending on your guests or theme, it may be worth researching different Santa’s. So, let’s list out what Santa should look like;
- Big White Bushy Beard
- Shiny Black Boots
- Rosy Cheeks
- Big red coat with white trim
- Wide Black Belt
- A sack full of toys.
With that out of the way, now we can proceed to more important things like…
Tug on my beard on more time and I swear to Blitzen!!…
This is pretty easy, but those in the know want big bushy whiskers like snow. Santa’s who have committed to a big white bushy beard will command more in asking price than those who strap their beards on one ear hook at a time. They do end up suffering from a lot of little boys and girls tugging on it and asking “Is that beard real?”
A bowl full of jello or a stick of beef jerky?
While most people think of Santa as a big jolly dude, there are many other Santa’s out there. Specialty Santa’s are indeed a thing, and if you can think of it you can probably find it. Charles Atlas Santa’s, Bad Santa Santa’s, Girl Santa’s, the list goes on and on. In these cases, it may be easier to find what you’re looking for through your trusted talent agency and then see if the model will dress up like Santa.
While this may cost extra, you will probably save time and sanity in the long run versus scouring the internet for the one special Santa.
Which way to the north pole?
Channeling the spirit of Robert Peary and trecking up to the north pole may be one way to find a Santa, but there are easier ways. Unfortunately, standing in line for the Santa at your local mall and asking if he’s free next Friday is probably not going to be your best bet either. While you do have the upside of being able to see and hear him, his contract (yes, even Santa has a legal department) may stipulate he can only appear at that location for the duration of his stay.
This is a great one-stop shop for any type of entertainment. You can put in a request for and let the talent come to you. We use Gigmasters all the time here at Griffin Live. Don’t be surprised if your gig for Santa gets a few responses that might not meet the requirements of the gig.
This list is by no means comprehensive, and some of the links above had out of date content on them. It still does take a little searching if you’re going to hire your own Santa. This is where a talent agent may come in handy, just know that you will be paying a little extra for them to do the booking and searching for you.
Also, if you have a resource we haven’t listed feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below so we can add it to our list!
If Donner doesn’t know his lines, why should I?
One of the most important things to have thought out beforehand is what Santa will be doing to do at your event. Will he be sitting in a chair and taking photos? Do you want Santa to do walk around magic? Maybe Santa comes down from the zip line in the ceiling singing Rudolph the red nose reindeer before landing behind a DJ booth and slamming the latest Martin Garrix tunes. We all know that event ideas can be out there, so it helps to have your Santa’s role in your event fleshed out before calling a few up. It would be a big shock to a Santa who thought he was taking some photo’s with the kids when a stagehand handed him a full body harness and said: “when you have that on, climb up there.”
Knowing what you want your Santa to do doesn’t have to be so complex that it needs a full production schedule or cue sheet, but a general idea will help you find a great Santa who is amenable to your event vision.
Are the Reindeer Extra?
According to payscale.com the average Santa can earn between $175 to $200 per hour. The closer you get to Christmas day, the higher those average earnings go up, with Santa’s on Christmas Eve and Christmas day looking to earn between $175 to $300 dollars per hour. While this isn’t exact, it’s a good starting point to know if you’re getting the honest to goodness Santa or a cheap knock-off that’s going to run away with the secret ingredient in your Christmas Punch.
Going back to our post on bidding, this may be a great time to get some free education on hiring Santa’s by going straight to the source and bidding them out. Knowing the average price per hour of a Santa gives you a lot more free reign to mine for both knowledge, availability, and prices. You can get more information, ask all the questions you want, and probably learn something along the way for the next time you need to hire a Santa.
Sometimes Santa will work with a Mrs. Clause. Make sure to ask if there is a Mrs. Clause, and decide if that suits your event’s vision. Also, make sure to ask if Mrs. Clause is included in the price or if she is extra. Would that be a Mrs. Claus clause?
Check References, Check References, Check References!
Do you recall, the most important stipulation to finding a great Santa of all? Once you have found the perfect Santa ask him to provide references, and then follow up on those references. Some folks advice cross-referencing Santa’s information with criminal records databases, especially if this is a party or event where children will be present. If the references seem shaky, or you get a funny feeling about your Santa, digging around a little might be worth it. It may be easier just to move on from Santa with shakey references than to go through all the trouble of pulling a Magnum P.I. on your guy. Trust your gut when it comes to these situations.
Getting a great Santa for your holiday event shouldn’t be harder than slipping down a chimney, and following some of the guidelines above should make your holiday Santa search as easy a flying with Rudolph’s bright and shiny nose on a snowy night!