Help wanted, male, age 30-60. Must be jovial with large belly. Apply here.
It’s not the average job description that you’ll find in the wanted ads, but as Andy Williams says it is the “most wonderful time of the year” and malls are scrambling to fill their Santa Claus and elf vacancies in time for the holiday season.
“We usually see about 10-20 calls for Santa Claus on Gumtree in November already, but it picks up in December,” says Claire Cobbledick, head of marketing for Gumtree South Africa. Most Clauses are employed by large shopping malls, but Christmas markets and charities are also in need.
Payment and job descriptions tend to vary, says Cobbledick. “It’s probably the only job description that requires you to be jolly. Or that prescribes the size of your waistline for that matter.”
Age is not a factor, although retirees above middle age have the advantage when it comes to fulfilling the role. It’s not an easy job, though. “Most Santas have to work long retail hours for two weeks straight, which includes the holidays and the crowds that come with it. Not to mention the rather warm winter suit …”
That doesn’t deter the candidates though. “These job ads receive a lot of attention – an average of 100 views and 20 to 40 replies,” says Cobbledick.
According to a Gumtree survey, the average Claus receives about R250 to R500 per day for spreading holiday cheer. “This could include listening to Christmas wishes (and of course, making them come true), chatting to shoppers about promotions and posing for photo ops with little fans.”