SantaI found out on Friday that my barber has been one of Santa's helpers at the mall for the last sixteen years. She started when she was still in high school.
Protip: when you're a mall Santa, and you have two fifteen-year-old girls on your lap, do not say "Smile if you're horny" when the picture is taken. You will immediately be told to pack your crap in your Santa bag and leave in your sled.
Also, don't drink too much water. That's a problem, because to go to the bathroom, Santa has to take off his entire outfit (and padding), and that's quite time-consuming. So if you want to go to the bathroom, that's a 20-minute task.
Some Santas treat the helpers poorly. Star syndrome.
One year, Santa's were being switched out, and Santa (with a real white beard) was walking out in his street clothes as the next Santa was standing there in his Santa outfit. They stood next to each other for a moment, talking, and a small boy (about six) saw them and his life literally melted before his eyes. He stood there, mouth open, unable to process what he was seeing.
"It's okay, dear," said the helper elf. "That's Santa's brother--Carl."
If Carl ever writes a book about his brother Santa, that's a Day One purchase for me.