When a child is good at Christmas, they get gifts. But what does a good Santa get?
The answer is… paid more.
A new survey from Payscale examined just how much mall and department store Santas get paid during the holidays. According to the salary comparison site, a good Santa Claus can make as much as $75 an hour. In fact, this is the 75th percentile of pay.
To earn that higher hourly rate, however, Santa really has to step up his game. Earning the big bucks requires more than just posing for photos with screaming toddlers. No, being a good Santa is all about connecting with children and customers. He must possess what Payscale calls, “that intangible, magical Christmas experience.”
To further define what makes a good Santa, Payscale referenced the recruitment standards from Nordstrom, a company known for having long lines to meet Santa. Their criteria states that, “the ideal Santa Claus is outgoing and committed to providing outstanding customer service by interacting with children and families in a warm, sincere and professional manner and uses patience and kindness to solve customer related problems.”
In other words, he can’t be a Grinch.
If a Santa is average, the median salary is $30 an hour. If he needs a major attitude adjustment, pay could be as low as $15 an hour, the 5th percentile.
Payscale’s data comes from 49 mall or department store Santas who are seasonal contract workers clocking in 30 hours a week. Though, 10% reported working more than 50 hours a week.
No word on how much Mrs. Claus gets paid, but we’ll assume it’s 79 cents for every dollar her husband makes.
Brittany Jones-Cooper is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.