How agencies sign off on the Santa Clause

CHILDREN will run excitedly to them or cry red-faced while trying to escape their sleighs but like them or not, Santa Clauses are everywhere you look in December.

The tradition of accompanying little children while they tell the white-bearded man what they want for Christmas has been around for years.

And so has taking family photos with Santa at shopping centres.

But it's not a job for everyone.

In fact, shopping centres don't get many applicants for the job, with regular Santas going back for more each year.

"We find our existing Santas will recommend other friends to be Santa as they know exactly what we need," said Elizabeth Comito-Evans, director of RegProm Marketing and Promotions.

The company supplies two or three Santas each year for the Rouse Hill Town Centre and Westfield Parramatta.

Mrs Comito-Evans trains them to interact with children before they start. "Ideal candidates must be jolly and genuinely like children and adults," she said. "A good Santa should like people and believe in the role. Blue eyes and a chubby face are good, too."

Westpoint Blacktown have hired their Santa from CE Imaging for several years.

Operations manager of the company, Brenda Butcher, said they have the same Santas each year and rarely have to advertise for one.

She said pre-requisites for being a Mr Claus impersonator are "personality and looking good in a [red] suit". "They also have to be able to communicate with children," Ms Butcher said. "And we like them to have a belly but not too large or the kids don't fit on his lap."

If you're yet to take your children to meet Santa and capture the magic of Christmas for a frame or card for friends, keep in mind the queues tend to get longer as Christmas approaches. In some centres, the wait can be more than 1.30h on weekends.

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