Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Mall Santas are iconic, a harbinger of the Christmas season and a kitschy mainstay of shopping centers across the country. This year, we sat down with a few LA-based Santas to ask them some tough questions. It's Time for Santa.
Elizabeth Daniels, 12/8/11
Racked: When did you begin Santa-ing?
Santa: Oh, hundreds of years ago. It's been really a long haul.
Racked: How long did it take you to grow your beard?
Santa: I can't remember ever being without it. It's been hundreds of years.
Racked: And how do you maintain it?
Santa: I shower and I brush it out real nice and I blow dry it sometimes...not all the time, though.
Racked: Aside from milk and cookies, what's your favorite snack?
Santa: Oh I would have to say that'd be the Wetzel's Pretzels. I'm sorry, I'm losing my voice. Lots of talking. Children, you know.
Racked: What's the oddest present request you've received this year?
Santa: One little girl, she said right back to me, "Santa, what would you like for Christmas?" I thought that was so darling. And I'm always amazed at the children who at five years old ask for an iPad.
Racked: What are the most popular presents this year?
Santa: Oh, I would say the Apple iPad. And anything 3-D from Sony. And the latest trends like H&M and Forever 21. Anything that sparkles and shines.
Racked: Where does Mrs. Claus like to shop?
Santa: Lot of times Macy's and Bloomingdale's and she's always got a wish list for Tiffany.
Racked: Did you already buy her present?
Santa: Nothing's been done yet. I've been so busy with the children.
Racked: How do you prepare for a day's work?
Santa: Always like to have my boots shined, my uniform looks clean, and I do a little shaving around the perimeter of my beard, and brush my teeth of course. The children have to see a clean Santa.
Want to meet Santa? He'll be at the Ice Palace in Center Court on Level 6 of the Beverly Center from noon to 8pm through December 23 and from 11am to 6pm December 24. Photo packages range from $20 to $45.