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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, 12/12/11
Racked: When did you begin Santa-ing?
Santa: Well, I sorta began preparing for this Santa business most of my life. This is my third actual season as an in-the-suit Santa, but my whole life my wife and I, the things we've done around Christmas time and everything has sort of prepared us to get in the mood and to enjoy this time of year.
Racked: How long did it take you to grow your beard?
Santa: I've had a short beard since I was 23 years old working in construction. As I got older my beard, what hair didn't turn loose, turned white and gray and that's what sort of got this whole thing started. My wife and I were in a store one year around Christmas time and she'd bought me a little red Santa hat, she had a green one, and we were just enjoying the holidays and a little girl came up, pulled on my pant leg, and started telling me what she wanted for Christmas. And that's what got this whole ball rolling.
Racked: How do you maintain your beard?
Santa: Well, it's quite a bit of work to keep the conditioning so it stays full and soft and white. Some of my roots are still a little bit dark so we have to bleach that out. It takes quite a bit of work but I maintain it year-round anymore.
Racked: What's your favorite snack (aside from milk and cookies)?
Santa: Well actually it is a cookie, it's a potato-chip cookie. My wife's special recipe—it is unbelievably good.
Racked: What's the oddest present request you've ever received?
Santa: Well, that I can say on tape, I guess the neatest one has been when little boys and girls come in and ask for little brothers and sisters. I tell moms and dads that I can make the delivery but somebody else has gotta place the order.
Racked: What's the most popular present(s) this year?
Santa: The most popular boy's request is Legos and the most popular girl's request is Barbie Princess.
Racked: Where does Mrs. Claus like to shop?
Santa: Anywhere there's a sale.
Racked: How do you prepare for a day of work?
Santa: I get up early, eat a good breakfast and just try to get myself in the mood. I listen to a lot of Christmas music, a lot of motivational type stuff, and try to get in the mood. And for what I do, it's not a lot of work to do cause you come in and you get so much energy from these children. That's the part that I guess was unexpected for me. I thought I was going to become Santa in order to bring joy to children but the unexpected part was how much joy they bring to me. It's so rewarding.
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