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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, 12/21/11
Racked: When did you begin Santa-ing?
Santa: I'd say back in the '80s, '83 or '84. We used to go to the desert dune buggying and out there I was known as Sandy Claus. S-A-N-D-Y, because there's so much sand out there. I started going from camp to camp whenever we would be out there [as Santa].
Racked: How long did it take you to grow your beard?
Santa: Well, I've never shaved it off [laughs]. I have four 22-year-old grandchildren who've never seen me without my beard.
Racked: How do you maintain it?
Santa: Of course, showering and then conditioners, things like that. And by giving it a trim.
Racked: What's your favorite snack (aside from milk and cookies)?
Santa: My wife's tacos. Either beef or chicken. She makes the best in town.
Racked: What's the oddest present request you've ever received?
Santa: You know, I can't remember one. I've gotten the one where someone asked for trillions of dollars. And every once and awhile, a young lady comes and asks for a Rolls Royce or a Mercedes Benz. Usually what I will do, if someone is with them, I'll tell them to go down and buy a matchbox Mercedes Benz or Rolls Royce and give it to her from Santa. And they enjoy that.
Racked: What's the most popular present(s) this year?
Santa: Oooh, gosh. This year, I don't know. I haven't seen any trends.
Racked: Where does Mrs. Claus like to shop?
Santa: Wherever there's something for sale [laughs]. She likes Bloomingdale's.
Racked: How do you prepare for a day of work?
Santa: I usually pray for guidance in handling the children. That I don't misread them because it's a serious time for them. I don't want to be shoving them away and not worrying about them.
· A Woman Asked Santa at Westfield Topanga For a Husband [Racked]
· Santa at the Glendale Galleria Motivates With Christmas Music [Racked]
· Santa at the Beverly Center Fields Requests for iPads [Racked]