Once upon a time, I was a Santa’s helper at the mall.
Although initially slightly depressed I was taking a retail, seasonal job post-college it actually was a very rewarding experience I continued for a few years.
I gained customer service experience (applicable to so many work and life situations); I honed my skills for dealing with children; and I was able to master keeping calm under hectic, crazy conditions, like when there’s a 30 foot long line, and you have not one or two, but three or four or five crazy, crying children in front of you, and you have to get a decent picture with all of them looking and smiling at the same time.
Most of all, I learned how to step outside of my comfort zone, being so out there in the open. In Santa Land, there is no hiding behind a bookshelf or a clothing rack like at other stores in the mall. There is no ducking into your safe cubicle like in an office job. You are out there, front and center, for all to see.
The first year I started working at Santa Land was also the first year I started dating my now husband. We took a picture with Santa, thinking it was cute, and why not, since I worked there. And it’s just sort of continued every year since.
Do we people think we are nuts? Probably. Is anyone enjoying this other than our moms? Maybe not.
But here we are, in the open, stepping out of the comfort zone, out there for all to see, year after merry year.
If you’re local to me – Albany area, New York – these were taken by Jim and Julie of Capital Photo at Crossgates Mall. They’re a really excellent team who have been doing this for many years.
They choose the best Santas, who also tend to stick around for many years, as you can probably tell by the above photos – only one was a different Santa.
Not that there’s more than one, of course.