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18 Things You Probably Don't Know About Working In Santa's Grotto

Of course I've been a good this year.

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1. Santas with real beards are more in demand than those without.


Authentic beards are worth more money. Otherwise, we all have to be on "beard watch" in case Santa's whiskers start to slip.

2. Santa Claus usually arrives at his grotto in October, which means we start celebrating really early.

Instagram: @wetnwildsydney

So by December, we're pretty sick of being festive.

3. And listening to Christmas music on a loop means we know the lyrics to every festive song ever released. Including "Proper Crimbo" by Bo Selecta.


And we always sing along like we are performing on The X Factor final.

4. All babies scream their heads off when they meet Santa.

But their mums always enthusiastically encourage them to "smile for the picture".
Flickr: daveynin / Creative Commons

But their mums always enthusiastically encourage them to "smile for the picture".

5. And there is always one child who will accuse Santa of not being real and try to pull his beard off.

They go straight on the naughty list.
Flickr: developmentseed / Creative Commons

They go straight on the naughty list.

6. Maintaining Christmas cheer at all times is actually quite tiring.

New Line Cinema

Our faces get sore from smiling.

7. But making the kids jealous because we actually know Santa is always fun.

Instagram: @i_am_the_wcdragon

It's like being in the coolest squad ever.

8. Thankfully, elf costumes are optional in the vast majority of grottos.

Instagram: @bumbumbee1986

Which is a relief because pointy shoes are not comfortable if you're on your feet for 10 hours.

9. You do actually have to train to become one of Santa's helpers.

Instagram: @linzi

To work in Arnotts, the largest department store in Dublin, you have to go to Elf school to learn the necessary skills. Until you pass, you're an elf-in-training.

10. Our pay is pretty competitive.

New Line Cinema

Especially if we've been to Elf School. We're normally on more than minimum wage and we get to visit Santa as often as we like.

11. Wrapping Santa's gifts on his behalf means that our friends and families get the most beautiful presents at Christmas.

Instagram: @juliaekstrand

We have amazing skills when it comes to folding edges neatly.

12. It's not just children who visit Santa.

Instagram: @shineymae

A surprising number of couples, as well as groups of friends, come to visit him. But they're usually more concerned with the photograph than the presents.

13. But Santa's not just for humans either.

People also bring their pets to visit Santa. He's had to pose with everyone from dogs to parrots.

People also bring their pets to visit Santa. He's had to pose with everyone from dogs to parrots.

14. Sometimes there's more than one Santa at the grotto.

Instagram: @helse82

In big department stores, there are often at least two Santas working at any time to maximize profits. Swopping them over at lunch so the public don't realise there are more than one of them is a military operation.

15. Every child tells Santa they have been well-behaved.


They may claim that they have been good this year, but sometimes their behaviour before meeting him would suggest otherwise.

16. And they often bring him more than just letters.

Instagram: @mzeltzin12

As well as bringing letters detailing what they would like from Santa, children also give him their dummies, blankets, and bottles.

17. We eat a lot of sweets.

Instagram: @mrscharlotteyard

There's always lots of sweets to offer the children and their parents, but the helpers eat loads of them. It's so hard to resist them when they're just sitting there.

18. And sometimes even Santa and his helpers need a break.

Instagram: @carmen_sky

When Santa and the helpers take their lunch, we have to change back into our normal clothes otherwise children give Santa their letters while he's trying to eat a sandwich. We usually leave a sign at the Grotto saying, "Gone to feed the reindeers".