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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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It's like being in the coolest squad ever.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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".

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