Malls, department stores, and organizations that have a Santa Claus for the public around Christmas often employ a elf to usher kids in and out and to look out for Santa’s best interests -meaning, he or she takes the heat for any disruptions, to preserve Santa’s magic reputation. Christmas elves have other duties depending on the job. Zach is an elf who also takes pictures of Santa with each child.
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You’ve got to like kids in this job. Honestly, it’s cool to see them get excited or nervous to see Santa. A lot of them really do cry, especially the little ones! I take the pictures as well, and you’ve got to be good at taking the picture at the exact moment — that’s when you get the least-bad picture if a kid just won’t stop crying. Sometimes if they’re on the verge of crying, if you just shoot quickly and distract them, you can get a surprisingly good shot.
Most of the parents are actually pretty nice, although the Santa I work with told me that parents will get more irritable as it gets closer to Christmas. A few of them are super controlling with their kids, but most parents just think it’s cute to see their kid sitting on Santa’s lap — you can tell it’s sometimes a bigger deal for the parents.
It’s a niche job, but very public. Read about the experiences of three seasonal elves at Mel magazine. -via Digg