Driving around any part of the country will show you that major malls have faced a steady decline, and that decline is also all over the news. With the holiday season fully underway, it makes sense to wonder how the lack of malls has affected the world of Mall Santas. Surprisingly, that business is still doing well despite the reduction in the number of malls that used to house them. They have just experienced some shifts in their roles.
Some Expanded Into TV and Films
Some of the mall Santas, especially those who are famous and with connections, had already begun expanding into small roles in TV shows and music videos. With malls closing, many experienced mall Santas have been looking into this role.
The Santa Claus Conservatory and a Sense of Community
One of the most famous mall Santas, Ed Taylor, also runs what is called the Santa Claus Conservatory. This conservatory features workshops for people who want to be Santa, either in the retail landscape or for performances.
Additionally, many mall Santas have a strong sense of community with others who play the same role. With the prevalence of social media and the internet, this sense of community is easier. The community of Santas also regularly go out for lunches and socialize with each other.
Doing Private Events and Volunteering
Other mall Santas have transitioned into the world of completing private events, sometimes in addition to volunteer work. Many mall Santas would occasionally do volunteer work as Santa in their free time, even when malls were thriving. Now, these private events and volunteer opportunities let them continue their passion. Many do volunteer work at nursing homes or hospitals, while others stick to private holiday parties.
Working in Other Retail Venues
Even with malls declining, many stores remain, and some of the larger ones opt to hire a Santa to keep the magic going. Many previous mall Santas have found opportunities in these stores.
Most Do Not Do It for the Money
While some of the mall Santas do it as a way to make some extra money during the holiday season, the money is frequently not the primary goal. Many enjoy the social interactions, the sense of community, the acting element, and the smiles they bring to those who are visiting.
Some former mall Santas had even begun moving away from work in malls as it became more about efficiency and less about connections.
The bottom line is that even with malls slowly disappearing, the former mall Santas are here to stay.
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