Santa Claus' side gig: How much money Saint Nick could bring home this season

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It's the time of year when Santa Claus finds himself at malls and community centers across America with the sole mission of sparking holiday joy within young children ahead of the big day. 

It's a big job, but data shows Santa gets compensated quite well for his efforts. 

The average annual salary for this gig is $47,564 as of Dec. 13, according to ZipRecruiter. In other words, that's about $22.87 an hour. 

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The only caveat is that Santa's mall gig only lasts between early November through Christmas. However, during the holiday season malls usually require Santa to sit in his chair for shifts lasting upward of six to 12 hours, depending upon the mall's hours of operation and the employer, according to Monster.com. 

A shot of the Dallas, Texas holiday parade.  (HireSanta)

At just over $22 an hour, Santa can rake in more than $274 for one 12-hour shift. But, Mitch Allen, founder of HireSanta.com, says that figure is on the lower end of the spectrum.

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Allen's company recently acquired Santa Claus and Co. to become the oldest Santa Claus staffing company in the U.S. 

Allen and his team work with companies and individuals to bring Christmas to life in part by staffing Santa for Christmas parties, community events and across various malls throughout the country and in some cases, worldwide. Allen also staffs Mrs. Claus, elves and mascot entertainers. 

A Santa working a full season at a mall, for example, can bring in between $5,000 and $12,000, according to Allen. 

"It can be good supplemental income for these gentlemen during the season,"Allen said. 

HireSanta helps companies and people book an authentic Santa Claus. (HireSanta)

Even Santas that work holiday parties and do home visits "can earn a similar amount of money" if they work a lot of events during the season, Allen added. 

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The demand for such Santas has also surged over the past holiday season. Allen said he was getting hundreds of calls from people asking them to staff an event each day. 

Allen estimated that demand in the U.S. for Santas surged more than 20% from last year and more than 120% from pre-pandemic levels. 

In fact, people have already started booking Santa for next year, he said. 

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