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Olga Zeveleva
December 2017.
1

What does a regular day in the life of Santa look like?

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I go to pick up my costume because it's usually cleaned at nights, then I go to whatever location I'm at. They give me a contract, so you know how long the hours are, what you're doing and where. It's usually 1-1.5 hour contract. In the mall I spend 6 hours every Saturdays and Sundays. 

Most of the time I dress up and go out in costume, going or driving to where I have to go. In certain parts of the city, even in Queens where I live, I don't feel safe walking around in a Santa Claus costume. So I'll just carry around the red sack with my stuff. When I do the parties usually the hosts have gifts for me to hand out with notes about the children so you know what they want me to tell them, like 'you have to brush your teeth more' or 'you have to listen to your parents' or 'you're not praying enough' – I have to be the hammer of justice, I have to make sure all these kids are behaving themselves.

In the mall basically I just sit in that chair for six hours from 12 to 6. I give myself a 10 minute break at around 3:00pm to get some food or something. Usually I have to go to Starbucks. I made friends with them and they always know what Santa wants. And I'm walking around in the mall. You've got to be ready to take pictures, to wave at every kid, every person – you're always in character. It's been the most time I've spent in any character. Sometimes I even feel like Santa Claus, and sometimes when I'm not in my costume I walk around the streets and wave at people and smile at everyone and sometimes I hohoho to myself. I get into the character a bit too much.

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