While I have a BA in Theatre and Education, we have attended a number of programs specifically related to being Santa and performing as other characters. I graduated from the International School of Santa Claus with a BA in Santalogy. Other conferences and workshop attended include the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas international conference, Northeast Santas Conferences, Connecticut Society of Santas Workshop Weekends, New England Santa Society conferences and workshops, and International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas international conference..
We provide a range of services related to Santa including personal appearances, phone calls, personal letters from Santa, live video chat via Skype or Facetime, autographed photos, video emails for Santa, gift delivery, and talent for commercials, photo shoots, etc. Santa is available for home visits, business events, holiday parties, tree lightings, fundraising events, photos with Santa, open houses, company parties, photography sessions, parades, special events, speaking engagements, hospital visits, school activities, and anything else. Our other characters are available for birthday parties, children activities, festivals, business events, promotions or other appearances. In this case we design the service and performance around the event and needs of the client.
Start by looking at Santa's website or Facebook page. Check out the photos and see what information is there to answer your questions. Does this seem like a serious endeavor or just somebody wanting to pick up a few extra bucks or have a little fun? Then make a phone call or send an email to get more details if needed. If at all possible, see the performer in action or meet him personally. What does he charge for an appearance? Do prices differ by day of the week or time of day? Are there reduced rates for multiple hours or non profit organizations? Is there added cost for travel or add ons like Mrs. Claus, use of the Santa chair, etc.? Prices do vary greatly based on the day of the week, time of day and Santa to Santa. Keep in mind Santa is in demand only for about a month and he's popular. Supply and demand often dictate pricing. Although the most expensive choice doesn't mean you get the best Santa, remember the adage "You get what you pay for." Many top Santas are paid $200 or more per hour in the New England area on the weekends. That's not to say you can't find excellent Santas for much less but be careful. Book Santa as early as possible. A year in advance is not too early. Most good Santas are invited back year after year so their schedules stay pretty full, especially on weekends. How open is Santa's schedule? If it's seems really open, find out why? Be flexible on when you'd like Santa to visit. You will find it's easier to book if you have a number of days and times available. Spend some time and energy selecting the right Santa. Looks, personality, experience, education and professionalism are all elements to consider. Does he have a good looking beard, natural or artificial? There are some designer beard Santa who have outstanding whiskers that look home grown. Does he wear a clean, quality suit with appropriate accessories? Keep in mind there are many different outfits Santa can wear from formal regal wear to workshop Santa or shorts and sneakers for summer activities. What education and training has he had for the role? Did he attend a Santa school? Is he involved with Santa organizations that provide workshops, training and sharing? What skills and talents can Santa bring to a performance? Is he a storyteller? Does he sing or play an instrument? Can he do magic, balloon twisting, facepainting, origami? What can he bring to your event other than sit and pose for photos? Has Santa had a background check by a reputable organization? Is he insured? Does he have references available? How is the booking process handled? Does he provide a contract? Is a deposit required? What provisions are there if Santa gets sick or can't make a visit? What happens if you have to cancel? Can Santa bring along Mrs. Claus, elves, or other characters? Does he have a Santa chair, a sleigh, or other props? Can Santa provide other services for your event? Does he have photographers who can handle photos with Santa? Does he have singers or musicians he works with? Can he provide candy canes or gifts for an event?