Saying “ho,ho, ho” is practically a Christmas miracle, given the job woes that shopping mall and store Santas face each day, according to a survey released on Monday.
Santas get sneezed upon up to ten times a day, fend off children pulling their beards and mop up after children who frequently wet their laps, according to the survey of hundreds of men who work as seasonal Santa Claus characters.
A third of all Santas reported having been wet on by a child, the survey said.
More than 60 percent of Santas said they were sneezed or coughed upon up to 10 times each day, and three-quarters said they have up to 10 children cry while sitting on their laps every day, it said.
Nearly 90 percent of Santas said children pull their beard every day to see if it’s real, and nearly half said children try to pull their glasses off every day as well, it said.
Santas can suffer back strain from lifting children, exposure to contagious illnesses and overheating in their heavy Santa suits, said Timothy Connaghan, head of the Santa association.
“There is more to it than just sitting in a chair. There is more to it than just a red suit,” said Connaghan, who has worked as a Santa for 38 years. “Children can really put the wear and tear on you.”
More than three-quarters of the children say they have been good during the year, but only half the Santas believe the children are telling the truth, the survey said.
The survey was conducted for Auntie Anne’s Inc., a Gap, Pennsylvania-based franchiser with more than 900 Auntie Anne’s Pretzels locations, primarily in shopping malls, nationwide. It was conducted online by Brand IQ of 339 members of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas.