Despite naughty, Santahood can be nice

Marketplace Staff Dec 24, 2007
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Despite naughty, Santahood can be nice

Marketplace Staff Dec 24, 2007
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Doug Krizner: It’s the last day of work for Santa’s stand-ins at shopping mall’s across the country. As Scott Shafer reports, their life isn’t all milk and cookies.


Scott Shafer: Most of the year, Charles Jennings works as a Merchant Marine in the San Francisco Bay Area. But during the holidays, you’ll find him for hire on Craigslist as “Santa Charles”.

Jennings has his own Hire a Santa business called — somewhat ominously — “You Better Be Good”. At age 34, Jennings is a bit young to be Santa. But it has its upside: Occasionally, he gets hit on by women.

Charles Jennings: Sometimes, they’re just extremely raunchy. They’re just straightforward. They say, “Do you have anything for Santa?” And I say, “I’m sorry, you know — Santa’s a very happily married man,” and “Try the Easter Bunny.”

Not all the overtures are so flattering. Over the years, Jennings says he’s been punched, spit on and threatened. Someone even stole his poinsettas.

But Jennings will get the last ho, ho, ho. He says he’s had 40 gigs this season, hauling in up to $10,000 in Christmas cash.

I’m Scott Shafer for Marketplace.

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