Santa's Helper, Dartmouth, NS - 23 September 2017
I worked as a "Santa's Helper" for two consecutive Christmas seasons. The job involves working with 1-3 other people (depending on the expected customer volume) in short, 3-5 hour shifts. Stations include line (chatting up folks waiting in line, coloring with kids at the coloring table, answering questions anyone waiting might have), line head (talking to the family at the head of the line and finding out children's names, ages, what they want for Christmas, etc to tell Santa before bringing the kids up to meet him), photography (taking the photos of kids with Santa on a laptop hooked up to a camera and controlling lights, putting photos on USBs and handing them off), and assistance (assisting any other stations as needed). You work without management supervision and generally without breaks due to the short shifts, and must wear red/green/white with the option of black pants - Christmas accessories are strongly encouraged. The way things run is very relaxed. Pay is above minimum wage.
The first year was good, management was helpful and supportive, shifts were frequent with just enough days off, everyone got along. The second year management had changed and become fairly aggressive and critical, shifts were too frequent - I had two scheduled days off throughout the entire season - and everyone I spoke to agreed they would not be returning next year. One Santa we had didn't seem to be remembering children's names, was grumpy and a sometimes rude, and often came with his costume poorly put on. Because he'd been working as Santa for several years management refused to consider our concerns.