Santa Secrets

Santa Claus is more than an institution: He's big business. There are thousands of Santas working in shopping malls and other venues. For their trouble, these Kris Kringles earn anywhere from $6 to $37 an hour, with those sporting genuine white beards (more convincing and resistant to young hands) commanding the most money. In some spots, Santa is high-tech: His helper relays info from the line to his ear receiver, so he can greet a youngster familiarly and create Yuletide magic.

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