Christmas is often viewed as being the time of year when you spend money. But there are certain festive roles available that provide the opportunity to make money.
You could get a job as temporary Christmas staff in a bar or restaurant, for example. Or, you might consider working in your local supermarket over the holiday season. Or, if you really want to get into the Christmas spirit while making money, a mall Santa may be the job for you.
But what does it take to be a Santa Claus? And how much money can you earn? In this article, we’ll reveal all.
If you sign up with an agency, you can earn a day rate of between £100 and £200 working in a department store or shopping centre as a Father Christmas. Jobs posted online tend to pay less than this, with adverts usually offering between £6 and £8 per hour — however, some offer up to £15 per hour.
It is important to weigh up what you could earn with your potential costs, such as your costume, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and travel expenses. An agency will usually cover these costs for you, but if you are self-employed and applying online or at a job centre, do bear in mind that you will need to pay for them yourself.
Continue reading to find out more about working as a Santa.
How much Income Tax do Santas pay?
The amount of Income Tax you pay working as a Santa depends on how much you’re earning.
The tax you pay is based on which band your total income falls into. Note that this is your total income, meaning it includes any money you get from working other jobs, renting out property, certain grants and pensions and trusts.
Here are the 2022/23 Income Tax bands for England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
|Tax band||Taxable income||Tax rate|
|Personal Allowance||Up to £12,570||0%|
|Basic Rate||£12,571 and £50,270||20%|
|Higher Rate||£50,271 to £150,000||40%|
|Additional Rate||More than £150,000||45%|
The 2022/23 Income Tax bands for Scotland are:
|Tax band||Taxable income||Tax rate|
|Personal Allowance||Up to £12,570||0%|
|Starter rate||£12,571 to £14,732||19%|
|Basic rate||£14,733 to £25,688||20%|
|Intermediate rate||£25,689 to £43,662||21%|
|Higher rate||£43,663 to £150,000||41%|
|Top rate||more than £150,000||46%|
How do you get a job as a Santa?
You can get a job as a Santa Claus by either going through an agency like The Ministry of Fun or applying for positions advertised on websites such as Indeed, Reed, Gumtree and Total Jobs, as well as local newspapers.
If you are applying online, you will usually need to fill in the application form, attach your CV and cover letter and wait to hear back. Because the job involves working with children, you will also be required to get a DBS check. A DBS check is a way for employers to check your criminal record and decide whether you are right for the job. The certificate you get once the check has been done lasts for three years.
To apply for a job as a Santa through an agency, get in touch with them via phone or email and send them your CV and cover letter. Some will want to see evidence of acting, performing, or some other type of entertainment work (even if it’s just amateur dramatics) on your CV, as well as some photos of you in your Santa suit. Remember to add any other skills you might have, such as singing, juggling, balloon modelling, magic tricks or unicycling, as this will help with your application and can help you get other jobs in the future. If successful, you will then be invited for an interview.
What is the Ministry of Fun?
The Ministry of Fun is one of the main Santa agencies. While it is based in London, it finds Santa and elf jobs for people across the country.
The agency offers a diverse array of Santa jobs, some of which include:
- Nightclub bookings, where Santa gives out presents to clubbers
- Santa performing tricks on a bicycle or unicycle
- Department store or shopping centre grotto work, where children line up to meet Santa and receive presents
- Santa photo shoots
Outfits are provided by the agency, but if you can afford to buy your own, you will be in a position to accept private work too. We’ll take you through your costume options in the next section.
What does being a Santa involve?
As a Santa, your job is to entertain both children and adults at shopping centres, department stores, parties and nightclubs.
You will usually need to be available for work during the day (or evenings if your work involves parties or nightclub events) from early November until at least Christmas Day.
If you are serious about becoming a Santa, you may want to consider enrolling on a training course. The Ministry of Fun runs Santa schools each year, and there’s also Stuart Thompson’s Santa School for people who live in the North of England. These courses will teach you the history of Santa, and you’ll get voice, costume and makeup training.
Santa work is ideal for actors and those who enjoy other types of performance work, but it can be enough just to be outgoing and like working with children. Any specialist skills, such as juggling or magic tricks, can give you an advantage, though.
What qualities does a good Santa need?
Ideally, a good Santa will fit the following description:
- Full of Christmas cheer
- Comfortable with being the centre of attention
- Ability to act
- Presentation skills
- A loud, clear voice
- Enjoys working with children
- Has the right look (white hair, a beard and a big tummy)
Where can I get a Santa costume from?
If you need to source your own Santa suit, you have a couple of options, depending on how seriously you are taking your job.
If you want to make a career out of being a Santa Claus, you should see your costume as an investment. You will want to go for a high-quality red suit and proper boots rather than boot tops (which slip over your shoes). This can mean spending hundreds of pounds, but it will ensure you look as convincing to children as possible.
If you only want to play Santa Claus as a one-off, it makes more sense to choose something cheaper so you’re not eating into your earnings. You can still get a decent Santa suit for less than £50 by shopping around online fancy dress shops and sites like Amazon and eBay.
However much you decide to spend on your costume, be sure to check what’s included (as you may need to buy your wig and beard separately) and think about adding extra details, like spectacles and belly padding, for extra authenticity.
What would Santa earn if he were a real person?
According to a 2019 study, if Father Christmas were a real person, his job title would be Chief Executive Officer (CEO), meaning he would earn about £120,000 per year. On top of that, he would get a £30,000 bonus, provided all 2.2 billion children across the globe received a present on Christmas morning.
This means that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Santa would pay £52,460 in Income Tax for the tax year 2022/23 (he would be in the Higher Rate tax band, meaning he pays tax at 40 per cent on income over £12,570). In Scotland, he would also be in the Higher Rate tax band, but here it is 41 per cent on income over £12,570. This means he would pay £55,076.62 in Income Tax for the 2022/23 tax year.
What other Santa-type jobs are there?
If you are a female looking for a job as a Santa Claus, you may be at a disadvantage because most people who are hired to work as a Santa are males.
As an alternative, you might consider applying for a job as a Mrs Claus or an elf instead. The way you apply is similar to applying to be a Santa: You will need to approach agencies, upload your CV to online job boards, take photos of yourself in your costume and get a DBS check.
Acting ability and entertainment skills like magic tricks, balloon modelling and face-painting will also give you an advantage.
If you sign up to work as a Santa through an agency, you can expect to earn a day rate of between £100 and £200. Jobs posted online tend to pay less than this, with adverts usually offering between £6 and £8 per hour. Some, however, offer up to £15 per hour. It is important to weigh up what you could earn with your potential costs, such as your costume, a DBS check and travel expenses. An agency will usually cover these costs for you, but if you are self-employed, you will need to pay for them yourself. The amount of Income Tax you pay working as a Santa depends on how much you’re earning. The tax you pay is based on which band your total income falls into.
If Santa were a real person, his job title would likely be Chief Executive Officer (CEO), meaning he would earn about £120,000 per year. On top of that, he would get a £30,000 bonus, provided all 2.2 billion children across the globe received a present on Christmas morning. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Santa would pay £52,460 in Income Tax for the tax year 2022/23. In Scotland, he would pay £55,076.62 in Income Tax for the 2022/23 tax year.