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Carlo Klemm

More to being Santa Claus than Ho-Ho-Ho-ing

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Carlo Klemm

More to being Santa Claus than Ho-Ho-Ho-ing

November 22, 2017

by Kevin Griffin - Vancouver Sun

 

Excerpt - According to Bill Marles, being a good Santa Claus means understanding body language — and keeping an eye on the parents.

Marles, a professional Santa, said that is particularly important when he starts talking to a child sitting on his knee and asks: “Have you been a good boy or girl?’ Some say right away, ‘Yes of course.’ Others, ‘Most of the time.’”

It’s the next question that takes skill in figuring out the psychological landscape: asking the child what they want for Christmas.

“If they say ‘iPhone,’ I say, ‘Have you been really good?’ You also look at the parents.”

At that point, Marles watches how they respond. Is it a nod yes or a shaken head no?

santa-bill1-jpg.jpg?quality=55&strip=all

Marles, 68, has been working as a Santa Claus for hire for the past four years. He is a graduate of Santa School in Calgary and has had a criminal record check by the RCMP.
Not surprisingly, the next few weeks before Christmas is his busiest time of the year. He charges $200 for the first hour and $75 an hour after that.

Of course, not all children are sweet and endearing. Some burst into tears the moment they sit on Santa’s lap.

The sudden emotional outburst doesn’t surprise Marles. He acknowledges that it can be a little intimidating for a child to be placed on the lap of a stranger dressed in black boots and a big red coat and pants fringed with white. 

****

Marles, who worked as a courier for more than 20 years, started thinking about becoming a Santa during an acting class. In a session on typecasting, someone looked at him and said, “Santa Claus.”

Marles said to be a good Santa means liking children and having an outgoing personality. If he is downtown in his Santa Claus outfit, it also means being good natured and going along with adults who maybe have had a few drinks and want to include him in selfies.

The best part of being Santa Claus? The children.

 

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