Is Santa Naughty or Nice? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/9/03

Is Santa Naughty or Nice?

One by one they line up to see the man of the season, whispering all their wants for Christmas this year. He's mystical, and magical, an image that lights up the faces of many, and sometimes scares a few too, nut underneath that big red hat and suit is a man full of patience and love.

"What does it take to be Santa Claus? A lot of patience, probably the patience of Old Job, because you just gotta go with everything. Some will come to you and others are scared, so you just have to have patience," said Santa Claus.

Santa Claus, of the South Plains Mall, said his calling for this job came when his beard turned white  many years ago. But now 15 years into his role, he can't imagine being anyone else. "When I put the suit on my personality changes, just for the love of these kids, they're great," said Santa Claus.

But how do parents know that when their child hops onto Santa's lap, they aren't getting a dirty Santa like the one portrayed in the new movie Bad Santa.

The South Plains Mall uses a contract out through a national photo company and they are responsible for the whole hiring process and they do a stringent background checks and security screens on all "Santas".

South Plains Mall Marketing Assistant Sarah Prince says this company is responsible for hiring Santa at 350 malls nationwide. The screening includes, a background check which includes criminal history, the candidate must have a friendly nature with children and maybe the most important, the beard has to be real.

"It's important, of course, for the children's sake, that's what Santa is here for to make sure they have an enjoyable time and a good memory", Prince said.

Santa Claus is also hanging out at KingsGate on every Saturday leading up to Christmas, and they too did some background checking before he and his helper were welcomed.

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