Creepy Health Risks of Mall Santas

Ho-Ho-Hope the kiddies don’t get colds, influenza, staph …

(Alice G. Walton, FORBES) Tens of thousands of kids sit on Santa’s lap every year in the mall or department store.

Forbes editor Dan Bigman wondered whether mall Santas might pose any health risks.

PREVIOUSLY: ‘Santa’ Survives Aneurysm Scare with Faith, Trust, Amazing Tech

While there’s no hard science on the subject (that I’ve found anyway), considering how many children he comes into contact with every day, it’s certainly plausible.

Among the possibilities, Mall Santa could be a carrier for viruses (the common cold, flu, and stomach flu), bacteria (staph), and larger creepy-crawlies that it’s better not to even think about.

Aside from the organisms your kid might be contracting, the experience of waiting in the mile-long Santa line is enough to stress out any sane adult.

But just as with any other item in the Holiday Unhappiness arena, just breathe through it, and accept it for what it is.

Don’t hope for too much, but don’t freak yourself out preparing for the worst.

And keep in mind the most comforting advice of all: It’ll all be over soon. Read the full story at FORBES.

Best-Kept Secrets of Mall Santas 

A good mall Santa knows where the mall’s secret bathrooms are.


(MENTALFLOSS) Being a mall Santa might seem like a relatively easy job: Put a kid on your lap, ask them what they want for Christmas, pose for a quick photo, and send them on their merry way.

But any Santa who’s done even one season at the mall will tell you the job takes dedication.

“There’s no harder job in all of Christmas than being the mall Santa,” says Paul Sheehan, who is now in his 36th season as a professional Mr. Claus.

“Between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, I had seen over 17,000 kids.”

We spoke with a few professional Kris Kringles about what it’s like being the season’s biggest celebrity.

They know if you’ve been bad or good, and where the mall’s secret bathrooms are

“I refuse to go to the public restroom if it’s at all avoidable,” says RG Holland, one of mall’s men in red. “The whole deal of being Santa, particularly at the mall, is when you’re dressed as Santa you have to stay in character and it’s kinda hard to be in a Santa suit staying in character in front of a urinal.”

They have bodyguards 

Every mall Santa gets an escort when he leaves the set. This is supposed to discourage the mobs of fans from attacking him.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to bleach a beard

While some naturally-bearded Santas are blessed with snowy white bristles, others aren’t so lucky. In that case, bleaching is the best option, but only when it’s done gradually and with great care. “It’s gotta be done in stages,” says Rosenquist. “If you try to go snowy white all at once, you’ll burn your hair and it gets yellow.” Smart Santas begin the coloring process in October in preparation for the holiday season. Read more at MENTALFLOSS.

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