What's fresh

Father Christmas, Santa, Saint Nic, Sinterkalus.

A quick scan shows even at this late stage in December there are at least 40 vacancies across London for the most noble and well-known of seasonal jobs.

So what does it take to take to be one of Saint Nick’s local representatives?

The requirements range from the blindingly obvious to the whimsical and cynical and are surprisingly varied. The only word that recurred in almost every advert was “jolly”.

One advert taking a rather traditional stance explains that their “ideal candidate will be jolly, confident, good with children and available throughout December”. All sounds fair enough - but I can’t imagine they get many applicants who hate children and can’t start till March!
Another insisted that the candidates be “witty, hardworking, jolly and capable of bringing the magic alive” which is probably more reflective of quite how difficult a job it must be to do well. In fact, John Lewis’ reigning Santa said in an interview “you don’t do Santa, you have to be Santa”. This particular gentleman starts growing his beard in May every year in preparation and states that it’s the most satisfying work he ever does.

My two favourite ads were two of the shortest. The first simply reading, “looking for a gentleman with a jolly demeanour” is wonderfully succinct and sums up everything you really need to know about the job, as well as including the mandatory jolly requirement. The other favourite (hopefully tongue in cheek) was “looking for an unshaven, clinically obese man past his prime to lie to children”.

You don’t have to be the finished product for a lot of them…

“…full training is provided. Beards and bellies can be supplied...” says one, before adding “…but we offer a bonus for a real beard.” Presumably offering a bonus for a real belly would seriously contravene health and safety requirements!

Sadly I didn’t find a single job description asking for a Santa who can scan an unquantifiable amount of data to determine who falls within naughty or nice parameters, oversee the world’s most complex supply chain, manage thousands of elves, bend space and time and climb down chimneys. Either the top job is still taken, or retained by an Executive Search firm. Either way that particular promotion is beyond my reach.