Truesee's Daily Wonder

Truesee presents the weird, wild, wacky and world news of the day.

Monday, December 21, 2009


With this job no fears of a layoff

With this job, no fears of a layoff


Published: Monday, December 21, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 10:48 p.m.

Herald Tribune

In Sarasota, Santa Claus works for the U.S. Census.

At least during the week.

On weekends, 62-year-old Mike Linn wears a red wool suit at the Westfield Southgate shopping mall. He looks the part, with a stout frame, pale blue eyes and a full white beard.

And he loves playing Santa.

"It's hours of fun punctuated by moments that cut out your heart," he said. "You know, when kids ask that their parents don't get divorced, things like that."

When there are no children at his station in the mall, Linn makes wooden toys at a workbench. He carves yo-yos out of maple and reindeer out of black walnut.



When Terri Lynn Cordes and her kids visited Southgate for photos with Santa, they got a kick out of his woodcarving.

"I think it's great," Cordes said. "It adds authenticity, definitely."


Family history

Linn grew up in Indiana. Yes, he visited Santa Claus as a child.

"In Indianapolis, the primo Santa, you rode a train to see him," he said. "That was cool."

Later, Linn moved to Chicago, working for a company that produced catalytic converters. He was also a Baptist youth minister for a while.

When his hair and beard turned white, more than a decade ago, he started playing Santa during the Christmas holidays. He kept going after he and his wife Janet moved to Florida.

Linn used to work for Wellcraft, until the boat company closed its Manatee County plant last year. He was unemployed until he landed a job as a recruiting coordinator with the 2010 census.

Last Christmas, playing Santa helped pay the bills.

"It's good money," Linn said. "A natural bearded Santa makes a nice amount of money."How much?An experienced Claus make between $100 and $200 an hour.


A wet Christmas

Linn stands 6 feet tall and weighs 250 pounds. He isn't a fat Santa, but he does have a little curve to his belly.

He isn't a loud Santa, either. With children, especially, he goes easy on the ho-ho-hos.

"I use a very quiet voice," Linn explained, "because then they have to pay attention to hear me."

He never promises any gift to any child, unless prompted by parents.

Children are unpredictable. Often they cry. Sometimes other things happen and Santa gets wet.

"Pee, poop, vomit," Linn said, laughing. "They slobber on you, they snot on you. It happens."

He starts working as Santa on the day after Thanksgiving. He finishes on Christmas Eve.

In between, he sees hundreds of children. Many of them are contagious, with colds or the flu, but Linn says he has never missed a day of work as Santa.

"I can will myself through the holidays," he says. "I get sick after Christmas almost every year."


80,000 pictures

Linn doesn't work for the shopping mall. He works for a national company called Cherry Hill Photography.

The home office in New Jersey keeps his stats.

"I'm approaching 80,000 pictures," he said. "30,000 of them are crying children. I don't take it personally."

Linn's pet peeve is with parents who get upset when their children start to cry.

"There are more difficult parents," he said, "than difficult kids."

He tries to joke with some of the moms and dads. If children ask for Santa's phone number, Linn reels off a 25-digit number no one could possibly remember.

"Then I tell them to ask for Extension 1."

Linn says he doesn't know what he'll do when his census jobs ends next year.

Maybe he'll retire. Maybe he'll find another job. Maybe he'll carve more toys to sell on his Web site,

Linn does know, however, what he'll be doing on weekends next December.

"I love it," he said. "I love being Santa."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home


July 2021   June 2021   May 2021   April 2021   March 2021   February 2021   January 2021   December 2020   November 2020   October 2020   September 2020   August 2020   July 2020   June 2020   May 2020   April 2020   March 2020   February 2020   January 2020   December 2019   November 2019   October 2019   September 2019   August 2019   July 2019   June 2019   May 2019   April 2019   March 2019   February 2019   January 2019   December 2018   November 2018   October 2018   September 2018   August 2018   July 2018   June 2018   May 2018   April 2018   March 2018   February 2018   January 2018   December 2017   November 2017   October 2017   September 2017   August 2017   July 2017   June 2017   May 2017   April 2017   March 2017   February 2017   January 2017   December 2016   November 2016   October 2016   September 2016   August 2016   July 2016   June 2016   May 2016   April 2016   March 2016   February 2016   January 2016   December 2015   November 2015   October 2015   September 2015   August 2015   July 2015   June 2015   May 2015   April 2015   March 2015   February 2015   January 2015   December 2014   November 2014   October 2014   September 2014   August 2014   July 2014   June 2014   May 2014   April 2014   March 2014   February 2014   January 2014   December 2013   November 2013   October 2013   September 2013   August 2013   July 2013   June 2013   May 2013   April 2013   March 2013   February 2013   January 2013   December 2012   November 2012   October 2012   September 2012   August 2012   July 2012   June 2012   May 2012   April 2012   March 2012   February 2012   January 2012   December 2011   November 2011   October 2011   September 2011   August 2011   July 2011   June 2011   May 2011   April 2011   March 2011   February 2011   January 2011   December 2010   November 2010   October 2010   September 2010   August 2010   July 2010   June 2010   May 2010   April 2010   March 2010   February 2010   January 2010   December 2009   November 2009   October 2009   September 2009   August 2009   July 2009   June 2009   May 2009   April 2009   March 2009   February 2009   January 2009   December 2008  

Powered by Lottery PostSyndicated RSS FeedSubscribe