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The secret life of the Santa Claus gig economy

The secret life of the Santa Claus gig economy

It’s not easy being Santa Claus.

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But dedication, heart, and a few courses in Santaclausology can go a long way.

Enter School 4 Santas—a magical bootcamp dedicated to training Santas. Serious candidates only.

Rule number one at Santa school? It’s all about the children. You can’t be a good Santa unless you tailor the experience you’re creating to the fantasy that kids believe. It’s also imperative that a good Santa get extensive training in such things as how the color red can trigger fear in some children, how to tread lightly, the proper timbre of a “Ho ho ho!” and more.

These are some of the important lessons that Tim Connoghan, a professor at School 4 Santas, imparts on his students. They then go out into the world equipped with thorough knowledge of the Kris Kringle life.

Connoghan was inspired to become Santa Claus after watching a six-figure Santa on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous during his 9-to-5 years. Upon retirement, he embarked on his journey to becoming the Jolly Old Man. He has worked in several department stores and appeared in commercials.

Now, he also shares his knowledge with other aspiring Santas. What began as an eight-to-ten city tour of teaching the art of Santa Claus has now blossomed into extended trips where Santas and aspiring Santas gather together to learn and network.

Watch as Fast Company joins 40 Santas cruising off the coast of Alaska, where eager pupils—median age 72—swap business advice and learn how to master Santaclausology. In some cases, even Mrs. Claus is in tow as Santa hopefuls earn diplomas and even doctorates in the name of spreading jolly good cheer.

This is a look inside the secret life of the Santa Claus gig economy.

WATCH: An inside look at the money-making business of being Santa Claus

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