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Hints and Tips for the Santa to be

So you are going to be Santa...

Remember...You are always on view and "in character" when in costume. Kids believe in Santa up to about ages 8-10. You have a responsibility to keep the magic alive.

Let H. Berry Elf help you choose a Santa Suit, Wigs and Beards, or Santa Accessories.

Also see our video "how to" series for professional Santa hints and tips.

"When you stop believing in Santa Claus, you get underwear and socks for Christmas"
       H. Berry Elf (Toy Department Manager)

Santa Suit

Always dry clean your Santa suits.


  • While sharing a Santa Suit is OK, we don't recommend sharing a wig and beard set. For health and sanitation, have a separate wig and beard set for every one of your Santas.
  • When washing your wig and beard, fill a basin with lukewarm water; add a dash of mild shampoo and swish gently; rinse thoroughly in cold water; gently shake out--do not brush when wet; drip dry; brush into desired style when completely dry; do not use a curling iron or curling kits.

Tips for being a "department store" Style Santa

  • Drink plenty of water - being in costume can get very hot.
  • Use your assistants to help make the event smooth. For example, its OK for your elf to ask a child´s name, and then announce "Santa, here´s Timmy". This helps to avoid the sometimes embarrassing question, "don´t you remember who I am, Santa?"
  • Pre-arrange with your assistants for how you will take a break (you did drink a lot of water - didn´t you?).
  • Be prepared with answers for the obvious questions: What are the reindeer names? How do you get all the way around the world in just one night?
  • "Pull his beard!" Some parents are just so rude. In general, I have just quietly and politely requested the child not to do the beard pulling. This usually works. Why some parents want to spoil the Santa image for all to see is beyond me.
  • Have FUN !! Santa is jolly character.

The Reindeer

Santas reindeer

The reindeer had their origin in Clement Clarke Moore´s famous poem "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" (now more commonly known as "Twas the night before Christmas . . ."). The names he gave are:

  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Vixen
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Blitzen*
  • Dasher
  • Donner*

*Donner or Donder and Blitzen were named Dunder and Blixem (the Dutch words for thunder and lightning) in the original printing of "A Visit From St. Nicholas". In reprints of the poem, the names became Donder and Blixen, then Donder and Blitzen (the latter being German for lightning). By the time Johnny Marks wrote "Rudolph", it was Donner and Blitzen (possibly because Donder was musically awkward).

In modern times, other reindeer have been named in books, movies, and television shows (such as Fireball, Leroy, Pablo, and Olive), but none have become permanent fixtures of the team.

—Thanks to Dennis for sending us this information!!

Rudolf was created by Bob May in 1939 for an advertising campaign by Montgomery Wards.

Here´s a snippet of Moore´s poem. Some people find the verse easier to remember.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his courses they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"

A Little Background Information

Santa Claus is an essential part of the secular Christmas celebration. The chubby, red-suited, man appears in almost all forms of advertising, movies, department stores, parades, and sidewalks. The ubiquitous Santa Claus, however, has origins in the 19th century and didn´t come to the form we so readily recognize until almost 1927.

An urban legend has Santa being created in the 1930´s for a Coca-Cola advertising campaign. While Santa in red was certainly around before this time, the popular drawings help solidify Santa as rotund and dressed in red and white.

In 1822, a New Yorker named Clement Clarke Moore wrote down and read to his children a series of verses. His poem was published a year later as "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" although now more commonly known as "Twas the night before Christmas . . .". Moore gave St. Nick a sleigh and eight reindeer (and named them all), and he devised the now-familiar entrance by chimney.

A caricaturist for Harper´s Weekly, Thomas Nast, developed his own image of Santa in an 1866 montage entitled "Santa Claus and His Works". He established Santa as a maker of toys. An 1869 book with the same name combined newer Nast drawings with a poem by George P. Webster and identified the North Pole as Santa´s home.

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