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A Stunning Share of Santas Say: Yes, the Beard Is Real

And so is the bowl-full-of-jelly belly, according to survey responses from a sleighful of Santa impersonators.

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Santas at an annual conference in Branson, Missouri


This story appears in the December 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Take “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” multiply it by several hundred, and you’ve got what’s billed as the World’s Largest Santa Convention, held this past July in Branson, Missouri. At the five-day trade show, Kris Kringle impersonators attended workshops on makeup and marketing, beard care and Santa ethics. More than 550 Santas answered a survey about playing the jolly old elf. Here are some of the results.

Who has pulled your beard

to be sure it’s real?

said mostly

children

said mostly

adults

Do you dye, or don’t you?

claimed

naturally white hair/beard

said they

bleach

or lighten

Least favorite Christmas song

“The Twelve Days

of Christmas” and

“Grandma Got Run

Over by a Reindeer”

Have you attended

a Santa school?

said no. The

rest said they

had attended

at least one.

Favorite cookie

Chocolate chip

Oatmeal raisin

Sugar cookie

Favorite beverage

Hot cocoa

Milk

 

Eggnog

Average age

Oldest

Youngest

Average weight

Lightest

Heaviest

said yes

Is that your
real beard?

Is that “bowl
full of jelly”
belly real?

Has a child on
your lap ever

wet on you?

Do you use

an agent to help get
Santa bookings?

Favorite Christmas song

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”

“Silent Night”

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Are you a tech-savvy elf?

Have a Facebook page as Santa

Have a Santa

business website

said, “I am lucky if

I can just use email.”

Who has pulled your beard to be sure it’s real?

Have you attended a Santa school?

Do you dye, or don’t you?

Least favorite Christmas song

said no. The

rest said they had attended

at least one.

“The Twelve Days

of Christmas” and

“Grandma Got Run

Over by a Reindeer”

claimed

naturally white

hair/beard

said they

bleach

or lighten

said mostly

children

said mostly

adults

Average age

said yes

Favorite beverage

Favorite cookie

Oldest

Is that your real beard?

Chocolate chip

Hot cocoa

Oatmeal raisin

Milk

Is that “bowl full of jelly” belly real?

Eggnog

Sugar cookie

Youngest

Has a child on your lap ever

wet on you?

Average weight

Favorite Christmas song

Lightest

Do you use an

agent to help get Santa bookings?

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

“Silent Night”

Heaviest

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”

Are you a tech-savvy elf?

have a Facebook

page as Santa

have a Santa

business website

said, “I am lucky if

I can just use email.”



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