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November 30, 2021

Mall Santas taught to 'size up' parents to temper kids' gift hopes

Quick: name a few people that best have their finger on the world’s economic pulse.

1247852_happy_christmasBen Bernanke? Sure. Christine Lagarde? Absolutely. Mark Carney? In Canada and beyond, no doubt.

Yet for all these figureheads, with their inroads on fiscal policy and access to the top economic advisors, would you trust them to take a look at you, up and down, and say how much money you’re worth?

Of course not. That would be offensive. You’d leave that to Santa Claus.

Indeed, while you might want to slug anyone making judgements about your pocket book based exclusively on your dress, that’s just what many aspiring Kris Kringles are being taught to do at the largest Santa school in the U.S.

Yes, America is home to a Santa school – more than one, actually – and enrolees at Michigan’s Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School are being coached to adapt to tough times.

*Bing: How much does is Santa school tuition?

According to the Daily Mail, Santas working malls around the U.S. are now being groomed to take a look at kids’ parents, “size them up” and temper any gift expectations children may request.

One Santa graduate says he’s come up with his own stock lines to give children of parents who don’t appear they can afford an iPod, suggesting that an errant elf in the North Pole is to blame for kids not being able to have everything they want this Christmas.

“It’s hard to watch sometimes because the children are like little barometers, mirrors on what the country has been through,” the Santa says. “In the end, Santas have to be sure to never promise anything.”

In addition, Santas are told now how to deal with other tough questions like, “Can you bring my daddy a job?”

How does Santa side-step that one?

One Kringle admitted he tells kids that “Santa specializes in toys, but we can always pray on the other,” and that “Santa’s been cutting back too” when a gift is asked for that a child’s parents don’t appear to be able to afford.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...