When holiday hiring is kicking into high gear, for many retirees, in particular, it’s the perfect time to stay busy while pulling in some extra cash for gifts and quite possibly finding employment that’ll last beyond New Year’s Eve. The retail industry, of course, is a key employer around the holidays. Sales clerk positions at stores and seasonal kiosks are the usual suspects for job hunters, but there are other job opportunities that may not be as obvious.
Bob Dunn’s blue eyes twinkle and his cheeks grow rosy when he talks about his seasonal job. No surprise, he’s Santa Claus. The 74-year-old retired seafood salesman travels from his home in Dover, Delaware to Norman, Oklahoma to commandeer the jolly man’s chair at the Sooner Mall for the holiday season.
He’s got the obligatory white beard and hearty “ho-ho-ho.” Plus, Dunn has a knack for putting jumpy kids at ease. “I’m a people person. The job is pure joy,” Dunn says. “For 46 weeks out of the year, you’re just another old man with a white beard, but for that six-week period, you’re Santa Claus!”
The contracted pay is enough to keep his reindeer flying in style too. He might fill his stocking with anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the contract, for the stretch of 10-hour days (with two meal breaks), which starts the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas Eve. The only ...