Are you a Department Store Santa?

Memo: To all Regional Managers Issue: Recent Incidents involving Seasonal Character Hires -----------------------------------------------------

As you may be aware, some stores in the chain have recently suffered embarassing public relations incidents because of poor hiring decisions - particularly in the selection of Santa and associated Elf characters.

In the Texas region, a part-time Santa recently decided to ride the bucking ronco brought in as part of a cross-promotion with a local country radio station. While there were no injuries - among store patrons - the store's lifesize Nativity Scene now only has two wise men and Joseph looks remarkably like last fall's standalone pop-up for Tiger Woods-brand clothing.

In upstate New York, our seasonal Santa met some overly friendly "elves" at the "gentleman's club" next to the mall. After a free lunch and some extended imbibing, our seasonal hire drove the young ladies home in a "borrowed" service van from the appliance department. 35 mail boxes and a deer later, he was arrested.

Once again, let me remind you of the personality traits and behaviour we expect from our key seasonal Character, Santa:

Guidelines for portraying Santa Claus

Santa is:

Jolly, not sarcastic Friendly, not saucy and suggestive Engaging, not overly touchy-feely Chipper, not liquored-up

Santa wears:

Red velvet hat with white cotton or fur ball Red velvet coat with white trim and cuffs, not red velvet coat with biker colours White shirts, not mesh shirts Red velvet pants, not leather pants Black boots, not cuban heeled boots

Santa says:

"Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!" "And what is your name, little boy/girl?" "What would you like me to leave under the tree this year?"

Santa does not say:

"Ho Ho Ho! Daddy's Home!" "And what is your name, mommy?" "How 'bout I make a special delivery?"

Santa's helper is:

Cheerful Helpful Considerate Dressed like an Elf

Santa's helper is not: Smoking Dismissive Surly Dressed like a Santa Groupie

When leaving the Display Area, Santa says: "Pardon me, kids! I've got to check on the reindeer" "I think Mrs. Claus has my coffee ready." "I have to go check my list for who's naughty and nice."

When leaving the Display Area, Santa does not say: "Watch out kids! The Sleigh's double parked and Santa doesn't want another ticket!" "Excuse me kids! I've gotta shake the weasel!" "Me and the Elf have some important business to discuss." Please remember these guidelines when hiring Seasonal Characters.

Herbert Kornfeld, A/National Manager, Cross-Platform Marketing