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What Would Santa’s Salary Be?


Everyone knows that Santa’s true reward is the look of joy on children’s faces. Still, reindeer feed isn’t free, and someone has to pay for repairs to the furry red suit. So how much should Santa pull down, salary-wise?

Santa Claus

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Patricia Kitchen of Newsday recently asked that very question. To figure out what Santa should earn, she combined all of his various duties and added up the salaries for each. (Similar to the system we tend to use when calculating the value of, say, a stay-at-home mom.)

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By adding up roles like Industrial Engineer and Labor Relations Specialist — for, as she says, “elf-related squabbles” in the workshop — and using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and, Kitchen arrived at the annual salary of $114,937 for Santa’s labors.

We thought it would be interesting to evaluate Santa’s earnings using PayScale data from the Research Center, to see if we came out with a similar number. In fact, after adding up median wages for each of Santa’s roles (a few of Kitchen’s, plus some we added to the mix), we find that he should be making a total of $199,138 annually.

Here’s the breakdown:

Industrial Engineer: $63,850

Personal Shopper: $36,680

Labor Relations Specialist: $69,107

Delivery Driver: $29,501

If that still seems like too little for the king of elves, well, just remember that he’s not doing it for the money. The love and admiration of children — plus a few cookies and some milk — are all he requires. 

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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