Calgary Santas vow no lumps of coal as city stares down economic Grinch – Calgary Herald

Santa, whose elf name is Michael Shepherd, poses in Calgary, Alta on Friday December 16, 2016. Jim Wells//Postmedia A quarter-century after his first gig as a Calgary Santa, Michael Shepherd says the city’s economic doldrums haven’t dulled the twinkle in his eyes.But they have made him adapt to a fiscal reality that’s played Grinch with…

Calgary Santas vow no lumps of coal as city stares down economic Grinch – Calgary Herald

Santa, whose elf name is Michael Shepherd, poses in Calgary, Alta on Friday December 16, 2016. Jim Wells//Postmedia

A quarter-century after his first gig as a Calgary Santa, Michael Shepherd says the city’s economic doldrums haven’t dulled the twinkle in his eyes.But they have made him adapt to a fiscal reality that’s played Grinch with some of his bigger jobs.“There was one company with a $1,000 gig and one with a $500 or $600 one — and those are gone,” said Shepherd.“There are layoffs and not so many kids, but there are some places that have doubled their (Santa) hours.”The veteran St. Nick said he’s remained busy this holiday season, a dozen years after he left the shopping mall throne to do corporate and other party appearances.But the nature of some of those jobs has changed.If companies once had an adult Christmas party and another for their children that both demanded a Santa, “most places have gone just with the kids’,” said Shepherd.Magicians, he said, are doing worse.But if one of the city’s few dozen professional jolly old elves are short a few jobs, their red-suited colleagues will come sleighing to the rescue
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