How Much Would Santa Claus Make If He Had a Salary? Six Figures, According to’s “Santa Index”

Sure, the jolly old guy with the huge beard and the red suit may not be real — but let’s suppose for a moment that he does actually exist. How much would Santa Claus make if he had a salary? According to insurance website’s “Santa Index,” a lot. For 2014, they estimate Santa’s annual salary at almost $140,000 — and he got a 1.5 percent raise from 2013, during which he made not quite $138,000. Looks like Santa’s sitting pretty! created their Santa Index based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ wage data. According to their estimate, the bulk of St. Nick's $139,924 paycheck would come from the management of his toy factory and workshop; factoring in eight hours a day of work, 364 days a year, he'd pull in $116,742. The rest of it would come from all of the other tasks he handles and projects he oversees, which likely demand fewer hours.

To be fair, Santa does have a pretty intimidating job description. His duties include, but probably aren’t limited to:

  • Private investigation — How else is he going to figure out who’s been naughty or else?
  • Auditing and clerical work — That is, making his list and checking it not once, but twice.
  • Workshop management — considers the running of the workshop to be a branch of industrial engineering.
  • Professional shopping — Because Santa’s workshop doesn’t make every single gift he delivers (see: Children who ask for puppies for Christmas. Although I suppose it’s possible that he also acts as a breeder…)
  • Labor negotiation — For the elves, mainly, although I would imagine most of the anthropomorphic beings who keep his business running receive a salary and regulated work conditions
  • Cookie tasting — Someone’s got to do it.
  • Livestock management — For the reindeer.
  • Gift shipping, distribution, and delivery — Which, by the way, is probably a logistical nightmare.
  • Piloting — What class does one file a “flying sleigh” license under?

If the number seems high to you, you’re not alone. Brad Tuttle over at Time points out, for example, that it’s approximately $20,000 more than what the average stay-at-home mom is worth (according to, at least) and twice what the average stay-at-home dad is worth (again, according to; furthermore, as the LA Times notes, $140,000 is almost triple the household median income for the United States.

Others, however, think that Santa might actually be under paid. also conducted a survey of 1,000 adults, and it seems that we’re actually quite divided on what we think Santa should make. 16 percent said that $140,000 sounded about right to them; meanwhile, 9 percent thought he should make over $200,000 per year — and 29 percent said he should earn a whopping $1.8 billion a year (about one dollar for every child under the age of 15 in the world). Interesting, no?

Still, though, it’s perhaps the 29 percent who said he shouldn’t earn anything at all that might be the most correct. Ric Erwin, Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas (which, by the way, is actually a thing. TIL, right?), pointed out to that, historically speaking, St. Nicholas was a philanthropist. “Not only was he unconcerned with earning a salary, he was actively engaged in giving his wealth away,” he said. Not only that, but as a folkloric figure, Santa probably wouldn’t have much use for a salary, anyway. “What would he spend it on — and where?” Erwin asked. Of course, from there, we might assume that Santa is independently wealthy, in which case I can’t help but wonder from whence his fortune came… but maybe I’m starting to over-think the whole thing.

While we’re on the subject, though, how much do you think the elves make? I would imagine working for Santa is a pretty demanding job, so I’d hope they make more than what most entry level positions are paying these days. The same goes for the reindeer (if they’re anthropomorphic, I’m assuming they earn a salary, too). And what about Mrs. Claus? Is she kind of like the First Lady of the North Pole? She probably does way more than just sit around in front of the fire all day — those cookies won’t bake themselves, after all.

Head on over to to read the full report.

Images: Giphy (2)