http://www.sina.com.cn 2006/12/22 14:33 国际在线
Berlin faces Santa shortage as Christmas nears
Berlin is facing an acute shortage of Santas four weeks from Christmas, the head of a Father Christmas placement agency said on Monday.
The director of Berlin's "Heinzelmaennchen" agency that acts as an intermediary for 5,000 families that order the 20-minute visits from a real live Santa Claus each year on December 24 said he was having trouble getting enough qualified help this year.
"We need at least 300 Santas to meet the demand but we only have about 100 signed up so far," said Rene Heydeck, 40, who also runs the agency's "Father Christmas desk". 现年40岁的雷内·海德克说：“我们需要至少300个圣诞老人才能满足各方面的需求，但到目前为止仅有大约100人与我们签约。
"We prefer chubby men, of course, ideally with a real beard but we're not picky and take what we get," he told Reuters.
The Santas, many of whom are students, earn 28 euros (19 pounds) for each performance -- bringing in a sack of presents provided outside the door by parents and handing out the gifts. They start at about 3 p.m. and are finished by about 9 p.m.
The 300 Santas visit an average of 10 to 12 families, although some have managed up to 20, Heydeck said. In return, the Santas must buy their costumes for 45 euros and have to pay the agency 15 percent of their earnings.
"If they're quick, they can earn a nice sum," Heydeck said of the men, who range from a student of 20 to a 72-year-old retired professor "with a real beard" now in his 28th season. Children between 2 and 7 "still believe in Santa," he said.
"In a lot of families in Berlin it's a tradition that carries on even after the children grow older and stop believing," Heydeck said.
海德克说：“对于柏林的很多家庭来说，请圣诞老人光临家中已经成为了一种传统，即便在孩子们已经长大且不再相信圣诞老人时，此项活动也还是要继续进行下去的。” (文/ 张咏)