BEING Santa is more than putting on a suit and a beard - with some performers saying it’s the biggest part they have ever done.

Pushy parents, angry youths and allegations of sexual misconduct are all in a day’s work for those playing the ultimate role.

The findings are in research by Professor Philip Hancock from Essex University’s Business School, who interviewed the elite of the Santa world who represent the man himself at department stores, shopping centres and corporate parties.

  •  His British Academy-supported research paper Being Santa Claus: The Pursuit of Recognition in Interactive Service Work will be published shortly by the Work Employment and Society journal.