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德国柏林闹起“圣诞老人荒”

德国柏林闹起“圣诞老人荒”

A child and a man dressed as Father Christmas in front of a special Christmas post office in the German village of Himmelpfort, November 13, 2008.
(Reuters)

 

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.

"We prefer chubby men, of course, ideally with a real beard but we're not picky and take what we get," he said.

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. "It's hard work and sometimes you have to run faster if you fall behind schedule. But it's great fun."  


  

本周一,德国首都柏林一家圣诞老人职介所的负责人说,现在距离圣诞节只有四周的时间了,但目前柏林的圣诞老人严重紧缺。

这家中介机构在每年的12月24日这一天要为5000个家庭提供每家20分钟的圣诞老人上门服务。中介所的负责人说,今年他正在发愁招不到那么多合格的圣诞老人。

40岁的雷内·海德克说:“我们需要至少300名圣诞老人,但到目前为止只有100人跟我们签约。”

他说:“体型偏胖的男性更适合这一职位,如果有胡子就更好了。但我们的条件不是很苛刻,通常都是‘来者不拒’。”

这些圣诞老人大多是学生,他们每次上门服务可以赚到28欧元。他们通常从下午3点工作到晚上9点左右,主要任务就是提着孩子父母在门外提供的一袋礼物进屋发给孩子们。

海德克说,如果有300个圣诞老人,平均每人要跑10到12家,不过也有人跑过20多家。但是他们得花45欧元购买服装,还要将所得的15%交给中介所。

海德克说:“如果他们动作快的话,可以赚到一大笔。”这些圣诞老人中年龄最小的是一名20岁的学生,年龄最大的是一位72岁的留着“真胡子”的退休教授,算上今年他已是第28次当圣诞老人了。海德克说,2岁至7岁的孩子“还是相信有圣诞老人的”。

他说:“柏林的很多家庭一直保持着请圣诞老人的传统,即便孩子们已经长大不再相信有圣诞老人,这一活动也会延续下去。不过当圣诞老人可是个苦差事,有时误了时间还得赶场,但确实很有意思。”

Vocabulary: 


placement : the finding of suitable accommodation(职业介绍;工作安排)

intermediary : one that acts as a mediator(中介)


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