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As a career-long photographer who happens to have an ample white beard, Mike Spiegel—sorry, make that Santa Mike Spiegel—can tell you all about the economics of the man in the red velvet suit. Several years ago, Spiegel was booked to appear as Santa at the visitors' center of Pez candy headquarters in Orange, Conn., and he's watched the gig grow ever since.
"The first year there was a good crowd. The second year the crowd tripled and then the next year it almost doubled again," Spiegel said.