By Jon Delano

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As late as Saturday, Santa Claus was greeting kids, only to be followed the next day by a hard night of deliveries.

Now it’s Santa’s day of rest, as he told KDKA’s Jon Delano.

Delano: “It’s been a long night. How are you feeling?”
Santa: “You know, I’m tired. But it’s a good tired. It’s a good tired.”

Tired, but Santa just got some good news from a group that calculates the value of everything he does during the year and estimates his annual salary.

“It’s $149,434.33,” says Penny Gusner of Insure.Com.

Gusner says Santa’s salary beats the average household income of $59,000.

How do they get this figure?

“We go through the occupations that Santa, that we believe he does, throughout the year but especially on Christmas,” says Gusner.

Fifteen job tasks are evaluated from running the workshop to piloting the sleigh on Christmas Eve.

“Piloting the reindeer and navigating around the world is probably my toughest job,” notes Santa. “Some of the landing on the roofs is tough and, to tell you the truth, there are so many cellphone towers now. You have to go around cell phone towers and things. It gets pretty technical.”

For every one of Santa’s jobs, Insure.Com creates an equivalency with department of labor average wages.

Taking care of the reindeer is a farmworker paid $12.90 an hour; checking the lists is a book-keeper at $19.34 an hour; running the workshop is an industrial engineer at $42.56 an hour; and piloting the sleigh is an airline pilot at $73.45 an hour.

Running the workshop year-round gets Santa the most money.

Delano: “How tough is that?”
Santa: “The hard part is predicting what next year’s toys are going to be. Keeping up with the technology is the hard part. All the smart pads and smart phones, et cetera. We have to retrain the elves every year for the new technology.”

This year Santa gets a 2 percent raise.

Santa: “Wow, wow. I got a raise.”
Delano: “Yeah, you got a raise.”
Santa: “Don’t tell Mrs. Claus, okay?”
Delano: “Keep it a secret?”
Santa: “Yeah.”

And he says he might use that money to take a rare vacation.

Santa: “Might go down to the Bahamas for a day or two.”
Delano: “You deserve it.”
Santa: “Well, if you see a guy in a red suit laying in a beach chair in the Bahamas, it’s me. Ho ho ho.”

It is Christmas Day, and Santa is gone, but he says the work has only begun for Christmas 2018.

“I got a whole bag of letters here to start over for next year,” says Santa.

What keeps him going is what happened this Christmas morning.

Santa: “The joy I see on the faces of the children and families is heart-warming. It really is. It energizes me for the next year.”
Delano: “Well, it’s never inappropriate to say, Merry Christmas, Santa.”
Santa: “Merry Christmas. Ho ho ho.”

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