This year, six professional "Mall Santas" will be spending the holidays in Wyoming.

According to Slate, malls typically hire two Santas to handle the crowds. They usually split days, working an eight hour shift Monday through Saturday and a six hour shift on Sunday.

At the White Mountain Mall in Rock Springs, the Santas are provided by the Noerr Programs Corporation. The Colorado-based company trains and outsources Santas to malls in 46 states.

A similar company, Cherry Hill Photo supplies Santas for many of the shopping centers owned by CBL Properties, which operates the Frontier Mall in Cheyenne.

General Growth Propeties, which owns the Eastridge Mall in Casper, recently partnered with Dream Works to create an expanded holiday display called Adventure to Santa.

Each potential Santa is required to have a natural beard and must pass a criminal background check and drug test.

After the Santas are assigned to a mall, they are instructed to be cheerful and positive, always remain in character and to be well groomed.

During the six week holiday rush, a typical mall Santa can make upwards of $10,000. Veteran Santas, especially graduates of the International University of Santa Claus, often earn even more.