Santa has Covid so no gifts this Christmas. Oh no! Ho ho oh no! This holiday season, Santas are in short supply.
It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas. However, you may not see Santa Claus at as many holiday events this year.
This holiday season, demand for Santa Claus appearances at parties, parades, and other events has surged, but the number of trained and accessible Santas has decreased – another another disruption in the supply chain caused by the pandemic.
Companies that provide Santas for holiday parties are scrambling to fulfill demand, according to Mitch Allen, CEO and chief elf at Hire Santa, a Fort Worth, Texas-based company that helps clients book Santas across the country. Allen claims that his company has 10% fewer Santa Clauses available this year, despite the fact that orders for Santas have more than doubled since the pandemic began.
“There’s a lot of interest,” Allen stated. “Weekends have been sold out for almost a month, which is rare. We are usually sold out after Thanksgiving.”
Allen attributed the increase in demand to event planners who are tired of the pandemic and want to brighten holiday events to make up for lost time.
According to Allen, the shortfall may not be immediately noticeable at retail malls because many malls scheduled Santas in the first quarter of the year. However, some stores’ Santas are overworked, requiring them to work longer shifts or limit the hours they are available to the public, he said.
The number of students enrolled in Santa schools is decreasing.
Susen Mesco, who has run a professional Santa school in Denver for nearly four decades and dresses as Mrs. Claus, says she isn’t getting any sleep because of the Santa shortage.
“This year’s bookings are out of control. Every eight minutes, I have a request for a Santa “She stated. “However, it is not all terrible news. It also suggests that people are emerging from the pandemic’s aftermath. More people want to be together now that we’ve all had two years to sort out and adjust to the pandemic.”
Mesco blamed the shortfall on a variety of issues. Due to coronavirus concerns, Santa schools around the country observed reduced enrollments in 2020 and 2021, resulting in a smaller pool of competent Santas, she said. Her school alone lost 120 potential Santas.
“Nobody wanted to travel (for the classes) or attend a conference,” she explained.
Her Santas receive 180 hours of instruction in everything from sign language and child development to how to curl their beards. They are also briefed on the best answers to common questions from children.
According to Mesco, the epidemic also caused many long-time Santas to hang up their red coats.
“Some of them just stated, ‘I’m going to retire now,'” she explained. “I’ve had 15 Santas leave off their Santa suits with the instruction, ‘Find a nice home for it.'”
According to Tim Connaghan, the “National Santa,” who appears in major Christmas parades and is a main Santa for the Marines’ Toys for Tots campaign, some other Santas have decided it’s a good time to take a break. Connaghan also has a Santa booking agency; he claims to have polled his fellow Santas and discovered that 18% are taking 2021 off.
Santas have had a sad year.
According to Connaghan, the average working Santa is in his mid-60s and weighs 248 pounds, putting him at high risk of coronavirus infection.
According to Allen of Hire Santa, more than 335 Santas have perished this year from coronavirus and other illnesses.
“Those are the only ones we are aware of. And there’s more from the previous year “He went on to say that not all of the deaths were caused by COVID-19.
According to Mesco, her booking firm has lost more than 50 Santas due to the pandemic.
Being Santa in the midst of a pandemic comes with a lot of extra responsibilities. Connaghan stated that his booking agency needs Santas to show proof of vaccination, and he himself undergoes a coronavirus quick test twice a week.
“We need to be safe,” he explained. “I have hundreds of Santas who are self-testing.”
Nonetheless, some Santas are avoiding the pandemic because they are afraid of being exposed to hundreds of potentially infectious children. Connaghan stated that almost all of the Santas he examined stated that youngsters sneeze or cough on them on a daily basis, making the extra precautions critical.
Some retail Santas have been obliged to wave at children from behind plexiglass in the last year. Others have made live video calls to children to greet them.
Santas who are racially varied are even more scarce.
The paucity of Saint Nicks (Santa Pause?) is even more acute for Santas of color.
The Santa Claus industry is growing more racially and culturally diverse, and more Santas are studying American Sign Language, but Allen believes it is still insufficient.
“When it comes to diversity, we still have a problem,” he remarked. “We have one Black Santa for every 500 White Santas.”
Last month, Old Navy collaborated with Connaghan, as well as Dion Sinclair, often known as Santa Dee or “The Real Black Santa,” and others, to offer a 30-minute online training program for anyone interested in becoming Santas. Participants from all origins, races, and cultural heritages are encouraged to participate in the program. In a statement, Old Navy added, “Diversity is a current concern in the Santa business.” “Less than 5% of all professional Santas in the United States identify as people of color, whereas over half of all children under the age of 15 in the United States identify as nonwhite.”
According to a corporate representative, the initiative has educated “hundreds of inclusive Santas thus far,” although no precise number was provided.
However, next year appears to be brighter.
The proprietors of Santa booking firms have some advise for event planners who are having difficulty finding a Santa this Christmas season.
They advocate for adaptability: Santas are simpler to schedule throughout the week than on weekends, with the exception of Christmas week. In a pinch, virtual Santas are more readily available than real-life Santas.
Mesco said she’s encouraging folks to plan their events around Santa’s availability this year.
“People are booking hotels and caterers and then saying, ‘Let’s have a Santa,'” she explained. “It’s possible that won’t work.”
She also encouraged people to be receptive to Santa making visits till the New Year.
“I don’t think there’s a scarcity of Santas. Because people are optimistic, there is a greater demand “She stated. “They want their Christmas back, their celebrations. It’s a lovely tribute to the American spirit.”
And the outlook for 2022 is improving. According to Allen, the Santa scarcity has resulted in a rush of big shops and other clients booking for next year’s Christmas.
And potential Santas are re-enrolling at Santa schools for the coming season. Mesco reported on Wednesday that 30 people had signed up in the previous four days. Is santa claus real though? keep checking we’ll answer.