The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe shortage of Santa Clauses this season, while many places expect his appearance, including parties, parades, and many other events, making the needs for Santa Claus thrive, CNN reported.

Santa Claus shortage and the reason behind it

Agencies providing Santa Clauses for events have been struggling to fulfill the demand. Hire Santa; a Fort Worth-based company, in Texas is one of them. 

According to Mitch Allen, Hire Santa’s founder, the current Santa Clauses are 10% lower than last year. Meanwhile, the requests for Santas are over double compared with that before the pandemic’s outbreak.

Allen has considered event organizers who want to “lighten up” their festivals, compensating for the tired pandemic as the cause behind the surge. 

Susen Mesco, a 40-year manager of a professional Santa school in Denver, has also fallen into the same trap as Allen. CNN reported that her school’s new registration has dropped between 2020 and 2021, with 120 potential Santa trainee lost cases claimed. 

Fearing for the coronavirus is the reason behind the case, when “Nobody wanted to travel (for the classes) or to be in a conference setting,” the manager said. Meanwhile, the reservation has surpassed its capacity.

“I’m getting calls for a Santa about every eight minutes,” Susen said.

The pandemic has also forced several long-serving Santas to leave their position. 

Santas in Susen’s school have removed their familiar costumes before saying, “Find a good home for it,” while others stated: “I’ll retire now.”

According to Tim Connaghan, a chief Santa for the Marines’ Toys for Tots campaign and also an owner of a Santa booking agency, some other Santas have taken the pandemic as a chance to take a break. 

The survey on his fellow Santas has found that 18% of Santas is leaving their career in 2021. 

Santa Claus is giving a present at an event on Nov. 9, 2021 (ABC News/Screenshot via TheBL/YouTube)

The Santas’ risk in pandemic

Most Santas are in their mid-60s and weigh 248 pounds, putting them in the high-risk group of coronavirus-infected patients.

The founder of Hire Santa has indicated that 335 Santas’ deaths were reported from coronavirus and other diseases. Susen’s booking agency has claimed over 50 Santa Clauses losses due to the pandemic.

The pandemic has placed more burden on Santas as many agencies, including Connaghan’s, require them to be vaccinated. Connaghan himself also has done coronavirus quick tests twice a week.

“We have to be safe,” he explained. “I have hundreds of Santas doing self-tests.”
However, many Santas have still chosen to step out from their career amid the pandemic, fearing they may contact hundreds of possibly germy children.

According to Connaghan’s survey on Santas, they frequently got saliva or snivel from children’s sneezing or coughing on the job, making the additional safety precautions essential.

Santa Claus in a picture with children on Dec. 4, 2021 (WHAS11/Screenshot via TheBL/YouTube)

Santa booking agencies’ advice

In response to the Santa Clause shortage, Santa booking agencies’ owners have advised event organizers to be flexible on their approach, including booking Santa during the week instead of at weekends, taking digital Santas rather than “real” ones.

Susen has recommended their clients to plan their schedule based on Santa’s free time and be willing to accept any Santas’ visits as long as before the New Year.

Brighter prospect for 2022

On the other hand, the Santa shortage has brought a brighter prospect for 2022 when big chains have begun to reserve Santas in advance for next year’s Christmas, Allen said.

“I don’t consider it a shortage for Santas. It’s more of an overwhelming demand because people are hopeful,” Susen said. “They want their Christmas back; they want their festivities. It’s a beautiful testament to the American spirit.”

As a result, the number of Santa Claus’s registering in Santa school for next year has increased. 30 “future-Santas” had registered within the past few days, Susen informed on Wednesday.

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