Due to our pervasive global pandemic, most kids had to skip their visit with Santa last holiday season. And now with vaccines flowing and the situation stabilizing, the holidays will look a little more normal. That is unless the supply chain has anything to do with it. Already the cause of inflation and a toy shortage this holiday season, the latest casualty to the dreaded “supply chain issues” are…mall Santas.
The founder of HireSanta, Mitch Allen (who you may have seen on Shark Tank), said to several media outlets that demand for Santas is up big time, and the number of available Santas is not matching the demand.
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“There are just fewer Santa Clauses,” he said. “We’ve lost a lot of them to COVID and other reasons, and then there are a number of Santas who still are not going to be back doing Santa this year because of concerns about COVID.”
A good Santa is hard to find. Organizers of holiday events are overwhelmed trying to hire a jolly old elf. “It has just been crickets.” https://t.co/wC2rxqpNll
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 10, 2021
That is a sobering statement. The pandemic claimed more than 700,000 lives across the United States alone and was especially deadly among the elderly population. It tragically makes sense that we lost some kind-hearted people who pick up the Santa hat every December to bring joy to our kids. And it also makes sense that some of those kind old men that typically play Santa might be a little more concerned with a lot of face-to-face interaction, especially with the chance of breakthrough infections.
All this to say, if you want your kids to be able to tell Santa what they want for Christmas, you better go early to avoid the long lines and limited spots. That’s if your mall is even lucky enough to get a (good) Santa this year.
Santa Shortage: Santa Claus in high demand across the nation https://t.co/xsyNoOVUxM
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) November 9, 2021
With demand higher and with a noticeable downtick in the number of willing Santas, one upside (for jolly old St. Nick) is that the pay is increasing. Allen estimated the pay for mall Santas is about 10%-25%higher than it was in our last “normal” year. That means if you’re an old man with an appropriate demeanor and beard, and you don’t mind the threat of toddlers or viruses, you could make some very merry cash this year.
And, you have to assume, that raise is going to get passed on to the customers. So, as our kids are waiting for that long-overdue meeting with Santa, we’ll be paying even MORE to keep that Christmas magic alive. Joy.