From food to toys, we keep hearing about how some things may be harder to find this holiday season and now we can add one more surprising thing to that list: Santa Claus. It seems that along with restaurant workers, truck drivers and folks willing to work in retail being in short supply, those who play old Saint Nick are, too.
Last year, kids only got virtual visits with Santa, but this year, in-person visits are back and that has created a higher demand for the Santa industry. “We’re seeing the demand up over 120% over what it was last year and pre-pandemic,” explainsMitch Allen, founder ofHireSanta.com. On top of that, he says there are just fewer Santa Clauses who want the job. He says his company has lost a lot of them to COVID and some guys just don’t want to go back to being Santa because of concerns over COVID, since they’re often older heavy-set men who are more at risk, according to theCDC.
All this means your local mall or annual holiday event may not have Santa around like in years past, and while that will disappoint some kiddos, it’s good news for one group: the Santas. Thanks to the short supply and high demand, those Santas have a new bargaining power and can ask for about 10 to 25% higher pay, according to Allen. That means the going rate can be anywhere from $175 to $300 an hour, depending on the location. And while Santa may not be coming to town early to make social visits, as long as he delivers on Christmas Eve, everything will still be merry and bright.