Santa Claus Is in High Demand and Short Supply, Leading to Nationwide Shortage
Santa Claus might not be coming to town.
That's because many Santa Claus entertainers have decided to forego this holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hiresanta.com founder Mitch Allen told Insider his company has seen a 121% jump in the amount of Santa requests this year compared to the past two years. However, the amount of available Santas is down 10% because some have sadly died from COVID, others are choosing not to participate to protect their health and some have simply retired from the seasonal gig.
Allen told the Washington Post, "Several hundred Santas and Mrs. Clauses, over the last 18 months, have passed away, and it's just a tragedy. (He noted that COVID is not the cause of all the deaths he's aware of.)
"Hundreds of people a day have been reaching out to us," he said, per the Post. "We always sell out on weekends, but normally it's after Thanksgiving."
This year, all of Allen's Santas were booked for every weekend by the first week of November, but there were still 1,275 full-season and more than 2,000 hourly spots needing to be filled by an Old St. Nick, Allen told Insider.
Results indicated that while 82 percent of responding Santas said they received their COVID-19 vaccinations, 18 percent are still opting to take this year off. Connaghan admitted to cutting back on his own gigs to spend more time with loved ones.
"I've had all my shots and all my vaccinations, and I watch myself very closely," he told the Post. "But I want to remain cautious, you know, and I'm also encouraging other Santas to do the same."
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The far-reaching Santa shortage has also impacted Fort Worth, Texas, where non-profit employee Courtney Bryant was tasked with booking Father Christmas for her office holiday party. She got shut down by 50 different companies, the Post reported.
"I was thinking of asking my husband, because he has a big full beard and kind of like, longish hair," she told the newspaper of her desperation.
In the end, she was able to book a fake-bearded Santa for $320 for two hours via GigSalad, the Post reported.
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Bryant added, "If we wanted one with a real beard, it would have been like, a hundred dollars more."
Insider reported that a lack of costumes due to supply chain shortages has also contributed to the Santa deficiency.