Santa Clauses are coming to town — and they’ve been brushing up on their skills

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Santa Claus has supply chain issues. While demand for in-person visits is increasing, Santa Claus entertainers are less available.

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Mitch Allen, founder of, a booking website, estimates that the number of Santa Claus entertainers is down 15 percent this year. Factors include deaths due to COVID-related illnesses, taking leave due to pandemic concerns and aging or retiring.

Visiting Santa last year felt risky for many families. This year, it looks like parents and kids can’t wait for her to return.


In 2020, the industry saw a spike in customers for virtual Santa visits via scheduled video calls. That has changed this year, and may weigh on the number of saints available.

According to data from the hiring company ZipRecruiter, the average Santa entertainer makes about $50,000 a year. Mall Santas can earn anywhere from $12 to $75 per hour. Video call visits run about $40 an hour. A home visit can range from $150 to $225 per hour.

A Santa Claus practices riding a sleigh for a parade at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School.Ezra Kaplan / Granthshala News
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“Most people want to have a personal visit this year, as opposed to virtual tours last year,” Allen said. “Instead of physical barriers this year, most retail customers are using social distancing.”

Every year we lose something, because getting old and fat is not really a healthy lifestyle.

Seattle-area Santa illustration artist Jim Beadle, 62, said he personally knew about half a dozen Santa and Mrs. Claus artists who passed away from complications related to COVID. “It’s the saddest thing. Every year we lose something, because getting old and fat isn’t really a healthy lifestyle,” Beadle said.

Other Saints said they were looking for a return to the old-fashioned Santa experience, with no acrylic barrier and no touching Santa’s outstretched hand while he was inside an inflatable plastic snow-globe. .

“The demand for a masked Santa has grown tremendously, and I am still following the rule of ‘whichever is more restrictive of us, we go with that policy.’ To protect my future customers It has its no-touch policy, but I miss raising kids a lot,” said David Lewis, 70, a Santa illustration artist from Dallas.

Santa earns his stripes at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Michigan.Ezra Kaplan / Granthshala News

“As a baby boomer, I never expected anything that I could do would end up in short supply, so that’s cool,” he said. “But kids are still kids, they still come in packages of one, and Santa is still happy to see them.”

Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan, founded in 1937, also saw enrollment this year. For generations, Santa has enrolled annually to brush up on his “ho ho hos.”

“The demand is high,” the school’s dean Tom Valiant told Granthshala News. “People want Santa, they want to go back to normalcy, they want what Santa means, they want back to their family.”

People want Santa, they want to go back to normalcy, they want what Santa is.

This year, over 200 students gathered to learn how to make memories for kids this holiday season. Students pay $580 for an individual, or $1,100 for a Mr. and Mrs. Claus couple, to participate in a three-day experience at the “Harvard of Santa Schools”.

Training includes travel on a fully functioning single-gauge train and practical training in a wooden toy making workshop.

“It’s about letting them understand what it’s like at the North Pole, what it’s like in this packed little factory with hammers,” Vaillant said.

This experience is a game changer for professional sages. They include it on their resumes, a major recognition so they can stand out from other Santas for coveted mall gigs and private parties.

“I graduate from Santa School,” said Kenneth DeBelius, aka “Real Santa Ken,” a Santa entertainer who has performed at Walt Disney World. “I use the credential on my website whenever I do an artist resume. I lead with it.”

Lessons include how to navigate social media, a key way for the modern Santa illustration artist to promote business and build brand recognition. There’s a lot to juggle. But with joy and enthusiasm, these saints brainstorm and share ideas about how to deal with the more difficult stuff kids ask—like parental separation, or a serious illness.

You better watch: This Santa Claus is coming to town.Ezra Kaplan / Granthshala News

“So there are a lot of elements that you have to be prepared for,” Debelius said. He said that he would carry a small book with him and write down the name of the child who has a special request or question and offer to pray or wish them well when he goes to sleep at night.

The Saints still involved in the game this year say the pressures of the pandemic have made their role more important.

“Connecting with people and making great memories becomes even more important as the pandemic cycle continues. With all kinds of bad news vying for our attention, it’s important to focus on happiness as we wind our way into winter,” Beadle said.

“As Santa, it’s great to be that messenger who says to you, ‘You did great this year. Have fun this season. Live your happiness!'” he said.

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