It’s not easy being a worthy Santa – portliness, for instance, might be a desirable competency, with all the attendant health implications – as America is realising in this, the second pandemic Christmas.
According to Axios, the demand for professional ho-ho-ho men has been high in the US and the unmet needs have pretty much kept pace. Axios quotes IBRBS, an international membership organization of nearly 2,000 professional Santa and Mrs. Claus actors, to say the St Nicks have a fifth more work than in pre-pandemic times, notably 2019. And a Texas-based Santa hiring company says it has 10 per cent fewer Santas available this year, even as demand has more than doubled compared to pre-pandemic Christmases.
Well, Santas are not immune from the Great Resignation, with many having chosen to retire or take time off. Add to that the fact that many Santas are portly as well as older, which puts them in the Covid high-risk category. Slate reports that hundreds of Santas have died since the pandemic began, many due to COVID-19.
And finally, Santas too seem to want a change in working conditions. One Santa Experience company in Minnesota said its Santas just weren’t “comfortable going back to the way it used to be…COVID-19 is the concern.”
It’s a rather quirky reminder of the extent to which the pandemic has affected almost every part of the way we live.