Shortage of Santa Helpers persists as demand increases

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 5:09 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Getting a picture taken with one of Santa’s helpers and giving Santa a gift idea to send to the North Pole is how many family memories are made during the holidays, but this year, a number of Santa’s aren’t putting on the red suit.

“There’s a Santa shortage this year,” said Mitch Allen, founder, and Head-Elf of the company

His business helps others match Santa’s in the U.S. with hundreds of those businesses and groups in Iowa, but this year he said he was down 10 percent. He said that could be because some helpers were retiring after helping the man at the North Pole for so many years, others aren’t doing it because of health reasons.

“As you can imagine, most Santa Claus entertainers are high risk for a negative outcome if they get COVID-19,” said Allen. “A number of them are sitting this year out like they did last year, and, unfortunately, we lost a percent of them over the last 18-months due to COVID-19.”

Allen said the demand for Santa Helpers has gone up 120 percent with more people wanting one at their place of work, home, or retail store. That coupled with fewer workers meant people might need to adjust their expectations before taking a child to meet one of Santa’s Friends and building memories for years to come.

“Most places that have had a Santa in the past will have a Santa again,” he said. “The hours might be different. Make sure Santa is going to be available at the date and time you want to see him.”

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