Increase in demand for Santa’s Helpers

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:30 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The number of people hiring Santa’s helpers is on the rise, and the number of people willing to play Santa is increasing too.

The founder of ‘Santa Hire’ said numbers even eclipsed what he saw before the pandemic, but public health experts wanted to remind people that respiratory viruses could still be a threat. The company provides Santa’s helpers to malls, businesses, and other events, said it had seen a 36% increase in the number of people looking to book a Santa.

“It’s before Thanksgiving, and I’m pretty much sold out on weekends in December already,” said Mitchell Allen, Founder and Head Elf of Hire Santa.

He believed the increase in demand and the number of Santa’s helpers willing to work was because people were feeling safer post-pandemic.

“I think they were really looking at this holiday season and thinking it was going to be a big year,” said Allen. “They were trying to push Christmas, and they were trying to draw people into their establishments.”

Those with the Johnson County Department of Public Health said it was good to see the robust return of gatherings and celebrations, but said people still need to be safe during the time of year when respiratory infections are most common.

“As any respiratory season, we are going to continue to recommend folks if they are ill, please stay home,” said Sam Jarvis, Johnson County Public Health Community Health Division Manager. “Please take care of yourself. If you are ill, it is no fun to do your holiday shopping or doing the holiday festivities that many folks are returning to now.”

Jarvis said it has been difficult to track COVID-19 information since the state stopped requiring reports, but said the state currently had low to mild levels of COVID-19, flu, and RSV.

“In terms of surveillance, we’re roughly where we are at most years, but we will likely see an increase in activity as time goes on,” said Jarvis.

It’s a risk Allen also recognizes given his workforce and the level of engagement they have with the public.

“We’re still encouraging our Santa Claus Entertainers to make sure they take care of themselves because as you can imagine, our Santa’s are at a high risk if they get COVID due to their age and other underlying conditions,” said Allen.