To note: Parents, some of Santa’s secrets may be revealed.
Demand to see Santa Claus this holiday season is up significantly from years past.
Families line up around town to meet the big guy himself. In some places, it is difficult to meet the demand.
Keith Stras, CEO and Founder of Chicago Santas which has been in business for 48 years, employs 25 Santa Clauses across the city.
“There are more jobs than we have Santas available,” Stras said. “They [Santas] are non-stop between November 11 until Christmas Day itself. The requests keep coming. … It was incredibly chaotic because of last year’s shortage.
Stras attributes the shortage of Santa Clauses to the fact that the majority are aged 60 and over.
“Unfortunately some of them died from COVID, not all of them, but some did. There’s not enough in the active pool. … Anyone can put on a Santa outfit, but you gotta have it here,” Stras said, pointing to her heart.
Santa Tim, who has been busy helping out Santa at the North Pole, says the kids have been “good” this year.
“There are very few kids on the naughty list this year,” Santa Tim said. “But Santa Claus still believes in redemption. If they can do their best, they can be on that good list.
He added that the families have been “good” at following COVID-19 protocols when meeting and feel safe with the protections in place. Despite all the uncertainty, he felt “all the love” again.
“You have to believe,” said Santa Tim. “Last year, with the situation with COVID, I didn’t realize how much I had missed the love of little boys and little girls.”
But a return to normal is far from there.
“I can honestly tell you that the days of kids sitting on Santa’s lap are over,” Stras said. “It is one of our concerns because we want to protect the health of our employees, and the majority of people understand.”
Contact Acacia Hernandez: (773) 509-5518 | [email protected]