Stephen Arnold, the president and CEO of IBRBS, a professional group based in Memphis and Santa entertainer, said that most of us work as hard as possible from early morning until late at night.

Santa is always aware of how tired he might be.

Arnold stated, “What they don’t realize is that Santa who comes from 9 to 11 [p.m.] most likely started that morning at 8 or 8:30or 9 at the daycare centre or a breakfast avec Santa or some other place.”

He points out that Christmas falls this year on a Saturday, which means December has only three weekends for holiday gatherings. This further reduces the holiday season.

Arnold says, “There is only so many people that you can see in one night.” Since February, Arnold has been booking holiday weekends.

COVID-19 lowered the ranks of Santas
As Santa Claus himself, the people who portray him are often older and more overweight. This can make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

COVID was disastrous for everyone, but even more so for Santa because most of us are obese. Arnold says that most of us suffer from an obesity-related condition. “We were very vulnerable, and it is evident by the number of Santas we lost in this organization.” CEO Mitch Allen said he knew of 335 Santa entertainers who had died within the last year. He suspects that the true number may be even greater.

He stated that 2020 was a difficult year for the elderly due to COVID.

Allen clarifies that not all deaths resulted from COVID. However, the death toll is much higher than that of a normal year.

Santa entertainers on the circuit this Christmas face the threat of COVID. Arnold said he is cautious and worried about the impact his job could have on his family.

He says, “I have an immunocompromised spouse who’s pretty much at home.” “If I brought anything home, it would most likely have killed my wife if it hadn’t.”
Randyl Wagner always carries a bag of white cotton gloves with him to change out his gloves when he attends events. He has his suit regularly dry-cleaned and keeps a social distance while performing his Santa duties.

Wagner says, “I always have my hand sanitizer,” even though I am wearing gloves. “And I still carry a mask.”

Others have decided to retire and put down their Santa hats. Allen estimates that between retirements and deaths, there will be 10 to 15% fewer entertainers this year. This, coupled with a 120 per cent increase in demand, makes it difficult to find Santa Claus.

He said that close to 250 people had reached out to him to hire Santa Claus entertainers. This was on a November day. “And it’s unlikely that we will be able staff many, if none of them.”

The modern Santa community is tight-knit, with entertainers using e-mail and Facebook groups to spread the word about Santa events.

Arnold says, “We’re trying out to overcome any shortages that you may have heard about.” “And no matter what you might have heard, Santa will still be there on Christmas.