SALT LAKE CITY — Naughty or nice, Santa may *not* check twice this year.
That’s because this holiday season, we could see a Santa shortage.
Mitch Allen, the owner of Hire Santa, employs Santas across the globe. He says the Kris Kringle crisis is real.
“We are struggling to find holiday entertainers of all types," Allen said.
People are returning to in-person holiday events this year, and Santa is in high demand.
“There are more people that want Santa at their event than ever before,” Allen said.
He says demand is up 120% of pre-pandemic levels.
But some Santas still want to stay at the North Pole, away from large crowds.
“Huge demand, and at the same time we have 10 percent fewer Santas due to COVID issues,” Allen said.
Hire Santa already sold out for the first and second weekends in December.
Fifty percent of clients are asking if Santa can be vaccinated.
Edward Keller, who’s been donning the Santa suit for nearly 50 years, is returning to the Santa Shack in Sugar House this year. He is vaccinated.
“If it wouldn’t have been for the kids, I wouldn’t have been doing this now, but I love seeing the kids and they come back every year. This Santa is taken care of with both shots and a booster. I can’t take the chance on being sick before Christmas Eve,” Keller said.
Five generations of people know and love this Sugar House Santa.
“People love Santa … they love OUR Santa,” said Laurie Bray, Santa Shack owner.
“COVID has complicated things. We did everything outside last year. We built this fence so people are six feet away from Santa,” said Bray.
It’s a trend they’re continuing this season.
Allen says to take his advice: If you need Saint Nick at your party this year, give him a call early.
“We’re hiring. We need Santas with real beards, real jolly,” he said.
The Santa Shack in Sugar House opens the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s located at 2275 S Highland Drive in Salt Lake City.
It will be open Monday through Friday from 3:30-7:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors will text the posted number on arrival and wait in their car.
- Digital packages: $25
- Photos with your own camera: $10
- Prints will be mailed, $20 a sheet, plus $3.00 postage.