LOS ANGELES (KNX) — With Christmas just around the corner, kids are getting ready to see Santa Claus.
Whether it’s outside or inside the store, seeing the jolly man in his red suit and white beard just adds a little extra magic to the holiday season.
But just like last year, it may be a little tougher to spot Old Saint Nicholas.
Timothy Connaghan, the national Santa for The Kringle Group, the Marine Corps, and Santa for the Hollywood Christmas Parade, told KNX In Depth some Santas are once again sitting out this year.
“About 80 percent of the Santas that I surveyed this year said that they had their shots, they’ve had their boosters and things, they’re ready to go to work and everything, but about 18 percent of them said they’re going to take the year off, Connaghan explained.
“It’s the fact that not enough of their clients want them to come back. Even the families are kind of I think holding off a bit and these Santas decided ‘ok, let’s take one more year off.’ So that does create a bit of a shortage in some areas.”
Connaghan said that virtual time with Santa is always a possibility as virtual meetings with Santas have grown “tremendously.” In fact, Connaghan is working on a virtual Santa meeting with families and those in the armed forces.
“Here’s the family here in the states and Dad or Mom is on duty overseas, Grandma’s in San Diego, Aunt Harriet’s in Maine, and they can be on one virtual conference together with Santa,” Connaghan described.
One shortage Connaghan is working on this year is a shortage of diverse Santas. Connaghan is working with Old Navy to help make bring diversity to the magic of Santa Claus with a virtual Santa Bootcamp.
“There are a lot of areas in the country where the families, they’ve had the traditional Santa Claus,” he said. “Some one that looks like me, you know, Caucasian, white beard and everything and yet in their community, there’s very few Black Santas, Hispanic Santas, or even Asian Santas. So Old Navy came up with the idea of having a boot camp to invite people who maybe want to be Santa ambassadors.”
You can listen to Connaghan’s interview with In Depth above this article.