We are desperately looking for an old man with a white beard. As the holidays approach, the United States is in crisis: there are hardly any Santa Clauses left.
Paul Gagnon, who has played the man in red for twelve years, got a job with ease. The amusement park where he used to work did not call on him this year. However, a big hotel in Washington was already waiting for him. “I found this spot in September. They had just told me it wouldn’t work out in Florida and I was already signing here.”
Several hotels had to get in early to find his five Santa Claus. “The Santas that we were looking for had to accept the sanitary protocol as well as the wearing of masks”, underlines the director of the hotel.
Hiresanta.com, a company that specializes in renting white-bearded extras for stores or individuals, has seen a 120 percent increase in demand this year, while the number of available candidates has plummeted. “We’ve already lost 335 of our Santas. Many have died from Covid and many others don’t want to be in contact with the public because they are at risk,” says Mitch Allen, the boss.
There is a real lack of Santa Claus and companies are ready to make exceptional efforts and especially to look for other profiles such as young and slimmer. However, the job is well paid.
The man in the red suit earns around 26 euros per hour, but a very similar Santa Claus can earn up to 150 dollars, it is certain that if the situation persists in this direction, some companies are ready to pay 300 dollars. In spite of these attractive offers, people are very cautious and prefer to avoid this high risk job.