Demand for Santa Is Up, But Labor Shortage Stretches to North Pole

"COVID has been very rough on the Santa Claus entertainer world," said Mitch Allen, who runs and has seen demand rise to 120% of pre-pandemic levels

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You better not pout, you better not cry, and here is why: Santa is trying to come to town this holiday season, even with record demand.

On a recent night in Manchester, New Hampshire, a group of Santas came together for a Santa supper — a chance to catch their breath between deciding who is naughty and nice.

"We are finding folks really want Santa back," said Santa Dan Greenleaf with the New England Santa Society. "I can't get over how early the requests starting coming in and the number and the lengths of the visits that are happening."

By all accounts, this Santa Season is red hot, even by North Pole standards. It's the latest complication to the holiday season, which is facing a possible COVID surge as well as demand for Christmas trees that's outpacing supply.

You might be paying a lot more for a Christmas tree this year, with supply chain woes and "panic buying" just part of the problem.

For Santa Jim Manning, who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he is not working, the phone in his workshop has been ringing nonstop.

"There is a shortage of Santas this year," said Manning, an event Santa who is looking forward to getting back to what he does best: entertaining crowds in person.

"I think this year is going to be special," Manning said.

Through the excitement, there is also the acknowledgment of how much has changed in the last year. For these Jolly Old St. Nicks, the last year has been rough.

Many Santas have hung up their suits for good. Others have decided it is still too risky with the ongoing pandemic.

(Warning: This video is not safe for children.) We asked Olympians if they believe in Santa Claus. Their answers ranged from heartbreaking to heartwarming.

There is another reason, too.

"Unfortunately, we lost a lot of the Santas nationwide," Manning said. "I know there is a couple that passed in the area, from COVID."

This scrooge of Christmas is not just a New England thing.

"COVID has been very rough on the Santa Claus entertainer world," said Mitch Allen, who runs

Allen says demand is up 120% over pre-pandemic levels.

"We are basically sold out across the country to have a Santa Claus come to their home, office or retail establishment," he said.

In Manchester, Santas are vowing to do whatever they can to make it to your town. It just might not be the most ideal time.

"We are in mid-November, and I'm starting to think there are days I am going to just have to say, 'Sorry I can't provide anybody,'" Greenleaf said.

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