According to Mitch Allen, who is the founder of Hire Santa which reps about 2000 Santa's, bookings for this holiday season are down between 25 and 40-percent depending on the area of the country.
A mall Santa with "a real beard, real belly, real laugh,'' can make anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 working through November and December, Allen says. For many Santa Claus entertainers who are on a fixed income, that extra cash is crucial.
Some malls are attempting to COVID proof the experience. DeVargas Center in New Mexico has come up with a plexiglass divider that still allows kids to talk with the jolly old man and get that traditional picture. Another Santa has created a mock mail room, so kids can whisper their wishes through the post office window but still maintain a safe distance. Most Santa's are even willing to do personal visits.