Chicago Sees Overwhelming Demand for Santa This Season

Note: Parents, it’s possible some of Santa’s secrets may be revealed.

Demand to see Santa Claus this holiday season is up significantly compared to years past. 

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Families are lining up around the city to meet with the big guy himself. In some places, there's a struggle to meet the demand.

Keith Stras, CEO and founder of Chicago Santas which has been in business for 48 years, employs 25 Santas across the city.

“There’s more work than we have Santas available,” Stras said. “They [Santas] are nonstop between Nov. 11 up until Christmas Day even. The requests are still coming in. ... It’s been unbelievably bedlam because of the shortage last year.”

Stras attributes the Santa shortage to the majority being up in age, 60 and better.

“Unfortunately, some of them did pass away from COVID, not all, but some did. There’s not enough in the active pool. ... Anybody can put on a Santa Claus outfit, but you gotta have it here,” Stras said as he pointed to his heart.

Santa Tim, who has been busy lending a hand to Santa Claus in the North Pole, says kids have been “good” this year.

“There’s very few kids on the naughty list this year,” Santa Tim said. “But Santa always believes in redemption. If they can do their best job, then they can get on that good list.”

He added that families have been “good” about following COVID-19 protocols while meeting him and feels safe from the protections in place. Despite all the uncertainty, he has felt “all the love” once again.

“You gotta believe,” Santa Tim said. “Last year with the way the situation was with COVID, I didn’t realize just how much I had missed the love from little boys and girls.”

But a return to normalcy is far from here.

“I can honestly tell you the days of children sitting on Santa’s lap are gone,” Stras said. “It’s a concern of ours because we want to protect our employees’ health, and the majority of people understand.”

Contact Acacia Hernandez: (773) 509-5518 | [email protected]

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