Santas around the world are remaining busy in the final stretch of the Christmas season
But there's a reported shortage of Santa characters across the U.S.
Tim Connaghan, calls himself the "National Santa" for his roles in big parades and celebrity events, explains:
"We did lose some Santas this past year due to COVID-19 and just regular health too. Because you have to remember the average age of a Santa is in the 60s and they tend to retire after a few years so some of them stepped down I think a little early. So there has been a bit of a shortage in that area. I think even though we have had a shortage because a few decided to take the season off, everyone else seems to be quite busy."
This year some Santas, like this Mrs Claus character, also known as Jessica Kersey, have returned to in-person work, bringing joy at malls in California.
"I have heard rumours of a shortage of Santas but I do think it's actually not quite a shortage necessarily. I do think everyone is looking forward to in-person experiences but rather than gathering in one spot where everyone meets one Santa in kind of a line situation, I think there is more of a demand for having a private in-person gathering."
Last year the pandemic forced some in-person Santas to go on hiatus for the season.
According to a survey of Santas organized by Connaghan, about half of them had started working online and 42 per cent plan to stay digital this year.
A Santa character's average age is about 66, according to the same survey.