EXCLUSIVE Britain faces a Santa shortage as number of professional Father Christmases plummets by at least a THIRD since last year – and remaining ones reveal they are already fully booked until 2025

Britain is facing a Santa shortage with the number of professional Father Christmases plummeting by at least a third in the past year.

Simply Business, which offers insurance to cover professional Santas, says it saw a drop of 33 per cent in policies given out this year and, speaking to MailOnline, professionals revealed how they are now fully booked until 2025 as demand continues to soar. 

A combination of reasons have been blamed, including the pandemic, older Santas retiring and a lack of big events that book large groups of Father Christmases.

Jayne Darling, a Santa talent scout with Get Happy Entertainment in Nottingham, said she has lost over two-thirds of her Father Christmases this year, despite demand still being high. 

Experts say regular Santas got acting jobs post-Covid, or retired and those taking up roles now are wearing ‘terrible and cheap’ outfits bought from Ebay. 

Ms Darling said that women are now filling the traditionally male role and revealed how she has also seen a huge surge in demand for a very different festive character – the Grinch.  

Mark Roberts from South Wales in his handmade Father Christmas suit and beard

He is inundated with requests to be Father Christmas this year, even getting over 3000 bookings to fill a single cancellation

‘Ultimately the pandemic had a lot to do with it because it broke the chain,’ she explained. 

‘All our regulars and those who got repeat booking had to go off and find other jobs. That meant when Covid ended they were settled elsewhere in other acting jobs or simply retired.

‘I could have had Santa twenty times over this year. I have even seen women playing Santa because there are just not enough men wanting to do it.

She continued: ‘But the new thing is booking a Grinch – you can’t go anywhere without seeing him right now. He is all over Primark and other shops and he has become so popular on social media that we are just seeing a huge spike in requests for him, particularly for work events. 

‘He is a harder character to cast though as you have to be funny, do the voice, know the mannerisms.’

Mark Roberts from South Wales is a garden products business owner who moonlights as a Santa in the winter months.

He said: ‘We are absolutely seeing a shortage of Santas and it means that people are just booking anybody to be Santa, in any cheap outfit they have bought off Ebay. It is terrible.

‘I open up my bookings from August and I am just inundated. A few weeks ago we had a cancellation and we had over 3000 bookings coming in to fill it.

Santa’s in training at Battersea Power Station with the Ministry of Fun

The Santas are taught to master ‘Merry Christmas’ in multiple languages including sign language and perfect the ‘Ho Ho Ho!’

‘I am being asked to travel further and further as well for shows, I have even been asked to go up to Scotland.

When asked why he thought there was a shortage, Mr Roberts responded: ‘In this present climate people are struggling. One woman said to me why would I go to my local garden centre and spend £20 or £30 to see Santa. It is just far too much. 

‘Also, I expect the majority of Santas in stores or shopping centres don’t get [paid] much, big events are better but they are difficult to come by.’ 

Allan Evans, a Steel Works Santa based in South Wales said: ‘We are doing really well at the moment. We started taking bookings in February this year which was a bit crazy and we are now 4 weeks into a fully booked season. 

‘Everything I earn, I donate to charity. Last year we raised just over £10,000 and are hoping to do better this year.’

Meanwhile, the owner of a Santa school has revealed how he is teaching his students how to perform in several different languages – including sign language – because of the diversity of people hiring them. 

Matt Grist, the managing director of Ministry of Fun, a Santa school has said: ‘Demand is greater than ever. We have had to take on more bookings than ever, but our core principles remain the same.’

He continued: ‘We teach them ‘Happy Christmas’ in multiple different languages, including in British Sign Language, as they often will come across a diverse background of people. And to perfect the Ho! Ho! Ho!’

Source: Read Full Article