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Chalk up another shortage to the pandemic — but this time, it's Santa that's in short supply. While he might still be coming down your chimney this Christmas, he may not be at the mall to invite kids onto his lap. 

Related: Shortages That Could Make Your Holidays Way Less Merry

Demand for Santas is up, but many Santas want to stay socially distanced to reduce the chance of infection, and some are sitting out this year entirely thanks to COVID-19 fears, says Mitch Allen, founder of, a database of Santas that can be booked for events. There's another, sadder layer to the shortages, too: Allen told USA Today that more than 700 Santas died last year — as many as 300 to 500 of them victims of COVID-19.

Related: Macy's Brings Back a Beloved Holiday Tradition — With a Catch

The Santas that are working this season are raking in big bucks, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many are asking for — and getting — anywhere from $175 to $300 an hour, says Brian Wilson of California-based Santa for Hire. And Allen tells USA Today that his Santas can make a few thousand bucks by donning the red suit from now through Christmas. 

Think you might want to step into one of the many Santa vacancies? Old Navy is offering a free Santa bootcamp online to recruit newbies of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultural heritages. 

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