Santa shortages, increased cost of real Christmas trees may result in holiday cheer deficit

Sprawling inflation has finally reached the North Pole. After Americans had the most expensive Thanksgiving in years, the holidays aren’t easing up. Santa shortages and the increased cost of real Christmas trees may leave Christmas cheer in short supply.

The long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic are finding new ways to manifest themselves as Santa is added to the list of employee shortages. Due to the fact that the typical Santa is of a certain age and more generous proportions, many have been reticent to resume the role during the Covid-19 era. In fact, while many aren’t comfortable working, enrollment in Santa schools is down adding to the strain of shopping malls and photography studios in the search for Saint Nick.

Apparently, due to lockdown and covid precautions being mostly alleviated there is a higher demand for Santa Claus than normal as consumers are making up for lost time. Janine Enold, a photographer with Santa’s House Call, told the Washington Examiner that the big red man is a hot commodity this year.

“We’ll do, like, family portraits and children’s portraits with Santa in home. We do business sessions in December as well. We have a couple of Realtors we work with regularly who want to do, like, end-of-the-year stuff for their clients, so we’ll do a block of Santa sessions for them,” she said.

Enold said that the best Santas get booked the most, which could benefit consumers as it might force lesser Kris Kringles to up their game. “Definitely the best Santas in the area seemed to get booked early and get booked often. And they obviously get pulled for the most prestigious events. We have the Christmas parade coming up in a few weeks, so they’ll have the most experienced Santas, the most well-known Santas there.”

She said that is already 50% booked for the entire month of December. “I didn’t have as much of a difficulty in finding a Santa. But I do have good connections here in the central Virginia area. So we’ve had a couple of clients where we are already booked, and they are looking for alternative Santa options for their event because we are not able to accommodate them. So I have been building a Santa Rolodex of people I can refer.”

Turns out, Father Christmas isn’t the only one affected by the current economic climate.

While consumers will likely still have a tree for him to place the presents under, the holiday foliage will be much more expensive than last year. Supply chain bottlenecks and the impact of consumer demand appear to the driving forces behind the rise in cost according to the respondents of a survey from the Real Christmas Tree Board. 44% of growers that responded to the survey cite the former as their principle concern, and 35% regarded the latter as the variable responsible for the changes in cost this year. The majority of growers, 71%, are planning on an increase of 5% to 15% in their wholesale costs.

“We expect this year to be no different,” Real Christmas Tree Board Executive Director Marsha Gray remarked. “The grower survey tells us demand is healthy. Retailers see steady consumer interest in real Christmas trees and right now supply is pretty well matched to that interest.”

“We expect this year to be no different,” she continued. “The grower survey tells us demand is healthy. Retailers see steady consumer interest in real Christmas trees and right now supply is pretty well matched to that interest. The majority – 67% of the wholesalers we talked to – said they expect to sell all the trees they plan to harvest this year. In terms of volume, more than half – 55% – said they expect to sell about the same amount of real Christmas trees as they did last year. The balance was divided: Some expect to sell more, some less.”

While a real Christmas tree won’t be hard to find, and Santa’s whereabouts appear to be confirmed, someone ought to check in on Rudolph and the gang to make sure they aren’t on strike this December.

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