KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Santa is going to be busier than ever this holiday season visiting children around the Kansas City metro.
As some companies battle Santa shortages, those still working are seeing high demands for their visits.
Local Santa Kevin Boydston said there are likely a few factors playing into a Santa shortage around the nation such as age, not being able to physically do the job anymore and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Most of them are seniors, and you know they are concerned about their health and the health of the children that they are working around as well," Boydston said.
For the last 25 years, Boydston has loved being able to transform into Santa Claus to bring joy to children around Missouri and Kansas.
"When you walk in the door and that child is not expecting you to walk through that door, and their eyes just get huge and they light up," Boydston said.
Oak Park Mall in Overland Park works with Cherry Hill Programs to bring in Santa every year.
Chris Landtroop, vice president of marketing and communications, said the company strategized its recruiting this year and is fully staffed with Santas.
"We have such a large network, so it’s easier for us to pull, but for smaller companies, maybe for some Santas, it's, 'Maybe this year isn’t the year for me to be around a bunch of children,'" Landtroop said.
Boydston said he's not quite back to his pre-pandemic schedule yet, but his calendar is booking up fast.
He's hopeful younger Santas coming down the pipeline will help fill the important role.
"I think it’s something that we just need to work through right now, we need to get a little normalcy back in our lives," Boydston said.