Higher demand for Santa’s helpers in South Central Wisconsin

It’s that special time of year, and this holiday season, Santa Claus has a calendar full of appearances.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 3:58 PM CST
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DANE CO., Wis. (WMTV) -Ho ho ho oh-no! It’s that special time of year, and this holiday season, Santa Claus has a calendar full of appearances.

“Our numbers are up double over last year already, we’ve actually gone over our full attendance from 2021...and we have quite a ways to go,” said Tim Maahs, Rock County Historical Society executive director.

Maahs is a member of the north pole communications team, helping to coordinate visits from the red-suited and white-bearded man to Janesville.

“I have peers trying to book him for things, but he’s booked solid here,” Maahs laughed. He points to more and more children looking for some face time with jolly Ol’ Saint Nick as pandemic fears wane. And this year, Maahs is having to step into the suit for an appearance.

“It’s so fun to see the little kids bound into the house, and they happen to turn to the left,” Maahs recalls of a Mr. Claus visit at the Lincoln-Tallman House. “This one little boy just screamed, I swear it came from his toes...screamed SANTA,” he laughed. “It’s adorable, it’s fun.”

“The beard is a big deal,” stated one Madison-area Santa helper of ten years. “That’s why I do this, I’m gonna get teary eyed, especially the little ones when they want to sit in my lap, they look at me with that big grin,” he started. A line of work, and gift that keeps on giving, but is in need of new hires.

Mitch Allen, self proclaimed “Head Elf,” is the founder of HireSanta.com, one of the world’s largest staffing agencies for holiday entertainers. Allen says the industry is overwhelmed with Santa requests, up 30 percent compared to 2021.

Maahs’ assertation is pent-up demand, as the past couple years, families have opted out of traditional in-person festivities. But this holiday season, most Americans are returning to normal. “It was kind of everyone was teetering on should we come out, is it safe to gather, all of that still.” Maahs continued, “You have a blip in time like that and it does kind of knock things off—out of –off track there a bit.”

No matter if one is able to see Father Christmas or his bustling team in-person this season, Maahs said, “he’s always listening” and will be able to fulfill those desires to good boys and girls wish lists.

Now mall Santa helpers are in a league of their own in the Madison area. Officials with the West and East Towne malls say they have not had an issue in securing the big man, but rather it’s an uptick in eager visitors this year. They recommend booking your time with Santa in advance to avoid longer wait times.

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