Literally! In some towns there’s not enough money to have a Santa. This is like a Hallmark movie come to life. Just without the happy ending. I mean they even had Santas in the Depression 1.0. They just maybe skipped out on the lifesize blow up snowglobes and the houses covered with enough twinkling lights to illuminate the Eastern seaboard.
WSJ: With budgets tightening and corporate sponsors vanishing, communities from coast to coast have moved to trim the trimmings. They’re hiring fewer elves and renting smaller floats for their Christmas parades. They’re stringing fewer lights.
Santa bookings have dropped so steeply that the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, which represents 700 jolly souls in red velvet, held a series of meetings to discuss their economic survival. Among the tips: If clients can’t afford an extended Santa visit at $125 an hour, offer them a quickie drop-in. “Have him read a story to the group instead of having everyone come sit on Santa’s lap,” suggests Nicholas Trolli, who says bookings are down 50% for the 20 Santas he represents along the East Coast.
This trend of skimping on civic cheer comes as a blow to many families. Their holidays at home will be more modest this year. Office parties will also be subdued. Now they can’t even count on cherished holiday traditions in the town square.
Turns out those town square Xmas extravaganzas ain’t cheap. Here are some price tags that the WSJ threw out there:
The Cost of the Holidays
Live reindeer rental, Warren, Mich.: $750
Santa appearance, Fairless Hills, Penn.: $125 an hour
Festive lamppost banners, Grandview, Wash.: $625 to $750 apiece
Rental of 20-foot-tall snowman balloon, Phoenix, Ariz.: $2,200
Helium to inflate giant balloon, Gatlinburg, Tenn.: $1,000
Official judges for high-school marching bands, Escondido, Calif.: $3,200
Installation of illuminated ornaments on 50 streetlights, Bay City, Mich.: $1,500
Electric bill for 18 nights of animated light displays lining a half-mile path, Sandwich, Mass.: $7,000
Purchase of 120 glowing star decorations, Branson, Mo.: $36,000
Hot cocoa, sweatshirts, flashlights, hand-warmers, etc., for 500 parade volunteers, Denver, Colo.: $10,000