Zoom Santas cash in on $70 meet-and-greets

Macy’s, Sam’s Club, and more offer virtual visits to the North Pole

Dec 23, 2020 | Current events | Jobs
Article headline image

Santa’s got a brand new gig

Office workers aren’t the only ones WFH this year. Santa Claus has moved his annual mall meet-and-greet to Zoom in 2020. And parents are paying top dollar to buy their kids a bit of holiday cheer. One Mr. and Mrs. Claus duo earns between $49 and $69 for each five to ten minute meet-and-greet. The Clauses work nine hour days and schedule up to six video calls per hour. Their investment? $10 for a fireplace backdrop. And the return? The couple expects to triple or quadruple their income this holiday season.

Always be Clausing

Even corporate Santa has gone online. Macy’s Herald Square in New York City credits its Santaland experience with attracting 250,000 people each year and hopes its Santaland at Home experience will be enough to tide shoppers over until next year. Sam’s Club rolled out a similar benefit to boost brand affinity: free virtual chats with Santa for paying members. The craze is even giving rise to new businesses. The CEO of Santa’s Club — a small biz that sells video chats with Santa — dreamt up his business last year, not as a direct response to Covid-19, but to offer an alternative to the lines, stress, and crowds that come with meeting mall Santa. Live Calls with Santa is a Canadian company offering the same fare, and its virtual Santas earn up to $25 CAD per hour. And while many in-person events have migrated to Zoom this year, the overwhelming popularity of virtual Santas signals this new twist on a holiday tradition may be here to stay.