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Retailers are pushing for “a more diverse pool” of Santas.

Dec 07 2021

Retailers are pushing for “a more diverse pool” of Santas. According to a Santa survey conducted in 2017 by The Tampa Bay Times, in a country where half the children under the age of 15 are BIPOC, less than 5% of the professional Santas working in malls, street corners, or gatherings are Black, Asian, or Hispanic. To make the holiday space more diverse, Old Navy launched a virtual “Santa BOOT Camp” to train Santas of color. While the tutorial doesn’t address how BIPOC Santas can deal with bigotry, it is described as “a lighthearted experience” that will provide guidance on some of the most common challenges of playing Santa, including “how to handle outrageous gift requests and to temper potential disbelief in little ones.” But according to a spokesperson from the brand, they are committed to ensuring that all their employees, including their in-store Santas, are treated with “respect and dignity.” In recent years, Macy’s and malls like the Mall of America have also attempted to diversify their Santa actors. According to Tim “Santa Tim” Connaghan: “I think, in a couple of years, most people won’t be looking for Santas with white beards, and won’t be expecting a Santa that looks like Tim Allen. Santa is constantly evolving.” (NBC News)