It’s that time of year again when children do their best to maintain a coveted spot on the “nice list” as they excitedly await a stocking full of goodies, presents under the Christmas tree, and a smiling Santa at the mall … or so we all thought. With COVID-19 and Omicron threatening the holiday season, a new survey from Researchscape International on behalf of Zuhoo, the world’s most popular virtual Santa visit platform, finds many families are concerned about safety protocols regarding Santa visits and the annual Christmas photos.

The most wonderful time of the year is not without its challenges in 2021. In addition to people still being hesitant to frequent busy malls, there is also a Santa shortage and looming toy shortage that will certainly make ticking items off Christmas lists more difficult this year, signaling the adoption of a “new normal” for Christmas.

The survey found that many parents who typically bring their children to the mall to meet Santa are once again forgoing the tradition due to COVID-19. Data gathered from the 1,130 survey participants revealed that it doesn’t stop there, according to a news release.

The results show:

  • 49% of parents in families that include Santa in their holiday season are planning on skipping the in-person visit with Santa at the mall this year, with a majority citing concerns over COVID-19.
  • 32% of U.S. adults are “somewhat comfortable” in a mall setting while 24% are “completely comfortable,” and 12% are “not at all comfortable.”
  • 47% of the participants were completely unaware of a holiday toy shortage; with 78% saying they are not worried about the shortage.

Other findings included:

  • 44% of parents found it very or completely important to have a diverse cast (i.e., Black Santa, ASL Santa, Spanish-speaking Santa) of Santa performers available.
  • 40% of parents warn their child(ren) that “Santa is watching” or some version of this phrase at least once every day during the holiday season.
  • The three main reasons parents say they take their child(ren) to see Santa are for the keepsake photo, interacting with Santa, and the quality of the time spent.

With Christmas quickly approaching, and apprehension about going to the mall, kids and their families can still partake in one of the world’s great holiday traditions. A virtual visit with Santa on Zuhoo provides a diverse cast of Clauses, very personalized interaction with Santa and, of course, that coveted keepsake photo and video – from the safety and comfort of their homes. Happy Holidays!

On behalf of Zuhoo, Researchscape International conducted an online survey of 1,130 U.S. adults, of whom 388 were parents in families that include Santa in their holiday season. The survey collected responses from November 5 to 8, 2021; results were weighted to be representative of the overall population by eight demographic variables.

Source: ZuHoo