Demand for diverse Santas increases

Santa Chris on being a Black Santa: ‘There’s always going to be pushback’
Santa Chris on being a Black Santa: ‘There’s always going to be pushback’

ATLANTA (CNN) - Nothing says Christmas like the image of Santa Claus.

While many things change with time, the traditional face of the “jolly old elf” has remained unchanged for decades.

However, those in the Santa business say the demand for wider representation is growing.

Santa is one of the of the most joyful and instantly recognizable characters across the world.

At malls across the country, some kids have noticed a diverse set of Santas popping up.

“Children are always asking me, how can you be a Santa of this color and then be a Santa of another color somewhere else, and I always tell them ‘Santa travels all over the world, so Santa relates to all communities and cultures,’” the mall Santa said.

“Yes, it is important for us to see ones that look like us so that is why it was important to get those pictures,” said Shameka Parker, an Atlanta mother.

“Now we got diverse Santas and everything. We have Mexican Santa, Chinese Santa, whatever kind of Santa you want that makes you feel good about Christmas,” said Joseph Thomas, an Atlanta father.

One of the nation’s largest Santa hiring services said the demand to hire diverse Santas is on the rise across the country.

“The demand for diverse Santas has gone through the roof. We can’t keep up. We are able to let Santa look and sound like the people he is speaking to,” said Mitch Allen, owner and “head elf” at Hire Santa.

“Representation means so much to so many people,” said Stafford Braxton, owner of Santas Just Like Me.

Santa Charles, one of the few Santas who is deaf, uses his tremendous personality to connect with kids who are too often left out.

“(A visit to Santa) wasn’t a good experience for me,” Santa Charles said via sign language. “I have three sisters and a brother. They are all hearing. They were happy and chatting, excited, then came time for my turn. And Santa just gave me this look, flat, and just handed me a gift for me. I felt deflated inside.”

“Santa is a magical experience for children. It is about bringing joy to their lives.” he said. “It really means a lot to me.”

These moments will last a lifetime for these families that will cherish these pictures, which helps to enhance the magic of the season.

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