Festive cheer under threat with shortage of Christmas tree sellers while Santa numbers under threat

BRITAIN'S festive cheer could be under threat as the country battles a shortage of Christmas tree sellers and Santa Claus impersonators.

Experts have revealed that there is a tree-mendous 26 per cent less vendors than this time last year, as families begin digging out their decorations.

The deficit – the first in four years – means Brits may struggle while trying to get their hands on a Christmas tree this year.

And they cant even bank on a visit to Father Christmas to brighten their spirits, as a Santa shortage is also plaguing the UK.

According to small business insurance provider Simply Business, the number of Christmas tree sellers soared by 136 per cent between 2017 and 2020.

But this year there is a shortfall of over a quarter of sellers in the Xmas tree game.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: "For the first time in four years, our data has revealed a drop in the number of Christmas tree sellers in the UK.

"Like many small business owners, Christmas tree sellers have felt the impact of the pandemic, along with rising costs and supply chain challenges – forcing many to shut up shop."

The study also discovered that one in five small traders fear their firms won't survive the new year if they don't rake in the Christmas cash.

The festive period proves a lifeline for thousands of small businesses on a good year – so those feeling the effects of the pandemic are even more dependent on the season of goodwill.

A third of businesses said they make around 30 per cent of their entire year's revenue over Christmas.

But as some Brits dial back their celebrations, they have left one in four small business owners feeling "not confident" about their business's chances this December.

Meanwhile, places are so desperate to find Santa Claus impersonators they are offering up to £100 per hour for the Yuletide gig.

That's more than six times the more usual rate of £15 an hour for playing Mr Claus.

SANTA SHORTAGE

In many areas, wages for Santas have nearly tripled – to £40 an hour.

But one job listing searching for "Father Christmas actor" in Basildon, Essex, is offering £75-£100 an hour – a whopping £17,000 for the month of December.

Indeed blames the lack of candidates on waning appetite for seasonal roles, while others reckon workers want to avoid jobs where they may be more at risk of catching Covid.

Mr Thomas continued: "It's vital we support small businesses this Christmas.

"One in five small businesses expect to permanently close in 2022, unless they have a bumper festive period.

"If anything, the pandemic has served as another reminder that we should be supporting them all year round.

"They're the lifeblood of our local communities and collectively contribute trillions of pounds a year in turnover. They are the backbone of the economy."

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