Cardello says many of Santa’s helpers are still doing all their events online, which makes those who are visiting kids in-person, much busier.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – You may have noticed it might be hard to book a Santa for a Christmas event this year…well that’s because the Tampa Bay Area is facing a Santa’s helpers shortage.

Nicholas Cardello, also known as Santa Nick, says “We’ve been in lockdown and self-isolating, for such a long time, everybody’s so excited to be out, to be with other people again, so as Santa’s helpers, we are really excited to be with the children again.”

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This year is looking a little better for Santa’s helpers, including Nicholas Cardello, who attends Christmas events and brings the holiday magic to children all over the Tampa Bay Area.

“It’s kind of a hybrid year where we are kind of mixing in-person and virtual visits,” said Cardello.

Last year, Cardello, had to do most of his visits over video call, and now he does those almost as much as in-person events.

“We can visit a lot of children now than we’ve done before,” said Cardello.

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He says he’s scheduled to visit more children than he has in previous years.

“Everyone’s been isolated, so now that they actually have a chance to be with Santa again, there’s a lot of demand to be with Santa,” said Cardello.

Cardello says many of Santa’s helpers are still doing all their events online, which makes those who are visiting kids in-person, much busier.

“Some Santas start booking in January and some are fully booked by July,” said Cardello.

Which is why Cardello is suggesting in the next couple years, people should book their Santa’s helpers months in advance.

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“To be able to sit on Santa’s lap, tell them what they want for Christmas, to be able to tug on Santa’s beard just to make sure it’s real, it’s been great,” said Cardello.