‘Parents are Desperate.’ Zoom Santas are Cashing In

“Is the audio on?” said Mrs. Claus, leaning closer to the webcam and tapping at the iPad screen. Mr. Claus, seated in front of a backdrop of a fireplace with stockings, added: “Hello! Is that Jesse or James who’s speaking? I can’t tell because your video isn’t on.”

This is Santa season 2020.The Clauses, or rather Don White, 79, and Mary Rogers, 73, are two actors who’ve traded in-person Santa visits for Zoom calls, offering families a safer alternative to the annual tradition as the world grapples with surging Covid cases.

Although some Santas are suiting up behind plexiglass or waving to children from snow globe setups, virtual calls from the North Pole’s famous pair are entertaining families with personalization and intimacy in spite of some technical difficulties. It’s also a way for Santas to still earn a paycheck and possibly “triple or quadruple income this season.”

The price for a private chat ranges from 49 dollars for five minutes to 69 dollars for 10 minutes.

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