CLEVELAND — 'Twas a few weeks before Christmas, when all through the land.
There was quite a worry a pandemic might ruin the plan.
But in an unsuspecting Northeast Ohio neighborhood, what should appear?
A red sleigh, er car, with a license plate that reads ‘HOHOHO’ on the rear.
A visitor at the door, he’s lively and quick.
You may know him. He goes by St. Nick!
Door Stop Santa is a Cleveland company started by Jamie Woelfl. She created it last year, at a time when COVID-19 halted the traditional Santa visits, typically at malls.
“In the throes of COVID we realized many children would not have an opportunity to visit Santa Claus. So, we decided that if the children could not come to Santa, we would ask Santa to come to them. For the cost of mall-Santa photo package, you can avoid long lines and enjoy a visit right from your very own home. The bonus is you can take all of the free pictures you would like,” she said.
The company contracts out experienced Santas.
“Our authentically bearded Santas all have several years of Santa experiences. Some have been mall Santas, hosted tree-lighting ceremonies. Our Standard Santas, which are synthetically beaded have acting experience or professional experience working with children. Of course, a twinkle in the eye and a jolly demeanor are prerequisites, as well.”
One of those Santas spoke to News 5 during his route.
“I went to Charles W. Howard Santa School, which has been going on since 1937,” he said.
He said he took a break from his holiday gig last year.
“It was a lot of social distancing and they don’t want to have any contact, that’s why this Door Stop Santa works so well because you’re at a safe space.”
Door Stop Santa provides Santa with a list of addresses in hand, primarily throughout Cuyahoga County and western Lake County, and he drives to neighborhoods and homes to visit families at the door.
This year, a visit from Santa is in high demand throughout the country. According to HireSanta.com demand for Kris Kringle shot up 120% compared to last, but there are fewer Santas to go around.
Woelfl said the demand for Door Stop Santa is much higher this year, too.
“It’s not a job for everyone,” said Santa. “I’m very busy.”
But Woelfl said she compensates at a very merry rate.
The Santa who spoke to News 5 said it wasn’t about the money, though. It’s about spreading joy.
“I mean just to see the joy in a child’s eye,” he said. “You have a heart of kindness and when you have a heart of kindness, you want to share that by any means.”
December 22 is the last night to book a Santa to come to your house. Visits range from $35 to $55 but visits must be scheduled four days in advance.