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A decline in Santa’s salary, rising cost of turkeys and fewer presents under the tree: Is this the bleakest Christmas on record? | UK News

Santa Claus is coming to town – well, some of them are.

Because this year Santa could found in the job centre rather than a grotto, with 15% fewer jobs for the guy in red being advertised.

And in further bad news, Santa’s salary is also rising less than average, according to job website So while the average wage has gone up 7%, the most famous inhabitant of the North Pole has seen his rise by just 4%.

And he is not alone in feeling the squeeze – it doesn’t matter whether you are on the naughty or nice list – this year is costing more for everyone.

Sky News investigates the state of the great British Christmas as the cost of living crisis hits harder than ever.

Rob and Donna
Santa Rob and Donna have set up a grotto at their animal park

A stand-in Santa

Competition is fierce for Santa roles, says Jack Kennedy – a senior economist at, with searches for this festive work reaching a six-year high.

“Lots of candidates are chasing fewer seasonal jobs this year,” he adds, attributing it to “cost of living pressures and caution among retail employers”.

Santa Rob – who for the rest of the year runs an animal rescue centre as Robert Baxter alongside his partner Donna Rose – found himself forced to don the big red coat and beard after he was unable to afford to pay a performer for his grotto.

“It’s my genuine calling in life,” he jokes. They have tried to keep costs low to enable lower-income families to visit.

Donna and Rob
Donna and Rob

Their business, Get To Know Animals, in Epping, houses 400 animals, many of which are exotic and require multiple heat lamps and specialist food. “The energy costs are absolutely extortionate,” says Donna.

“We struggled to get through the day and then we had the additional cost of building the grotto, but it just means so much to us that people who can’t afford it could come and meet Santa as well.”

Donna grows teary as she talks about…

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This notice was published: 2023-12-24 04:50:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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