A Zoom call with Santa might cost more than the gifts this year.  Would you pay $400 for an hour with Saint Nick?

Santa may not hit malls as hard this year as he has in past years, but he'll be making the most of video calls this holiday season.

I've heard that some companies are hiring virtual Santas for $20 or $25 per hour, and if you look the part, have a working knowledge of the hottest toys in 2020, and can answer tough questions from 5-year olds, it might make a great side hustle.

One Santa is charging $100 for fifteen minutes, and $400 for a solid hour on Zoom.  Santa Ed has been the Santa for the Jimmy Kimmel Show cast and crew party, The Ellen Show cast and crew party, and The Late Late Show With James Corden cast and crew party, and he's made appearances for The Bold and the Beautiful, Nickelodeon, the LA Rams, the LA Lakers, and the Facebook company party.  Sometimes kids ask parents if there is a "real Santa" and a "mall Santa," and if there is one, this guy is the real deal. And he's expensive.

Prices for Santa Ed, according to his website, range from $150 to $400 during peak times, and they range from $100 to $250 during off-peak times.  An hour on Christmas Day will run you $750.  That might be fun if you can get the whole family to chip in and split it.

Kids probably don't need an hour to tell Santa they want a Nintendo Switch and a phone for Christmas, so fifteen minutes is probably all parents need to book.  But would ya?  They'll give you the recorded video to keep forever and ever and you can take a screenshot during the call to replace the picture that you would get on Santa's lap at the mall.  But we could buy a really elaborate LEGO set or some good headphones with a hundred bucks, and we all have to decide if the Zoom visit is a holiday budget buster or not.

Here's the other thing.  If you're looking for a new career and gray hair is starting to set in, start a Santa business!  Authentic-looking Santas are in demand, and you might be able to do it without ever leaving the house.