News

Visits to Santa have changed during the pandemic

BY DYLAN HEPPERT

Among the many troubles presented this holiday season, allowing children to see Santa Claus is one of them. Because seeing Santa Clause presents many problems to both young people and Santa alike, many places had to get creative. 

A common alternative to seeing Santa Clause is to host visits with the big man virtually, over programs such as Zoom. An appointment can be booked through companies that allow a family and their child to have a live discussion with Santa. Some companies such as Santa- The Experience also allow you to customize your experience with Santa, by discussing Christmas lists and past memories.

However some places are still allowing children to see Santa Claus in-person, but with minor adjustments. In some cases, Kris Kringle will be seated behind a shield of plexiglass, where the children may speak to him through a telephone. 

Another way groups are choosing to have in person visits is by placing props in front of Santa’s chair and helpers. The use of false gifts and other props in front of Santa Clause prevents children from charging towards him. 

Under both of these circumstances, both parties must wear masks and remain socially distanced. But according to mother Amber Bearden, this is not the kind of memory she wants for her child. 

Santa Clause holds a picture of Bearden’s son in his Christmas pajamas through Rikki Lauren photography. Virtual visits with Santa are much more safe since children easily spread the virus and Santas, typically being older,  are more susceptible to it’s harmful effects.  Photo courtesy of Amber Bearden

“We normally take him(her son) to a smaller store by our house and they cancelled Santa this year,” said Bearden. “He’s never done well with the mall Santa.”

Bearden says that there was a Santa doing pictures at a place near her. However, she was not comfortable taking her child there.

“Everyone here has Santa behind plexiglass and that’s not the kind of memory I want for my child.”

Instead Bearden sent a picture of her son to a local photographer. There, they framed that photo and gave it to the Santa Clause to hold. They then sent the picture of Santa holding the picture of her son back to her. 

These small changes in an old holiday tradition are important for the safety of both the children and Santa Clause. By implementing these changes, it allows children and their families to safely see Santa Claus this holiday season. 

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