Safe Ways to “Visit” Santa This Year

While we’re certain the elves are practicing social distancing and masks are strictly enforced around the North Pole, keeping Santa and kids alike safe is the top priority in the weeks leading up to Christmas day.

It’s been a magical memory in years past to check and see if you’re on the naughty or nice list, sharing whispers of desired toys, and capturing a cherished photo while sitting on St. Nick’s lap, but precautions must be taken this year to keep everyone safe.

According to the CDC, families are placed at high risk when gathering in large crowds when it’s difficult to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, especially with attendees traveling from outside the area.

As we know, many of the places where Santa Claus likes to visit, including shopping malls and town squares draw large crowds and Kris Kringle tends to be in the higher-risk group for contracting COVID-19, let’s protect him (and our families) with these suggestions.

Beloved traditions will be different this year, but getting creative can keep the magic alive.

Three Safe Ways to “Visit” Santa During the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Write a Letter

There is one tradition that is always safe and never has to change: sending letters to Santa Claus. This year, try taking advantage of one of the below services to breathe new fun into this age-old tradition.

The U.S. Postal Service has instructions that detail how to get a letter from Santa Claus, postmarked from the North Pole. Follow the steps as outlined, and be sure to mail your letters no later than Dec. 7 so they will be received in time for Christmas.

Another great resource is Letters to Santa Online, where you can receive a free personalized photo from Kris Kringle. If you want take the magic one step further, Package from Santa has options that include a video call, personalized letter from Santa, a “nice list” guide and more.

If you’re looking for a fun (and funny) alternative to the traditional letter, consider this; Chatbooks and Lifetime have teamed up to provide an online “Mad Libs”-style experience that will deliver a free personalized postcard from Santa to your child.

Schedule a Phone Call

If letter writing isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer to chat with Santa on the phone. Reserve a JingleRing, with either a recorded message or live call, to provide a fun, customized experience for your family. JingleRing includes diversity options allowing you to choose your preference for ethnicity, language (including ASL), and faith so up to five kids can have a special experience with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at home.

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Virtual Visit

For the first time in almost 160 years, Santa Claus won’t be at Macy’s, a staple since the mid-1800s. But this holiday leader isn’t letting the Christmas Season pass by without incorporating magic from the North Pole. Instead, they’re launching Macy’s Santaland at Home so families can enjoy a free interactive meeting with Santa and a tour of his workshop from the comfort and safety of home from November 27 through December 24. Santa’s elves will lead children on a digital journey through Santa’s village and workshop that ends with a digital visit with Santa where families can both take and download a personal photograph.

Photo-printing company Chatbooks is also offering free virtual Santa visits. Bookook your time slot with St. Nick, which includes a 10-minute chat with the man himself. Plus, Chatbooks will take a photo from the visit and parents will have the option to print it as a Christmas card or add it to a Chatbook. Starting Nov. 19, families can reserve a spot with Santa for either Nov. 27 or 28.

Are you a Sam’s Club member? You’re in luck! Sam’s Club is offering its members the opportunity to book a free five-minute video visit with Santa at SamsClub.com/SantaSession. According to a news release, families can personalize their session by choosing the Santa that best suits your family, as well as the ability to provide your child’s name and age ahead of the session for an extra-special greeting.

Precautions for In-Person Santa Visits

For those who insist on seeing Santa or Mrs. Claus in-person rather than virtually this year, there is risk involved, according to the CDC.

Here’s a list of considerations you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Ensure the venue is limiting crowds and has proper sanitization protocols in place.
  • See if the venue accepts reservations to limit crowds.
  • Make sure the venue is taking everyone’s temperature upon entry.
  • Social distancing should be enforced while families wait in line.
  • Choose a place where children can have a contact-free experience, like visiting with Santa from behind a clear protective barrier, instead of sitting on his knee.
  • Select a venue where face coverings are required for all guests.
  • Wash your hands immediately after the visit.

Useful Resources and Next Steps

Burning off Christmas Calories
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Subscribe to HealthTalksNOW, the Baptist Health podcast.
COVID-19: Hot Spots for Germs When You Have Kids

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