‘We just appreciate that they were willing to pivot’: Santa spreads joy despite COVID-19

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. –

In a COVID-stricken world, even Santa has to abide by the rules.

For the second year in a row, the man in red has been meeting with kids on the nice list virtually via Zoom.

By renting out a studio in Lethbridge, Santa in also now able to take on private bookings for those who want to get a photo with him.

“This year, we’ve just opened up and we’re just doing a few studio photo shoots, and that kind of stuff,” said Santa.

And he’s doing this out of the kindness of his heart.

“Just to keep things going, keep the kids going and keeping the hope of Christmas alive here in Lethbridge.”

Admittedly, Santa described getting the studio set up under a short amount of time as a “big challenge.”

“But I’ve got some good elves, and man they pulled it off fast,” said Santa.

“It was unbelievable how fast they worked and what we got done.”

SAFETY TOP OF MIND

COVID-19 safety is top of mind for Santa. Kids can’t sit on his lap for photos and everyone needs to be masked.

That doesn’t bother the Gunderson family who were delighted that their daughter got to meet Santa for the first time this year.

“I think we just appreciate that they were willing to pivot,” said Ashlyn.

“This is our baby’s first Christmas, so, we’d be very sad if we didn’t get the opportunity to see Santa at all.”

For Ashlyn’s husband Rob, skipping all the commotion at the mall during the busy holiday season was what sold him.

“Yeah, it definitely felt safer for sure, and more intimate, and it was a little cozier honestly. Instead of the big-mall picture and big lineup, it was kind of nice to get in the little house setting and yeah, cozy that way,” described Rob

SANTA CANCELLED

Park Place Mall cancelled Santa’s appearance for a second year running, due to COVID-19 concerns.

That was disappointing for many eager to share their wish list with ol’ St. Nick.

“I’m 10 now, so I’ve been doing it for quite a long time,” said 10-year-old Ella.

“It doesn’t help that I have a new baby sister, and since there’s no mall this year, we can’t start that tradition for her and it’s her first Christmas, so it’s really disappointing.”

Santa has been doing photos with children in the Park Place Mall for 28 years, and he’s hopeful next year things will look a little more normal again.

To book a virtual meeting with Santa, visit www.callfromsanta.ca

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