This has been a year of learning to do everything differently. How we visit Santa will be no exception. Many children I know look forward to sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him about their wish list. In the US, about 85% of young children believe in Santa, according to CNN. One report says 526,000,000 kids, under the age of 14 celebrate Christmas. If you believe in magic, it’s no problem for Santa to visit 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. That’s about 365,000 kids a minute; about 6,100 a second.
Since 2008, Macy’s and Make-A-Wish have partnered to raise funds and grant wishes to help critically ill children in its “Believe” campaign, but Believe Day isn’t on the calendar. Many of the activities we’ve come to take for granted aren’t going to happen this year, but visiting Santa is one activity that shouldn’t be canceled.
Macy’s is getting creative to bring Santa to kids who want to visit him. For 159 years, Santa has been in Macy’s stores for kids to share their desires, give him hugs, and pull on his beard. The experience this year will be different. It will be virtual. The adventure starts with virtual elves who lead the way through Santa’s village and workshop, stopping to see the sights and play interactive games. At the end, kids will meet Santa through an interactive video, where they’ll be able to share their holiday wish list and take a selfie, which families can download immediately, with Santa. While there will be no Miracle on 34th Street, the holiday spirit will be alive and well. I want to assure Virginia and every other little girl or boy who believes, that, yes, there is a Santa Claus. You’ll find him in spirit and in belief, and in the magic that he’s created.
Please, Don’t Skip Santa Visits
There’s something magical that happens in the hearts and minds of kids who visit Santa. Even if kids can’t touch Santa, it’s a connection they desire. The goal, of course, is to get presents. As the special visit happens this year, it may help to focus on the meaning of the season more than on the gifts. Nonetheless, this may be the year not to miss. It will be easy to skip seeing Santa, especially if he’s only available in online venues and lacks a personal experience. Please, don’t pass on the occasion, especially this year. Forecast into the future, when kids will answer questions 20–30 years from now about why they are wearing masks in their pictures with Santa. And as they answer questions, they can tell future generations about current times and how everything about life is different, including how we visit Santa. He may be behind a smudge-free plexiglass protective barrier, but he’s still present. Magic and creativity will keep him alive. Parents, who want to keep the magic alive, can personalize a video from Santa for kids to treasure. Kids will still want to register their requests with the jolly man in the red suit.
Contactless, not Heartless
Touch is the first sense we learn. As we touch and allow ourselves to be touched, oxytocin is released, creating an attachment bond. Kids who hope for presents from Santa often run up with a warm hug. Many point to his black boots or tug on Santa’s beard. Even though kids can’t touch Santa, you can still foster a connection.
Contactless doesn’t mean without feeling. Santa fosters love and goodwill, and presents, of course. Safety is the main focus, both for Santa and those who want to visit him. BassProShops are offering their version of Santa’s workshop for visitors. Santa will be zoom, zoom, zooming, and his in-person gear may include a mask, personal protective equipment, a protective barrier, or all of the aforementioned protective measures. None of those measures are strong enough to kill his magic.
Make New Memories, Keep the Old
Rumor has it that Santa’s Post Office is open. If your kiddos are one of the lucky recipients of a personalized letter, it would be a perfect item to add to set aside for safekeeping. If you’re not already creating a time capsule of sorts, this may be an excellent time to consider one. Start a small box or special container to add masks and pictures of current times. If you have kids who have only been to school virtually, I’d like to suggest ordering a school yearbook. Right now, you’re frustrated by what you can’t do, but one day, you’ll want to look back and remember these times. Set aside small treasures of token memories. Live your life on purpose to preserve the magic.
Keep the Magic Alive
The very being of Santa is magical. You can track his journey as he delivers presents around the world. We like to follow his travels to learn about new countries and enjoy imagining what traditions people have in places and countries you only hear about during Santa’s magical ride. Google is an excellent resource for bullet point knowledge of far-off places.
Santa Claus is coming to town. He’ll be in your country, state, city, or hometown. Enjoy the magic of his presence and preserve a new kind of memory for later. Children, don’t worry about Santa. I’m sure Mrs. Claus has him in top-notch shape. She’s made sure he’s taken his vitamins, eaten his vegetables, and drank his milk. He and his elves have been busy making toys in the magical workshop at the North Pole. He’ll make his magical journey.
On Christmas morning, you’ll know the magic is alive when kid’s eyes sparkle because only Santa knew about a unique item that magically found its way under the Christmas tree. This is not the year to miss visiting Santa. Don’t forget to put the cookies out for him and be asleep when he arrives so that he can leave a little something special for you under the Christmas tree.