Santa Claus adapts to the “new normal”


COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – As Christmas approaches, Santa and his helpers are working across the country to spread holiday magic. Jolly Saint Nick falls under the vulnerable population to the coronavirus, so some Santas had to step away from their roles this year. 

Todd Walker with Jingle Santa says this year has been even busier than last year. Some Santas have resorted to going completely virtual, but Walker and his wife decided they would implement several safety precautions to make sure kids are able to visit with Santa safely.

“We are allowing the kids to sit on Santa’s lap, tell them what they want, take pictures and so forth,” Walker said. “Now we are taking precautions: temperature checks, sanitizing of the hands, personally I am getting a COVID test every week.”

Walker says he misses seeing kids line up and watching their excitement grow as they get closer to Santa. The safety precautions, however, are important in ensuring kids can stay safe while telling Santa Todd what they want for Christmas. 

Santa Joe is another Santa that has had to adapt to the new normal. He is a charity-based Santa and all of the money he makes while performing as Santa goes directly towards fighting pediatric cancer. 

His favorite part about being Santa is interacting with those patients in the hospital, but he will not be able to do that this year because of health concerns for the children. 

“That’s been the biggest heartbreak.” Joe McGee said. “And they’re not able to do that this year.”

Though some kids aren’t able to tell Santa what they want for Christmas in person this year, Santa Todd reminds us that it’s important to believe in Christmas magic. 

“Santa is going to find you and he’s going to do the best he can,” Walker said. “Those elves are working really hard right now. Santa’s doing the best he can to make sure you get exactly what you want for Christmas.”

Santa Todd is already getting requests for events next Christmas, in hopes that things will return to normal by then.

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