COVID-19 can’t stop the local Santa spirit
The global pandemic of 2020 has affected so many interactions that would normally be face to face. From schools to local businesses, everyone is suddenly finding themselves navigating different types of virtual technology to keep their community safe. One group of festive workers is finding this year particularly challenging but it’s not stopping them from spreading their extra special brand of holiday cheer.
Each Christmas the big man himself sends out an army of Santas all across the world to listen to the wishes of every girl and boy. From shopping malls to garden centers, home visits to parades, the highlight of past holiday seasons for many has been a chance to visit with Santa face to face. With the current social distance guidelines in place preventing this very type of interaction, it quickly became clear to many local Colorado Santas that they would need to get a little creative to keep the magic alive.
John Chilson is a well-known and much loved northern Colorado-based Santa with 22 years of experience in bringing joy to locals. You may have seen him dressed in his finest red robes at the past Lyons and Longmont Parade of Lights events or delighting children at a local business such as ACE hardware. Chilson, who goes by the name Santa John, realized as most of these events started to be canceled he would have to find another safe way to interact with the community.
“I am doing everything online now with a couple of exceptions. I’ve got over 60 people from all over that have already signed up on my website for video calls.”
Santa John went on to explain that he has already spoken to a few excited children who have booked a live video chat through his site www.northpolesantaclaus.Christmas and they appeared to love the experience despite the need for technology.
“Zoom seems to be working pretty good. I’ve got Santa’s North Pole office all set up. There’s a lighted Christmas tree, models trains, candy canes, stuffed animals, and chocolate chip cookies in the background. It’s all in the details.”
With so much moving online these days Santa John said he wasn’t worried about the kids having to navigate the technical aspects of the experience.
“The kids are using video for school so they’re probably better at it than the parents.”
He also went on to reveal that even though most of the local Christmas parades have been canceled, a few lucky children might get the chance to spot him traveling past their own homes in Lyons and Longmont neighborhoods.
“I have three locations where there will be parades of one vehicle and that vehicle will be just for Santa. It will either be a red convertible, another will be a horse-drawn carriage and the other a sleigh on the back of the truck.”
Santa John explained the time and locations of these parades, unfortunately, needs to stay secret as the very purpose of them is to prevent crowds from gathering. There will be marshalls with Santa on the routes to make sure everyone stays safe but perhaps a surprise glimpse of a sleigh right outside a child’s window will be even more magical than ever.
Many children are still worried about how Covid may affect the real Santa and his Christmas Eve deliveries this year but as someone with a direct line to the man himself, Santa John has some reassuring words for all those concerned Colorado kids.
“Santa will be there with surprises like he is every year. There may be a few less presents under the tree, but there will always be surprises.”
This year has demonstrated that no matter what challenges a community face, when magical memories and connections need to be made, there will always be those that step up and find a way to bring joy to others.
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