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The Student Prints

Visiting Santa Still Happening in New Ways

Sarah Rhine, her husband Kyle Rhine, and their daughter Emma Rhine got their picture with Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shop.

The tradition of bringing young children to sit on Santa’s lap, take pictures with him, and tell him their wishes for Christmas has been altered and even cancelled in some places due to Covid. 

This festive event has been around since the 1860s. It is a wonderful time for kids to connect with their magical side and make amazing memories. Visiting Santa this year is very different from previous years, but families can still see him with some minor alterations. 

Luckily, the Franklin Park Mall and Bass Pro Shops are places that are allowing Santa to stay. All modifications can be found on the Franklin Park Mall and the Bass Pro Shop’s websites. 

Psychology teacher Sarah Rhine took her five-year-old daughter Emma to the Bass Pro Shop in Perrysburg. “We have been taking Emma here since she was a baby because it’s free,” Mrs. Rhine said. The Rhine family went on November 27 and decided to take a family picture with Santa. “As soon as it was time to walk up to Santa, Emma became super shy and tried to hide behind me,” Mrs. Rhine said, “so we did a family photo this year, which summed up the experience nicely.”

“With Covid I didn’t know if they were going to do the traditional sit with Santa,” Mrs. Rhine said, “but I was pleased that they created a socially distant way to do it.”

 Masks and social distancing have been put into play. There is also an increased focus on cleaning and disinfecting to keep the area as clean as possible. 

A new reservation system has been created, as well. People are encouraged to pick a date and a 15 minute time slot to visit Santa this holiday season. This new system is to help lessen the amount of people in line and to keep six feet of distance between other families. The Bass Pro Shops require a reservation. Walk up visits are allowed, but only in the first and last hour of the day for the Franklin Park Mall.

A health screening is required upon arrival. All staff and visitors will get their temperatures taken as it is important to not get Santa sick. He has an important job of delivering all kids their gifts and needs to remain healthy. If Santa gets sick, there is no way he can give all the children their gifts on Christmas Eve. That is why it is also recommended to not see Santa if any visitors are feeling ill. 

Sadly, this year children are not allowed to hug or sit on Santa’s lap for safety reasons. They are still able to take pictures with Santa and chat with him about what they want for Christmas. 

A shield barrier is put in between Santa and the kids. “Our Santa wore a mask and stayed behind a plexiglass divider, which was cleaned in between families,” Mrs. Rhine said.

The Franklin Park Mall is also offering a virtual option for families that are uncomfortable, but still want their kids to see Santa. Other places are only doing this virtual option, and cancelled in-person visits to reduce the risk of spreading Covid. These video calls still allow kids to chat with Santa and offer photos and story times with Santa, according to Create Holiday Magic. 

Another virtual option for families to enjoy Christmas is with the Texts From Santa program. iMedia teacher Tami Blue is signed up to get text messages from Santa for her four-year-old daughter Journey. “We entered her age, our city and our elf on the shelf’s name,” Mrs. Blue said. The program is $20 but “is so worth it,” according to Mrs. Blue. Journey loves texting Santa because she receives many pictures from him. Some pictures Santa sends are of cookies, his reindeer, and even his elves. Receiving texts from Santa is another wonderful option to celebrate this holiday season in a safe way.

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About the Contributor
Ally Parker
Ally Parker, Co-Editor
Ally Parker is a senior and has been on the Student Prints Newspaper staff for 2 years. She is the Co-editor-in-chief this year. She is also involved in Northview’s Student Council. In her free time, she likes to read, bake, and hang out with her friends.

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