Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has made it clear that Santa is naturally immune to COVID-1
Yes,-era children – al with teachers, coaches, grandparents, cousins, friends and neighbors – can add Santa to their Zoom friends list.
Of course, you can ask Uncle Bob or Cousin Johnny to dress up as the beloved bearded dude and Skype with the kids. But if you prefer a Santa who’s been around the world a few million times, many “official” Santa Clauses offer personalized virtual visits that use their experience as the Christmas icon.
Take Los Angeles actor Ed Taylor, who has played Santa Claus for years at tree lighting ceremonies and charity events, as well as in commercials for brands like Chrysler, Kohl’s, Band-Aid and Overstock. It offers video chats from 12 minutes to 55 minutes. The chats aren’t cheap – they range from $ 100 (about £ 74, AU $ 135) all the way up to the not-so-cheerful $ 750 (£ 558, AU $ 1,010) for the longest available conversation on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. But they do some Santa Face Time, and they can be recorded and replayed.
It’s not just children who benefit. With COVID-19 business on the rise in the US, virtual visits help keep Santas at work during what is traditionally their busiest season. Don White and Mary Rogers, for example, record up to nine hours of video calls daily this year as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. A private chat through their website VisitFromtheClauses.com ranges from $ 49 (about £ 36, AU $ 66) for five minutes to $ 69 (£ 51, AU $ 93) for 10 minutes.
“We went from thinking we wouldn’t be busy at all this year, to being busier than ever,” White told CNN. “We usually see the back of a child’s mind when they sit on their lap, but now we can look into their eyes and know their interests, pets and who they are. You can see their eyes light up.
Santa at Home, based in the UK, also connects Santa with children for Zoom sessions through December 24th. The calls take up to 12 minutes and are suitable for six children and an unlimited number of adults joining from any location. As with most virtual Santa visits, family members and friends can send details about the kids in advance for a more personalized experience.
“Thanks to Santa’s mind-boggling memory, some elbow grease from the elves, and some help from the big kids, Santa will know the names (and a whole lot more …) of absolutely every child he meets,” says the organizer. Santa at Home, Underbelly entertainment company that produces live events and festivals.
Sessions start at £ 42 (about $ 56 or AU $ 76). That equates to £ 7 per child (about $ 9 or AU $ 13).
Santa’s Club offers five-minute personalized packages for up to three kids that range from $ 50 (about £ 37, AU $ 67) to $ 70 (about £ 52 AU $ 94). The more expensive package includes an “emailed invitation from the North Pole with a magic letter and wristband”.
Larger companies are also opting for digital Christmas experiences. For example, the Macy’s Santaland at Home website takes visitors on an interactive journey through the North Pole, allowing children to explore Santa’s workshop and take selfies with Santa. Sam’s Club offers free chat sessions with Santa for paying members.
Who knows? Zoom Santa may even linger after the pandemic. That would be good news for families who prefer to skip the long lines and the crying sessions on Mr. Claus’s lap.