Expert tells parents to brace for a contactless Christmas 2020 with 'Santa shields'

Cisco Cotto
October 07, 2020 - 10:00 am

    What will be a unique holiday season is just around the corner.

    But what role will — or can — Santa play in 2020, with a pandemic still glowing as intensely as Rudolph the reindeer’s nose?

    Mitchell Allen, founder and CEO of Hire Santa in Dallas, says there will be options for children to tell St. Nick what they want for Christmas.

    Just don’t expect the old-fashioned method of sitting on Santa’s lap.

    Allen on Friday told the Noon Business Hour this year will be about the “safe Santa” or “contactless Santa” experience.

    That means the jolly one will be keeping his social distance or making appearances outside.

    Some retailers that Allen’s firm is working with will have St. Nick talking to children from behind a sheet of plexiglass — what Allen calls a “Santa shield.”

    “You still get pretty close, have a good experience, have a great picture, but not come in contact either way,” he said. “We also want to protect our Santas.”

    The people who play Santa are typically older and may have risk factors for COVID-19, he notes. Some actors have taken this year off or will do only "virtual" visits in character, but others are reassured by the new safeguards, Allen said.

    “That tradition of Santa is still going to be around,” he said.

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