The holidays are here, but significantly different than years past. Gone are the traditions of Christmas work parties, caroling, cookie exchanges, and big family dinners. Instead, due to the rising number of COVID cases, many people are opting to stay home and social distance. But there is one Christmas tradition many children look forward to every year and may still want to participate in.

Visiting Santa at the mall is one of my favorite Christmas memories. I loved going to see a jolly old Saint Nick, and letting him know all of the toys I wanted for Christmas and how for years later, I'm still waiting for that Power Wheels. Now, many kids are losing out on that wonderful memory due to the pandemic, but still some malls are trying to find ways to keep the tradition alive. Malls are enacting social distancing requirements for all of Santa's visitors, plexiglass now separates him and the visitors, masks are required to enter the malls, along with other safety precautions per the Washington Post. While many malls and other businesses are canceling in-person Santa events, we are lucky to have a Santa here in the Sun City ready to greet your kids. I was curious to see what the Santa visits would look like during a pandemic and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Lisa Sanchez

The Santa at the Sunland Park Mall had plexiglass between him and the visitor seating area, Santa is wearing a mask and gloves, and there are clear signs showing where people should stand to be correctly socially-distanced from one another. Not to mention, Santa kind of looked lonely. I may be too old to get my picture taken with Santa, but I may try to sneak my dog Tubby in to get some photos with Saint Nicholas, especially since he's been such a good boy this year.

Lisa Sanchez
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