Going to see Santa at the mall is a time-honored tradition that has been going on for a hundred years and in 2020 that tradition is in jeopardy.

I hadn't really thought about it since my children are older, but then I saw this article in the Times Union and thought, "How the heck are they going to be able to let the kids sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas?"

Even if everyone wears a mask, including Santa, there's still the social distancing aspect of staying 6 feet away. Plus, let's be honest, Santa isn't getting any younger and that puts him in a riskier category for the coronavirus.

Here are my top three ideas for a safe mall Santa experience in 2020.

1. Virtual Santa: Santa is basically doing a zoom call with the kids from the North Pole. Maybe the kids are in a photobooth type cabinet and there's Santa on the video screen. The kids get to see Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas, no social distancing issues and Santa doesn't even have to travel.

2. Snowglobe Santa: Santa is at the mall inside a giant snowglobe with falling snow and a beautiful North Pole theme. Kids can come up and talk to Santa through the plexiglass globe. No social distancing issues, kids can see Santa, and everyone is protected. Plus, it's easy to clean between children.

3. Santa sits in his sleigh and the child that wants to see him is six feet away. Maybe they have a phone or microphone/speaker so Santa and the child can speak to each other without social distancing being an issue. Or let them scream out what they want for Christmas...it will make it easier for the parents to hear.

Jennifer Smith, Crossgates Mall Marketing Manager says, "We are excited to say that we will be offering the Santa experience here at Crossgates as we have since the mall opened in 1984. Capital Photo, who has been our holiday photographer for 33 years now, will still be here to welcome all children and their families in an environment that is safe and takes all of the necessary precautions given the current circumstances. While this year may look a little different, we are dedicated to making sure that families still get to experience the magic and tradition of Santa during the Christmas season in a manner that’s safe for everyone. We look forward to sharing additional details with you in the near future."

Maybe they will take one of my great ideas for Santa this year. Probably not, but we will just have to wait and see.

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