TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Santa visits at Haute City Center and Deming Park are typically filled with hugs and handshakes.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, those visits now include masks requirements and social distancing.
Santa Claus said after nearly two decades at the mall, this year’s visits have been an adjustment.
“I miss the closeness of the children. I miss the babies. I’ve held babies that were as young as 4 days old for their first Christmas pictures. I miss that. But I still get to talk to the kids and see the wonder in their eye,” he said.
Families are allowed to visit one at a time and the set is disinfected after each visit.
Kim Ingalsbe, General Manager at Haute City Center, said safety is just as important as keeping tradition alive.
“This is what we did as little fellers. It doesn’t matter what age you are, everyone wants to see Santa. Everyone wants to get things back to normal,” she said. “This is one way that we can give back and social distance and do what we’re supposed to do.”
Visits at Deming Park will take place starting Dec. 1 with Santa sitting outside behind a screen.
Kids will be allowed to write letters and give them to him during their visit as well.
Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Director of Recreation for Terre Haute Parks Department, said they hope these visits will keep people in the holiday spirit.
“I’m thinking and I’m hoping that seeing Santa is a little normalcy. Things are different. But Santa is still here and that magic is still alive,” she said.
Watch the video below to find out what Santa Claus said he would like for Christmas: