The news of no Charlie Brown on TV was crushing enough, but 2020 has thrown another tough zinger at us. For the first time in 159 years, Santa will not be at Macy's as a safety precaution amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But don't worry, your kids can still pay Jolly Old St. Nick a visit this holiday season. Virtually, that is.
"At Macy’s, the safety of our customers and colleagues is paramount," Susan Tercero, Macy’s vice president of branded entertainment, said in a recent statement. The move to skip in-person Santa visits includes Macy's flagship store in Herald Square in New York City as well as Chicago and San Francisco.
But before breaking the news to your kids, there is still an opportunity to see Santa; like the majority of activities this year, it just has to be virtually. "To replicate the magical experience of visiting Macy’s Santaland for children and their families, we will shift to a virtual engagement this year," Tercero said.
To ensure the safety of families as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in several states and maintain the holiday joy of the season, the company will be hosting Santa in a new virtual experience called Macy's Santaland at Home. The virtual experience is free and will be available from Friday, Nov. 27 to Thursday, Dec. 24.
"Macy’s is delighted to have found a way to ensure even more families can enjoy this treasured experience safely during this festive time of the year," Tercero said in the same statement.
Only three kids will be allowed to access Santaland at Home at a time and an adult must activate it for them. Once logged in, kids will be greeted virtually by elves at the North Pole train station. From there, they will be taken on a tour through Santa's village and workshop, with interactive games to play along the way.
At the end of the trip, kids will get to meet the Santa and have the opportunity to share their holiday wish list with him and take a selfie, which parents can download immediately after.
According to Macy's, Santa will also be making virtual drop-ins on the store giant's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for live storytimes and other interactive activities. You can find Santa's social media schedule on Macy's Santaland website. Macy's has also teamed up with Make A Wish America to allow kids to submit their letter to Santa online at Macy's Believe or drop them off at the stores until Dec. 24.
Like most holidays in 2020 thus far, Christmas will look a lot different. But virtual Santa visits still help keep that holiday magic alive.