For the first time in 159 years, Santa Claus won't be visiting any Macy's stores this holiday season.
Well-founded concerns about the coronavirus pandemic are keeping St. Nick at the North Pole and out of the department stores this year. Macy's has connected shoppers with Santa in their stores since 1861. This year, Macy's is offering an interactive, virtual experience for children and their families instead.
"The safety of our visitors and colleagues is our top priority," says the store's website. "Macy's Santaland is a high-touch, high-traffic experience. Due to the nature of this interaction, we made the difficult decision to move to a virtual engagement this year. The magic of Macy's Santaland at Home will safely bring the joy of the season to visitors nationwide from the comfort of home."
The Santaland at Home experience will be available to children of all ages from Friday, November 27th through Thursday, December 24th.
No reservations are required. When families log on to the website, they'll be able to travel virtually through Santaland. Kids can look forward to meeting Elves, playing games, exploring Santa's workshop, and even meeting with Mr. Claus himself. Kids will able to take a selfie with Santa, too.
One neat aspect of the virtual visit: families will be able to choose from a variety of racially diverse Santas.
If an in-person visit with Santa is a priority for your family, you'll still be able to meet Mr. Claus...just not at Macy's.
Simon Properties, the largest mall operator in America, is planning to host socially-distanced photos with Santa at participating locations. According to their website, Santa and his helpers will be wearing masks. Guests will be need to wear masks if that's mandated by their local agencies.
Brookfield Properties, the second-largest mall operator in the U.S., also plans to host visits with Santa at their 134 shopping centers. They're planning on keeping Santa and shoppers six feet apart for a contactless meet-and-greet and photo opportunity.
You'll also be able to take free photos with St. Nick at Bass Pro Shops locations. You'll need to make an online reservation and have your temperature taken before you'll be allowed into Santa's Wonderland. Santa Claus will be behind an acrylic barrier for a contactless visit, too.
The holidays are going to look different this year for a lot of families. Whether you choose to mask up and meet a socially-distanced Santa or opt for a virtual visit, remember: you are behind that holiday magic, mama. You are the unseen magic behind the holiday season. And you are enough.