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How COVID-19 Is Making The Holiday Season Not So Jolly For Santa Clauses

Rob Thompson

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How COVID-19 Is Making The Holiday Season Not So Jolly For Santa Clauses

Source; NPR. December 15, 20205:00 AM ET Morning Edition


The decisions for the people who work as Santa and Mrs. Claus this year are difficult. This high-risk group is trying to navigate keeping the Christmas spirit alive while staying safe amid the pandemic. It's not easy.

For many families, the tradition of the Christmas photo with Santa is an important tradition that is missing this year, but in my family that sense of loss is pervasive because we celebrate the holiday season year-round.

My parents, Keith and Melanie Hubbard, portray Santa and Mrs. Claus. This year, they are experiencing the emotions many of us are. They are tired, sad and a little disoriented because the Christmas season isn't normal.

Over the past decade, the whole Kris Kringle thing has become part of their identity. They use peppermint-scented soap, have stockings hung on the windowsill and wear red year-round.

Because my dad, 62, looks like Santa, it's difficult to go anywhere with him without kids running up to him at the grocery store or while he's pumping gas, which makes it difficult to maintain social distance.

"What do you say to a child that runs up and hugs you? 'Oh no, get away?' No, you hug them back." That's what my mom, 60, said in a recent conversation about how they're dealing with the dilemma.

Santa and Mrs. Claus show presents to children at the 2019 Autism Canadian Valley Christmas party in Yukon, Okla.
Rachel Hubbard/KOSU
There have been a lot of difficult conversations with my parents this year. My two siblings and I want to protect them. We know they are at increased risk for COVID-19 because the prerequisites for the Santa job are to be grandfatherly and overweight.

Stephen Arnold is president and CEO of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santa's (IBRBS). He says at least three of the organization's 2,200 members have already died from the coronavirus. (One in Florida and two in Texas.

Full story: https://www.npr.org/2020/12/15/946291231/how-covid-19-is-making-the-holiday-season-not-so-jolly-for-santa-clauses?t=1608069848672

Interesting read.


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