Unique Ways Santa Visits Are Still Happening in San Diego County During Pandemic

Seeing Santa is still a viable option this year and families can choose to see Mr. Claus in person with some modifications or with a virtual visit

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It’s a tradition for a lot of families over the holidays -- going to the mall and getting that picture with none other than Santa Claus. Like so many other things, that will look a little bit different this year due to the pandemic.

Parents, no need to worry because you can still keep that tradition alive.

NBC 7 made a visit to Otay Ranch Town Center to see if Santa would be visiting with kids this year ahead of Christmas, and we were pleasantly surprised to get a visit ourselves! 

The Shoppes at Carlsbad, as well as the Chula Vista Center, are doing in-person visits with Santa this year but with a few changes, of course.

Reservations are highly encouraged to meet the North Pole resident. That will help make it easier for everybody to socially distance.

All employees -- or elves, we should say -- will also be wearing masks, including Santa himself. That photo will look a little different as well because Santa, like everybody else, needs to keep a six-foot distance from others.

Like most everything this year, holiday cards may look a little different and 2020 is lending itself to a little humor. Here are some tips on how to nod to the moment without going overboard.

Little benches will be set up for kids and photos will be taken from there.

“We have a bench that’s measured out, so they don’t get close to Santa but they are still in the picture with him and still can interact with his as well,” explained Tim Kilcourse, General Manager of the Otay Ranch Town Center.

You can also have Santa come to you with a virtual visit. With that option, you have a nice visit with Mr. Claus, storytime and even songs with the jolly toy-giver.

With virtual visits, you can choose your preferences to make it unique for your kids. Also, parents can send in notes ahead of time so Santa knows some fun facts about the family.

If you want to make the process a little easier, NBC 7's Consumer Bob has some smart products that can help you take your holiday display to the next level.

Up to four family members can log in and join so everyone can stay distant but connected.

On Santa's end, Father Christmas has been preparing for visits by donning face masks, plastic face shields and/or even positioning his chair behind some plexiglass.

For families who would rather give Santa a break by doing another activity, the Otay Ranch Town Center is offering a holiday move drive-in theater night.

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