DELTA TWP, Mich. (WLNS)– If you thought the pandemic would stop you from seeing Santa Claus this year, think again. Santa has returned to the Lansing Mall and although children won’t be able to sit on his lap, the mall is continuing the tradition in a safer way.
With a reservation, guests are now able to visit and take photos Santa in a socially distanced matter. The entire Santa set is be camp-themed, with children visiting Santa in the “woods.” A fire pit is used to keep a safe distance between Santa and his guests and there are hand sanitizing stations at entrance and exit areas. Chairs are also cleaned between each child and deep cleaning is done daily.
The Lansing Mall said daily health and temperature checks are required for all staff including Santa and he and his guests will be required to wear masks, per state orders.
Samantha Sliwa brought her son to visit Santa on Saturday afternoon.
“This is his first Christmas, so we had wanted to go see the Easter bunny but when Covid happened and there wasn’t any Easter bunny visits, we kind of were starting to feel like that was a possibility with Santa. I was super happy to see that there were options to see Santa and still be safe,” she said.
For those that are not yet comfortable visiting Santa in person, the mall has partnered with ‘JingleRing’ to provide live, virtual visits with Santa. The visit can be joined from up to four devices, bringing grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other loved ones together for the experience.
“You don’t have to wait in line. You don’t have to get the kids dressed up a certain way. You can do it in your Christmas jammies,” said JingleRing Founders Sarah Blackman and Walt Geers. Geers added, “You can not only see Santa and Mrs. Claus, you can also see black Santa and black Mrs. Claus. You can also have special needs visits, so for children who might not ever get to go see Santa in person, we can now facilitate that. Do you need Santa that speaks Spanish? We’ve got that. We even have a faith based option.”
Although some people might think a virtual visit just isn’t the same, Blackman said it’s still that same magical experience, but catered specifically to your child.
“We do is we personalize the experience. We ask you questions about your children, their name, their age, their hobbies, their achievements, maybe some things they could use improvement like helping their mom clean the kitchen, so when Santa comes and says ‘you know, I hear you’ve been doing really good in soccer but you might want to help your mom clean your room,’ that’s a really impactful statement coming from Santa, so he knows this intel if you will about your children and you don’t necessarily get that in an in-person experience,” she said.
To find out what hours Santa will be at the mall, or to make a reservation for either an in-person or virtual visit, click here.