Santa will go high-tech to connect with kids before Christmas

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 November 2020 at 6:49 pm

Covid-19 restrictions prevent larger group gatherings so Santa will use Zoom video conferencing

Photos by Tom Rivers: Santa Claus visited the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina on Nov. 30, 2018 for a pajama storytime. There were about 75 kids in attendance, who shared their Christmas wish list with Santa.

The Covid-19 Grinch is preventing Santa Claus from doing his usual pre-holiday meet and greets in Orleans County. There won’t be large group gatherings with Santa at local libraries and other venues.

Weston Burgio, 5, of Albion stepped up to meet Santa Claus on Dec. 2, 2019 at Hoag Library in Albion. This year the library will be hosting a Zoom meet with Santa.

The Orleans County Health Department has also discouraged Santa from meeting up close with children during a pandemic.

That has prompted one local person who portrays Santa to try the Zoom video conferencing to allow children to express their Christmas wishes to Santa.

“It’s a different world that we live in,” said the local Santa.

The Santa admits to be a bit technology-challenged. But he has set up an account on Zoom and plans to announce a schedule where children and families can log on and talk with Santa.

“We’re all learning,” the Santa said about the video conferencing. “Nothing is set in stone.”

Santa was assisted in getting his Zoom account established with help from Teresa Gaylard, children’s librarian at Hoag Library in Albion, and Michael Magnuson, a Hoag reference librarian.

Santa will be doing a visit at the library, but it will be through Zoom rather than in-person. He also will do a Zoom meet and greet at the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia. He is working on setting up a schedule that should be available publicly for people to Zoom in and meet Santa.

The Santa said he will be reading a Christmas story as he usual does. He is adding something new this year. He will be encouraging kids to wear a mask and wash their hands frequently.

“Santa needs to be a role model and set an example,” he said.

The Santa believes the Zoom meetings can still feel special for children.

“It won’t be face to face, but children are going to be able to reach out to the North Pole directly,” Santa said. “If I can put a smile on one child’s face it will all be worth it.”

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