Santa pics the COVID-safe way

The family tradition of getting Santa photos isn’t immune to COVID restrictions. Santa hotlines, socially distanced photos and Santas wearing masks are common practice this year to not only keep us all safe but keep the spirit alive.

Here are some Santa meet-and-greet ideas from around the world.

  • David Jones North Pole Hotline 

ARA Member David Jones has implemented a North Pole Hotline this year. Throughout December, Santa will be available for video calls to check whether you’ve been naughty or nice and hear all about what’s on top of your Christmas wish list!Video Calls with Santa are complimentary, plus you’ll receive a video recording of the chat to keep as a memento of this unique opportunity! More information here


  • Plexiglass in Boston, USA 

In the US, families are still able to take the annual mall Santa photos but instead of sitting on Santa’s lap, some outlets are offering Zoom calls or a touchless Santa experience. Here, Santa will be socially distanced from children and families and in states where masks are mandated, guests will need to ensure they are wearing their face coverings. In other stores, Santa will be sitting in a snow globe or behind a picture frame fitted with plexiglass. Full story available here

  • The Santa Clause Bubble in Denmark 

Pretty picturesque! In this photograph taken in Denmark, Santa Claus meets with children while sitting in a “Santa Claus bubble” at Aalborg Zoo earlier in November. Image credit: Ritzau Scanpix / Reuters

  • Vancouver 

Reports from Vancouver suggest that many shopping centres are taking a hiatus from the festivities this year and letting Santa enjoy a well-deserved rest, while others have thought up new ways for kids to safely connect with Kris Kringle ahead of the big day, either virtually or in person.  

At Park Royal in West Vancouver, families are invited to join Santa in “the magical holiday atmosphere at The North Pole Picture Co.” for a distanced chat, during which kids will be able to relay their Christmas wish-lists. 

This shopping centre in Abbotsford is also getting creative with holiday photos this year, working a Plexiglass-gondola into the mix.


  • Santa to visit virtually in the UK due to lockdown 

The United Kingdom has gone back into lockdown, meaning that many usual Christmas events have been postponed or cancelled. Retail stores and other businesses have switched from in person meetings to video calls from Santa Claus direct from the North Pole. One UK-based business that is hosting Santa Zoom calls is hiring actors who have lost work due to the pandemic, with over 400 actors applying for the roles – how cool! Full story by the BBC here


  • Beach Santa – Australian-style

Lastly, for a bit of fun, these Santa-on-the-beach Christmas photo sessions were started in the region by Port Macquarie photographer Meredith Bauer almost 10 years ago. This year, they are a great option for socially distanced Santa snaps this summer. Full story via the ABC here



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