You better not pout, I’m telling you why — Santa will be returning to the Santa House in Midland this year.
“For some children, this could be more important than ever — just the opportunity to have this really positive, fun interaction with Santa in a really magical setting,” says Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF). “So that’s why we thought, ‘if we could do this safely, we will move ahead and do this.’”
Amidst the pandemic, the MACF is taking these precautions to ensure a safe experience for visitors:
Reservations are required to be made in advance, allowing for contact tracing. Time slots are limited.
Drop-in visits to the Santa House will not be permitted.
COVID-19 screening for all households and volunteers will occur prior to entry to the Santa House.
Masks will be required by all Santa House volunteers and visitors, with the exception of children under the age of two.
A protective barrier, equipped with a ventilation system, will be between Santa Claus and households to facilitate a contactless experience.
The Santa House will be disinfected thoroughly between visits.
For those who would prefer a digital Santa experience, video conferencing time slots will be available through Zoom.
Visitors to the Santa House will be required to wear masks. Santa will also be available to meet with children over Zoom.
Precautions were based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and feedback from the public health director and medical director for the Midland County Health Department. Mortensen’s team will continue to evaluate the situation and is ready to make any changes necessary to keep everyone safe.
“We’re all gonna need to wear our masks; we’re gonna have to keep our distance,” says Mortensen. “But Santa is still gonna be there, and he’s gonna be excited to hear what the kids have to say and to have an opportunity to visit with them.”
Before households can register for time slots to visit Santa, elves need to sign up to volunteer. Once the timing is organized with volunteers, time slots will be available. New elf responsibilities this year include sanitizing after each visit, doing COVID screenings at the door, and assisting Santa with Zoom.
To sign up to volunteer or register for a time slot, visit the Santa House website.
Whatever’s best for your family — whether it’s in-person or via Zoom — Mortensen encourages kids to reach out to Santa.
“I know that Santa would love to be able to talk to them and to wish them good cheer as we head into the holiday season,” says Mortensen.