MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The holiday spirit has started a little earlier this year and there have been some changes to how we can celebrate them. However, even with the health restrictions, the magic has stayed the same for some of those traditions.
Businesses that usually host holiday events are changing the ways they do them to facilitate any safety demands that come with Covid-19. Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid is continuing with its annual tradition of allowing families to visit Santa, but with new guidelines such as masks, a plexiglass divider, and extra sanitation practices between appointments.
Terri Bryant brought her grandkids to see Santa at Bass Pro Shops and said they still enjoyed the experience.
"I thought let me do something special with them," Bryant said. "Share a moment together with my grandkids."
Santa Montana, a Mid-South man who has been playing Santa for the past 33 years, said we need to adjust so we can still enjoy this time with our loved ones.
"I think it’s going to be our responsibility to make sure that we capture that wonderful sensation of this time of the year," Santa Montana said.
Nine-year-old Leonardo Lucena said he's looking forward to Christmas activities, but it's not the same without the normal interaction with Santa.
"This year we can’t sit in Santa’s lap and we have to see him instead because of Covid-19," Lucena said.
Even Santa Montana said this year has brought on some gloom.
"We just can’t have that magical feeling as we did in the past," Santa Montana said.
He said the one thing that has given him hope is the excitement in children and their families when they talk about the joy the holidays bring them.
"The gleam in their eye, the happiness the joy, and you can’t take that away from a 4-year-old," Santa Montana said.
Nicholas Wayne Shubert brought his family to see Santa Montana and even with the restrictions this year he said what's most important is any time spent with family.
"They’ll remember that mom and dad are always there for them and that’s there’s still Christmas magic to be had," Shubert said.
So, no matter what life throws our way, during this time of the year, we need to find that joy that keeps us going.
"It’s going to be up to us make the best of what we’ve been given," Santa Montana said.
Oak Court Mall will also be continuing with visits with Santa with added health measures to make the experience as safe as possible.
"Even in the midst of this uncertain time, nothing can stop the magic of the holidays and one of the season’s most cherished traditions – a visit with Santa Claus," a spokesperson for Oak Court Mall said. "Beginning on Friday, Nov. 27 through Thursday, Dec. 24, families can safely meet and greet Santa at Oak Court Mall in the lower level, center court."