PHOENIX — We all know life has changed dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic.
From weddings and births to memorials and family reunions, many gatherings have been postponed or called off completely.
So you might be wondering, what will the holidays look like this year?
12 News turned to Santa Claus himself to find out how things are shaping up at the North Pole.
We spoke with Fred Selinksky, otherwise known as Santa Fred or Santa Claus. He’s the Chairman of the Board at the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas and he’s worked for years, hearing those wishes from kids and smiling for those priceless photos.
“Normally work for a venue up in Flagstaff,” he said.
But as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, what will happen.
“I don’t think you’re going to see the mall Santas anymore,” he said.
Selinsky says a lot of people are concerned about whether Christmas will be called off this year.
“They’re working very hard to figure out what they’re going to do,” said Selinsky.
He’s reassuring the good boys and girls out there that the holidays will still happen and he’s preparing for Christmas in some capacity.
“I also work very closely with thousands of other Santa,” he said. “Everybody is a little nervous about this.”
“They don’t want to endanger their own health... they don’t want to spread the virus.”
No doubt, the holidays will look a lot different than in years past, but Santa is staying optimistic.
“Christmas is going to come,” he said. “It’s going to be here one way or another... whether Santa is a viable part of it, is going to be up to each and every one of us.”
If he ends up working, he’ll be focused on staying safe.
“A lot of the venues are following the protocols that Walt Disney uses and also the CDC,” he said.
But if not, he’ll be relaxing at home with Mrs. Claus and their sleigh dogs.
“I just try to relax, stay calm,” he said. “Try not to out-think this.”
So, whether Christmas means seeing Santa from a distance with a mask on or just phone calls and video chats?
“If you really have the true spirit of Christmas in your heart, it will shine over that mask,” he said. “Ho! Ho! Ho! Remember to keep the spirit in your heart throughout the year.”
Of course, COVID-19 is on Santa’s naughty list, but as long as kids are nice and stay on Santa’s good list.
he plans to deliver gifts Christmas Eve wearing a new face mask he has on order.