The Downtown Huntsville BIA thought that residents needed a little extra Christmas spirit this season, so manager Morgan Richter pulled some strings and brought Santa and Mrs. Claus to town to meet the kids and make sure they were able to deliver their letters to him by hand, just in time for the big day.
“Santa made his appearance downtown last year and it was so well received that he and Mrs. Claus wanted to come back to visit our community this year,” says Richter. “Because of COVID, I worked with Santa to ensure protocol was followed but still allowing for a wonderful Christmas experience while shopping downtown Huntsville.”
The BIA also worked with local artist Zoe Valentine to bring Kent Park to life and add some extra holiday spirit.
“Santa and I love the community of Huntsville,” says Mrs. Claus. “The location is surrounded by nature just like the North Pole and the people we have met make us feel like we are part of their community. We love our time each year that we can arrange to visit and it’s a special treat for me to talk and visit with everyone. I especially love it when people driving by honk their horns and wave.”
While many kids told Santa they were worried that COVID would stop him from delivering presents, he wants to assure each child that he will still be delivering. He plans to sanitize his hands between each delivery and the North Pole scheduling department has allowed for this extra step so that deliveries will still be perfectly calculated and on time.
In the toy shop, Santa has placed plastic dividers between the work stations and spread them out to give each elf more room to work safely.
They installed doors on both ends of the toy shop building, one for entry and one for exit, and the elves wear their masks as they move around and wash their hands before and after they have been away from their work station.
Luckily for the reindeer, they don’t have to wear masks as they’re usually outside and only have contact with Santa.
“When I bring the elves their snack break cookies, I have them wrapped individually now rather than a pile on trays,” noted Mrs. Claus. “The elves are very good at following instructions and we have had no COVID cases.”
Santa revealed that with the stress of worrying about COVID, he has eaten more cookies than ever.
“Every year myself and my kitchen elves try new recipes for cookies and gingerbread houses,” says Mrs Claus. “We are always looking for new tastes and ingredients. We have a gingerbread house competition on Christmas Eve while Santa is delivering the presents. The winner gets to be my head cookie-decorating elf for next year.”
Santa wants to spread a very important message for kids this year: Be good to others, help someone when you can, be kind to family and friends, and listen to the rules your guardians give you to stay safe. Remember to wash your hands, wear a mask, and socially distance.
“We hope that families love one another more, think about how they can help others, and spread love to those who are in need,” says Santa. “If 2020 has taught us anything it’s to value each other more and to remember that love wins!”
Santa and Mrs. Claus plan to be at Gingerbread Lane (Kent Park at the corner of Brunel Road and Main Street) for socially distanced photos on December 22 from 4-6 p.m. and December 24 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
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