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Visits with Santa will look a different during the pandemic

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 4:44 PM CST
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - From mall visits with Santa to Christmas parades, the holidays are going to look a little different this year because of the pandemic. But organizations and businesses are still determined to spread holiday cheer.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Appleton. The iconic angels are flying high above the city and store windows are starting to show their holiday spirit, too.

Next Tuesday, College Avenue would have been packed with people for the annual Christmas parade, but the parade committee canceled the event this year because of the pandemic, opting instead to send Santa through city neighborhoods starting next week.

“Over five different nights we do feel like we’re going to reach more people. Santa is going to be able to see more of the kids and more of the families in town and spread that Christmas cheer,” says Corey Otis with the Appleton Parade Committee.

Wolf River Community Bank is doing something similar. Instead of its popular “Santa at the Bank,” where it welcomed the community inside for arts and crafts, snacks and Santa visits, the jolly old man will be sleighing through the streets in Hortonville, Greenville, New London and Shiocton.

According to Jeff Myster with Wolf River Community Bank, “It will travel through the residential areas with Santa on it, and we’ll have music and a decorative float, so everybody can come out and wave to Santa and at least spread the holiday cheer that way.”

Visiting Santa at both the Fox River Mall and Bay Park Square will look different, too. In an effort to practice social distancing and avoid close contact, no one will be able to sit on Santa’s lap, but kids will still be able to interact and communicate with Santa when he arrives the day after Thanksgiving. The two malls are also strongly encouraging reservations to see jolly old Saint Nick.

And even though the holidays will be celebrated a little differently this year, the traditions live on in a creative way.

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