In another hit to the holiday season, coronavirus has laid waste to yet another beloved holiday tradition – visiting with Santa Claus. Last week, Macy’s announced that Santa visits to its flagship store in NYC will be going virtual this year. And while it’s hard to imagine allowing kids to crawl into a stranger’s lap right now (yikes!) there is something sad about Macy’s changing their nearly 160 year-long tradition.

“Since 1861, generations of children have enjoyed the magic of a visit with the one-and-only Santa Claus at Macy’s,” read a press release from the retail giant. “That cherished holiday tradition will continue this year in a new way through Macy’s Santaland® at Home. Beginning Friday, November 27 through Thursday, December 24, for the first time ever, the magic of Macy’s Santaland will be transformed into an interactive, virtual experience. To safely bring the wonder of this cherished holiday tradition to families nationwide, Macy’s Santaland’s in-store experience will be available through an immersive and whimsical digital-only engagement available at macys.com/Santaland.”

It’s great that there will still be a way for kids to experience Macy’s Santaland, from the safety of home this year.

“At Macy’s, the safety of our customers and colleagues is paramount,” said Susan Tercero, Macy’s vice president of branded entertainment. “To replicate the magical experience of visiting Macy’s Santaland for children and their families, we will shift to a virtual engagement this year. For many, visiting Santa at Macy’s has become a long-standing highlight of the holiday season. Macy’s is delighted to have found a way to ensure even more families can enjoy this treasured experience safely during this festive time of the year.”

Parents can provide permission to activate the program and up to three kids can take part in the virtual experience at one time. The fun begins with a special greeting from the Santaland Elves, who lead the way through Santa’s Village and Workshop. At the end of the journey, kids can “meet” Santa through an interactive video where they can share their holiday wish list and even snap a selfie with the jolly old guy in red. You’ll be able to download the pic immediately to send to all your friends.

Still hoping for an in-person Santa experience? A representative from Simon, the company that owns many of the biggest malls in NJ says you’re in luck!

“Santa is coming, and we will share more as the holiday season approaches,” said the rep. It remains to be seen if he’ll be behind plexiglass, but we’ll be thrilled to be a part of a safe socially distant Santa experience during this strange holiday season.